Factchecking this popular hack.

By Meghan Overdeep
August 25, 2019
Anna Petrova Ilieva-Alikaj / Eye/Getty Images

Unfortunately, for every game-changing cleaning hack that takes the internet by storm, there's plenty more that are complete, well, garbage.

And the latest laundry "hack" to grab our attention might be one of the strangest we've come across—and that's saying a lot.

People are reportedly adding a teaspoon of black peppercorns to their wash cycle to prevent colors from fading. Allegedly, the peppercorns exfoliate soap residue, which some bloggers say can cause colors to fade.

Weird, right? The Kitchn thinks so too, which is why they consulted laundry expert Melissa Maker of Clean My Space.

"We've been in this space for years, and this is definitely one of the most bizarre and misguided cleaning hacks that we've ever heard!" Maker said. "This one makes no sense to me because, in reality, it's abrasion, not soap residue, that causes color to fade."

In fact, clothes don't need to be exfoliated at all, she added. What's more, exfoliation could actually wear your laundry down more quickly, which means that tossing black pepper in with your color load might make your problems worse, not to mention a big ‘ol mess.

"If you use pepper in your wash, you'll actually end up with an extra cleaning situation that is removing copious amounts of ground pepper from the bottom of your machine, as well as the folds of your clothing," Maker told The Kitchn.

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If you want to keep your colors from fading, Maker recommends skipping the spice rack and following the dosing instructions on your detergent container more closely. Washing your machine with a cleaner at least once a season—ideally once a month—can also help.

"Sometimes there are hacks that work, and sometimes there are hacks that really ring true to their name—they're ‘hacks' that don't work at all," Maker concluded.