A laundry basket full of colorful garments

The Art of Washing Different Fabrics and Colours

Whether it’s washing different fabrics and colours or caring for your children’s stuffed animals, we at Tide believe you should pay special attention to each item while doing the laundry.

Read our comprehensive guides and learn how to wash different fabrics, whites and colours, and other everyday items, so that both you and your fabrics can look their best all the time.

How to Wash All Kinds of Garments

Fabrics & Items A-Z


A Quick Guide to Washing the Most Common Types of Fabrics

Separating clothes by fabric is an extra step you can take to ensure the health and longevity of your clothing. Each fabric type has a different washing method that can help the clothing maintain its size and coloration to the fullest. To ensure that you use the correct steps all throughout the laundry process, always check the fabric care label of your garments before washing. Read on to discover how to care for the most common fabric types.

Washing the Most Common Types of Fabrics

Natural Fabrics

Breathable, comfortable, and good for the environment, natural fibre fabrics are all rather easy to clean, but they do have their own characteristics that determine how they should be cared for. Let’s take you through the different laundry methods recommended for washing cotton, wool, and silk clothes.


Cotton is one of the most common fabrics, inexpensive and durable. Usually, clothes made out of cotton don’t require special care. For an energy efficient clean, wash it in cold water with Tide PODS Cold Water Clean laundry detergent. To learn more, read our guide on how to wash cotton clothes. When it comes to washing denim (which is generally made from cotton or a blend of cotton and another fibre), less is more. Its twill weave makes it a relatively tough material, and you don’t have to wash a pair of jeans every time you wear it.


Wool is made from the fur of sheep and is very warm and durable. Many wool fabrics are machine washable, although you should probably use the Delicates or Wool cycle if your washer has one. When washing your wool clothing items, always wash in cold water and with a gentle detergent, then let it air dry.


Known as a high quality, expensive material, silk requires special care. So, to preserve its longevity, make sure you wash it on a delicate cycle or handwash it in cold water, with Studio by Tide Delicates, specifically designed for materials like silk. Learn more on how to care for your silk clothes here.

Synthetic Fabrics

Synthetic fabrics are great because they are all-purpose. Wash them in warm water with Tide Plus Febreze Sport Odour Defence liquid laundry detergent, but try to dry them at a lower temperature, because they may become exceedingly wrinkled during the drying process.


Acrylic is made from acrylic acid, and is most often found in winter sweaters, either alone or mixed with wool. .Acrylic is machine washable in warm water, but since it’s often paired with other fibres, it’s essential to check the fabric care label before you toss it in the wash. Read our guide on how to de-pill your sweaters and you’ll never have to worry about lint balls again!


Nylon is made from one of the most commonly used polymers in the world. Like with most of the other synthetic materials, caring for nylon is pretty easy. You can wash your nylon garments safely in a washing machine, on both cold and warm water setting. However, in case you’re dealing with white nylon fabrics, we’d recommend sticking to a cold wash.


Polyester is often made from recycled soda bottles. Although less durable than nylon, it’s still plenty strong. Its low cost and wrinkle resistance make it one of the most commonly used fabrics in the world: Typically, it is used together with cotton to make shirts. Polyester clothing is usually machine-washable, and a warm wash cycle is ideal.

Tips for Washing Different Colour Clothes

Now that you know how to wash different fabrics, it’s time to learn how to wash your white, light-, and dark-coloured clothing properly and keep your clothes looking their best for longer!

Sort Your Clothes by Colour

Usually, if we wash an item with a dark colour and an item with a light colour, some of the darker tones will “transfer” onto the light item. But the item doesn’t even need to be white to suffer from colour transference. The same thing can happen with light-coloured clothes.

This is why it’s important to sort your clothes ideally into 3 colour piles:

  • White clothing

  • Light-coloured clothing

  • Dark coloured clothing

Whites Should Always Go Separately

White laundry is the most likely to receive colour from all other items, so make sure to always wash plain white clothes and white clothes with light-coloured patterns in a separate batch. When it comes to keeping your clothes white and bright, nothing beats Tide Plus Bleach Alternative Liquid Laundry Detergent. Read our article on how to wash whites for more information on the subject.

What Are Light-Coloured Clothes?

Your light-coloured clothes are perfectly safe to be washed together with your whites. That means light-blue, light-brown, pink, light-green, lavender, yellow, beige, cream, orange, fuchsia and other pastel shades can go into the same pile as your whites, light greys, and garments with white background prints.

Use …detergent to wash light-coloured clothes. Learn more about washing colours here.

What Falls Under Dark-Coloured Clothing?

The dye in darker clothes can easily seep into lighter clothes during the laundry process, that’s why it’s best to wash dark-coloured garments (black, grey, dark brown, dark-green, olive, purple, indigo, navy blue, dark-red, crimson, and so on) in a separate batch. To keep your darks bold and your colours bright, use Studio by Tide Darks & Colours Liquid Laundry Detergent.

Can You Wash Different Colours Together?

Although it might save you some time and energy, taking a shortcut such as washing different shades of colours together is not a good idea when doing laundry, since the colour bleeding can ruin your clothes easily.

If you do have to wash different colours together (e.g. whites with lights), always use cold water, since it can mostly prevent transference.

But keep in mind that clothes should also be separated by fabric types, and mixing denser fabrics with lighter ones can wear out the lighter clothing quicker and easier from the constant friction and rubbing together with the harder and denser fabric.