What Temperature Do Colours Run At?

What temperature do colours run at in the wash

How to Prevent Colours from Running in The Wash

In this article, we answer what temperature do colours run at, how to prevent colours from running in the wash and your other colour running laundry FAQs.

We’ve all got at least one white T-Shirt that’s turned a dingy shade of grey. You might think colour running is inevitable as time goes on. But that doesn’t have to be the case. 

With a few changes to your laundry cycle, your whites can stay looking as white as the day you got them. 

Washing your whites separately from colours and darks is probably the only fail-safe way of keeping whites white. However, it’s not the only preventative measure against bleeding. 

Since the amount that colours can run also depends on fabric types, dyes, how vigorous the cycle is, and water temperature, it’s impossible to guarantee no colour transfer. 

But washing on a cooler setting will greatly minimise colour fade and transfer. 

Washing your bright colours and dark loads on a cold wash setting, such as 20°C or 30°C, will protect colours from running while minimising the risk of shrinkage. 

Read on to find out more about how you can keep our clothes looking their best for longer, and prevent colours from running in the wash.

What Temperature Do Colours Run In The Wash? 

There isn’t a definitive temperature for a wash cycle that colours start running at. It varies according to the fabric types, fibre density, and types of dyes used in each garment. 

It’s much easier to just assume that a warm water temperature of 40°C or higher can lead to colours running, could cause colours to fade, damage fabrics, and could shrink items in the wash.

Almost all items will have slightly different safe temperatures. You could try to separate them into categories with the same safe wash temperatures. But it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth. 

Aside from separating delicates, darks, brights, and lights – as most of us already do –  there’s no point in going any further than that. 

Not to mention that it uses more energy and costs more in the long run. 

Do Colours Run in Hot or Cold Water?

Short answer – both. 

A slightly longer answer – it’s possible for colours to run at any temperature, depending on the dye and type of fabric. Having said that, it’s much more likely that this will happen in hot wash temperatures of over 40 degrees. 

Some of us are sceptical of the cold wash, in fear that it won’t clean deep enough. But this is pretty much irrelevant with today’s fancy detergents. 

So give it a go and see how it compares to the usual hot wash. We reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and save yourself some money too. 

What Temperature Do Colours Not Run?

If you want to play it safe, washing clothes and fabrics on a cold wash, such as 20°C or 30°C, will help keep colours bright (and the correct size). 

You can also use things like colour-safe detergents, dye catchers, and of course splitting lights, darks and brights. 

Watch this short video on how to prevent fabric bleeding when washing your clothes.

Colours Running in Laundry FAQs

Will colour run at 60 degrees?

The hotter the wash – the higher the chances are of colours bleeding into each other. If you don’t want your colours to fade, or your lighter clothing to pick up any dye, then don’t wash above 30 degrees. 
It is however fine, and recommended, to wash whites at a higher temperature to keep them looking bright. Just be careful not to slip in any red socks!

Will 40 degrees make colours run?

It’s possible. It’s not a guaranteed, yes, and you might get away with it, but we’d suggest playing it safe and not washing your coloured or dark clothes at 40 degrees. Washing at 30 or even 20 will ensure your clothes won’t fade and dyes won’t run. 

Summary On What Temperature Do Colours Run At? 

We hope you’ve found this short guide on what temperature to wash your clothes at to prevent colours running helpful. 

There are no absolute yesses and no’s when it comes to laundry. Some things you’ll probably get away with, but we don’t want to suggest things and ruin our reader’s lovely clothes. 

So to summarise our recommendations: wash brights and darks at 20 or 30 degrees to prevent colours from running. 

If you find they aren’t washing well enough, consider changing laundry detergent or changing the type of cycle.

A great benefit of washing at a cooler temperature is that you save money. It’s also better for the environment and doesn’t risk shrinking your clothes. 

If you enjoyed this post, we’ve got tons of guides just like this one about all things laundry, cleaning, and tidying. 

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