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How to Sort Laundry Like a Pro

September 17, 2023

It’s crucial to organize your clothes before doing the laundry. This means separating light-colored items from dark-colored items and vice versa.

Not only that but you want to pay attention to the fabric type as well. For example, denim materials should not be washed with delicate fabrics such as wool or silk.

Other Benefits of Sorting Your Clothes

Sorting laundry will also allow you to use different wash cycles for each load. That way, you’ll be able to wash similar clothes together, which will save you time.

For example, you can wash activewear with activewear or undergarments with undergarments.

Another benefit is that it will prevent colors and dyes from bleeding.

How to Sort Laundry Properly

how to sort laundryThere are a few ways to physically sort your laundry. For example, you can use a laundry hamper with sorting sections. Using separate laundry baskets with different labels (e.g. lights, darks) is another option.

Once you’ve got your hamper or laundry basket, all that’s left is to go through your laundry.

Don’t just throw the items into the basin, though, make sure to read the labels. They will tell you whether or not the garment can be machine washed along with other details such as what water temperature water to use and how to dry the material.

Different Ways to Sort Your Laundry

We touched on this a bit earlier but you can sort your fabric based on color, fabric type, and weight.

Sorting by Color

should you sort laundry by colorDyes can easily transfer from one item to another in the wash – that’s why it’s so important to sort your clothes based on color.

More specifically, you want to wash like-colors with like-colors. In other words, you want to wash light-colored garments with light-colored garments. Never mix brightly colored laundry with dark-colored items as that can lead to dye transfer.

What’s considered “light”? Colors like yellow, light blue, pink, lavender, and light green. Dark colors would be shades like red, black, navy, grey, and purple.

Sorting by Fabric Type

how to sort laundry by fabric typeYou can also sort your laundry based on the type of fabric. For instance, you can have a load for synthetic materials (e.g. nylon, polyester, spandex, viscose, rayon, etc.) and a separate one for natural fibers (e.g. cotton, wool, linen).

This makes sense since different materials have different care instructions. If you can, try to sort by both color and fabric type.

Towels should also be washed separately from your clothes for sanitary reasons.

Sorting by Weight

Pay attention to how heavy the items are.

For example, you don’t want to wash heavy sweaters with thin tank tops – that’s especially true if the former contains hardware such as zippers. Putting them in the same load can easily cause the latter to tear or rip.

The rate at which they dry is also different so it’s best to save yourself the headache and sort everything at the beginning.

Sorting by Delicates

how to sort delicate laundryDelicates should always be washed separately. Don’t put them in the washing machine with other clothing, including heavily soiled items.

This includes underwear and bras, or any item containing silk, silk-like synthetics, lace, embroidery, mesh, sequins, beading, or hardware.

Clothes that are labeled “dry-clean or handwash only” also fall into this category.

Wash Your Heavily Soiled Laundry Separately

Heavily soiled items should always be washed separately. For one thing, the dirt and grime can easily transfer onto your other clothes.

More often than not, they’ll also need to be pre-treated with a detergent solution.

How to Wash “Dry Clean Only” Clothes

sort dry clean only laundrySome delicate items that are ‘dry clean only’ can be put in the washing machine. Just make sure to separate them from the rest of your clothes and run a gentle or delicate cycle.

Don’t use a normal wash cycle – the agitation will be too much for the items.

We also recommend using a mesh laundry bag. It’ll protect the item during the wash cycle so that it stays in tip-top condition.

Sorting Laundry the Right Way – FAQs

Do you really need to separate your laundry?

Yes, sorting your clothes should always be part of your laundry routine. Remember the basic rules – always sort your garments by fabric type and color and avoid washing delicate items with other fabrics.

What happens if you don’t separate laundry?

Putting everything in the washing machine all at once without sorting might seem like it’ll save you time, but it can damage your clothes irreversibly.

For one thing, dyes can easily bleed and transfer onto your other clothes. And if you’re mixing fabric types, the materials can easily wear out or tear prematurely.

What water temperature should I use to wash my clothes?

Different materials have different care instructions. For example, cotton should always be washed with cold water to prevent shrinking.

When in doubt, refer to the care tag label. It’ll tell you whether you should wash the item with hot water or cold water, along with other washing details.

Should delicate fabrics be washed separately?

Yes, delicate fabrics such as silk or linen should always be washed separately. Never mix them with other items as that can cause the fabrics to rip or tear.

And remember to use mesh bags – they will offer an additional layer of protection during the wash cycle.

Alternatively, you can go the hand-washing route, which is always gentler than machine washing.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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