Yes, Certain Laundry Detergents Are Better For Your Colors — & Here Are 3 Of Them

by Andrea Hannah

Between coffee spills, lunch-on-the-go stains, and general wear and tear, protecting your clothes can seem impossible. And while super strong products can pull out the stains, they often leave your clothes feeling stiff, waxy, or faded. Luckily, the best laundry detergents for colors conquer stubborn stains while still preserving the vibrancy of your clothes.

Before you buy, one thing to keep in mind is the current state of your wardrobe. If you're only dealing with a few small stains on your favorite sweaters and blouses, a gentle, stain-fighting detergent may be strong enough to erase spots without any wear-and-tear on your clothes. On the other hand, if you've got a mess of clothes that need some TLC, you may want to consider a powerful detergent to blast away stains.

Another thing to consider is the ingredients list on the back of the bottle. If you have sensitive skin, be on the lookout for sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals that may cause irritation. Or if you're picky about the way your laundry smells, consider a sport-strength detergent that eliminates odors, or even a luxe detergent that smells like a garden.

Choosing the right detergent is key to making your clothes last for the long haul. Here's a round-up of some of the best laundry detergents for colors out there to help you narrow down your options.


The Best Overall, All Things Considered

When it comes to powerful cleaners, this detergent for darks by Woolite is at the top of the list. Working to balance both cleansing and care, this formula features an active ingredient that actually "catches" loose dye particles in the wash so you don't have to worry about dye transferring to other items. It also features Woolite's signature "Color Renew" technology, which simultaneously prevents colors from fading while smoothing rough fibers and removing any pilling. The results? Your darks actually stay dark, and at only about $10 per bottle, you can keep them vibrant for the long haul. And for context: one bottle washes 33 loads of laundry.

What fans say: "I'm a New Yorker and 90% of my wardrobe is black, gray or very dark brown. This is an amazing product that really keeps my darks looking new for a lot longer than washing in regular detergent or even regular Woolite."


The Best For Sensitive Skin

This biodegradable detergent by Seventh Generation has a triple-enzyme formula that eliminates tough stains without harsh chemicals, sulfates, or dyes. It's also completely fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, making it the perfect detergent for anyone with sensitive skin. It's safe to use in any type of machine at any water temperature, so you can treat your fabrics in accordance with any recommended laundry instructions.

What fans say: "I have two young kids who really like to get messy. This detergent gets their clothes very clean without fading the colors. The fabrics feel soft coming out of the dryer as well. I will definitely buy again."


The Best Splurge

While it may seem expensive up front, this concentrated formula can wash up to 64 loads of laundry — which means it's similar to our top pick when you compare cost-per-wash. It's formulated with color guard and stain-fighting enzymes to keep colors rich and vibrant while lifting stubborn spots and removing dust and lint. Plus, it has a unique, fragrant blend of lily of the valley, jasmine, sandalwood, and citrus that reviewers love.

What fans say: "Using a detergent specifically for darks really does make a difference; it helps with preventing fading and general signs of wear. I bought this specifically for my premium denim but it works for all types of dark clothing. The scent is terrific, too!"


You Might Also Like: A Liquid Stain Remover That Works Well On Darks

Made with a blend of color-safe bleach and color booster, this extremely powerful stain remover packs a powerful punch. Got a stain that won't budge? You can even pretreat clothes with this product to remove four times as many stains, without discoloring your items. Plus, it works on any type of washing machine and comes in pods if you prefer those. And, bonus: One container of this detergent can handle nearly 50 loads of laundry.

What fans say: "I am a Believer! Clorox stain remover and Color Booster is a miracle worker! I have been using this product for less than a month now and the results of our clothes are just Amazing!"

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.