Sort the laundry: House rule or rule of thumb?
Truthfully, the choice is yours. There’s nothing that says you have to separate your clothes according to color or material type, but there are proven benefits to doing so.
For sorters (and you know who you are), you’ve learned over time that sorting:
- Ensures colors don’t bleed
- Clothing lasts longer
- Machines are better balanced due to fabric type
For non-sorters everywhere, you’ve learned washing everything together:
- Means fewer loads
- Time is maximized
- Water and power are conserved
We understand this is a contentious battle with equal and logical arguments on both sides. But for those of you considering the benefits of sorting … read on.
1. The little red sock vs. the comfy oversized white T-shirt
In the wash, the little red sock dominates. Hence, your “new” comfy, oversized, pink-tinted T-shirt lost in the war of the unsorted.
It takes multiple washings for dark and dominate colors to no longer bleed their dyes. And, even if a well-loved, washed and worn dark-colored item is mixed with whites, it can make that crisp, bright look of the fabric fade to dull gray. Additionally, the type of material plays into how much darker dyes can seep into lighter items. By not sorting colors or fabrics, you launder at your own risk.
2. There’s no turning back: Look out for a bad case of the bleach blunders
A basic benefit to sorting is keeping your whites reserved for bleaching to preserve their bright and fresh appearance. Get in the habit of sorting clothes for the laundry with a partitioned hamper to reduce chances of your dark or bright favorites getting mixed in and messed up by a bleach mishap.
3. It’s not one cycle fits all
Matching your cycles with your fabric type and color helps prevent shrunken sweaters, torn T-shirts and faded fabrics. Use cold temperatures for dark colors, hot water for whites and warm for knits, man-made fabrics or jeans.
Lump similar fabrics together like a load of bedsheets or a load of towels to keep the machine balanced for a better wash. Use the heavy-duty cycle for items with significant dirt or weightier fabrics. And don’t forget the delicate cycle for items such as lingerie and washable silks. Insert delicates into a mesh bag to minimize possible damage by zippers, buttons or hooks.
Trust us … your clothes will thank you.
4. Sweating the sport stuff
If you’re not convinced yet, here’s one more reason to consider sorting: stinky sports apparel. From socks to sports bras, sweat and stench can linger if not washed well. Opt for the sanitizing cycle on your machine to ensure you can hit the gym again without worry.
To sort or not to sort, that is still the question
We know the debate will live on, but should you decide sorting is for you, we hope these tips help keep your whites white and your wool sweaters the right size.