Although there are laundry detergents marketed specifically for washing colored garments, there are also home remedies that can be used to prevent colors from fading in the washing machine, according to the Everyday Cheapskate. First, turn all colored items inside out before adding them to the washer. The agitation of the washing machine is hard on the outside surface of a garment and, over time, causes items to fade.
Leave the items inside out when they go into the dryer. If drying on an outdoor clothesline, leave the colored items inside out, since the sun also causes fading.
The Everyday Cheapskate also advises using cold water to limit fading when washing colored clothes. Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle along with the laundry detergent. White vinegar helps to keep dyes locked into the fabric of colored items.
Use the short cycle on the washing machine for colored loads. Do not pre-soak, and keep the wash cycle to a maximum of six minutes. Remove the clothes from the dryer or take them down from the clothesline while they are still slightly damp. According to The Everyday Cheapskate, these steps combine to keep dark and brightly colored clothing from fading prematurely.