Inside: As simple as the concept of laundry is, one of the most overlooked parts of the laundering process is the reluctance to sorting. Find out how to sort laundry properly and the steps you need to take to keep your garments looking fresh.
As a young girl growing up in the seventies, I never had the opportunity to do my own laundry. My mother did everything. The bad thing was, by her doing the laundry and cleaning up after me, it taught me how to be a lazy homemaker who didn’t know how to do jack-squat around the house. I guess what my mother was trying to teach me about being a good homemaker back-fired.
You see, just because you’re in your twenties, thirties, or even your late fifties (cough-cough-cough), it doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to do everything. We all still have things to learn.
In our household, it’s just me and my honey. I do my own laundry, and he does his own, the towels, and the bedding. Yep, I agree. He’s totally awesome!
I spent several years watching how he sorted and washed his clothes. I reveled in the fact his clothes always looked brand new after it was laundered, while mine resembled something you’d pull off the rack at Goodwill.
I was determined to learn how to do laundry. After all, how hard could it be? Darks go in cold water and whites in hot, drop in some laundry soap and get on with your day. In theory, I was correct with my assumption; however, according to him:
“Before you can get your clothes clean and look new, you need to learn how to sort laundry, by reading the care labels”.
I thought that was pretty laughable, but you know what? He’s always right.
Why you should sort laundry
All garments that require being laundered have different care needs. Now, it’s not to say if you wash things incorrectly, alarms will go off and the laundry police will come and get you.
By not sorting laundry properly, your clothing, bedding, and towels will become damaged over time. While this may not happen immediately, it may start to deteriorate over weeks and months.
You’ll notice the deterioration in form of small holes, fabric pills, and discoloration.
This is how to sort laundry
There are many different ways how to sort laundry. The method I’m about to share may not necessarily work for you. As simple as it may seem to divide darks from lights, if you want to maintain the life of your clothes and keep them looking new and fresh longer, you’ll want to dive a little deeper into the wonderful world of sorting laundry.
Yeah, that’s me trying to make it fun for you. Did it work?
The first step in sorting laundry is to invest in a laundry basket. It doesn’t have to be expensive nor does it have to be a fancy one with several compartments. There are several different types of baskets available, but choose one that fits your living environment.
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If your space is limited or you don’t want or can’t find a multi-sectional laundry basket, it’s okay to keep everything together in one laundry basket or hamper. You’ll just want to sort your garments by making piles on the floor in the laundry room.
The best way to sort laundry is to put your garments in the correct laundry basket, or section of the 3-tier laundry sorter when you take them off.
Read the care label
Care labels are attached to all pieces of fabric, and they’re placed there for a reason. The manufacturers don’t put them on your clothes to annoy you or cause some skin irritation, but it’s on there because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires them to do so. If the FTC finds this information to be important, then why wouldn’t we?
I recall, that I purchased a pretty expensive color block suit in black and white to wear to an event. I’ll admit, I bought it with intention of returning it after laundering it. Judgers, gonna judge, but at that time we were struggling for money and I couldn’t afford to keep a $100 suit.
Due to me not looking at the care label, when I pulled it out of the washing machine I was shocked after using cold water, the black ran into the white, and I now had a $100 piece of black and gray garbage. If I had looked at the tags, I would have noticed it said, “dry clean only”.
Yep, Karma bit me in the butt, big-time.
The care labels denote how the garment should be laundered to prevent it from becoming damaged.
The 4 rules of sorting laundry
Once your clothes are ready to be laundered, you’ll want to sort them into piles according to these 4 rules:
- Sort according to the appropriate wash cycle based on the type of fabric.
- Sort by color.
- Sort by how soiled the clothing item is.
- Sort according to if that type of clothing would cause harm to other articles of clothing, such as snagging, adhering to lint, tearing, etc… (washing jeans with delicates).
Rule 1 – Sort laundry according to the wash cycle
Sorting by color seems like the most obvious, but there are a few steps involved with this part. Not only will you separate the colors, but then you’ll need to sort them again by fabric. Some items may need to be washed in hot water under a gentle cycle and to air dry, while others in the same color family may need to be washed in cold water and tumble dry.
The easiest way to do this would be to sort by:
- Regular machine washing
- Permanent-press machine washing
- Gentle machine-washing
Rule 2 – Sort laundry according to color
Once you’ve made the determination of how your clothes need to be washed by fabric type, you’ll want to divide them into color-compatible groups.
The color groups are as follows:
White: All white, mostly white (prints with a white background). If some garments require bleaching while others don’t, you’ll want to separate those as well.
Colors: You’ll want to keep the same hues together, regardless of whether the shade is light, medium, or dark.
Colors that bleed: These are typically colors in hues of red and purple.
Peachy Tip: Wash pairs or sets of items, such as socks and pajamas together in the same load. By washing them separately, one may fad differently than the other.
Rule 3 – Sort laundry according to how soiled it is
You’ll want to separate each piece of clothing by how soiled it is. Separate the items that are greased heavily and those with stuck-on mud or clay. It’s best to wash all heavily greased items separately from any other type of garment.
Baby clothes and cloth diapers should always be washed separately from the rest of the clothing.
If someone in your home currently has Scabies, you’ll want to wash their clothes and bedding by themselves.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Your House After Scabies & Lice
If a family member has any type of Immunodeficiency disorder, you’ll want to wash those items separately, just to be on the safe side.
Rule 4 Sort laundry according to whether it will cause harm to other items
Rarely will you have an issue with an article of clothing that may cause damage to another, but there are times during the wash cycle, a buckle, zipper, snap or latch (usually from your bra), may find itself affixed to your favorite top, lace trimming, ribbons or other delicate features that may adorn your clothing.
Clothing made from corduroy, flannel, chenille, and velvet can be damaged severely from a buckle or clasp. These fabrics are also prone to shedding and can adhere to others due to these types of fabrics having a positive charge which causes static electricity.
Due to this, you’ll want to ensure you keep items that can cause harm separate from the other items. You can either wash them separately or place them in a mesh laundry bag.
Fabrics from drapes, furniture, slipcovers, and small rugs are prone to producing lint and should be washed separately. Microfiber towels should always be washed with microfiber and no other fabric.
Recommended reading: This Is Why You Need To Use Microfiber Towels For Cleaning
Your new journey to learning how to sort laundry
Starting a new process is sometimes rather difficult. Sure, it may seem like an upward battle, and a waste of time, but in the long-run learning how to sort laundry the right way will ultimately save you time, money, and the integrity of your clothes.
How do you sort your laundry? Share in a comment.