Washing your clothes is not just about throwing them in the washer. If you want to keep the integrity of your clothes for a long time, you must learn to wash them correctly. But before that even happens, it starts with you learning how to separate clothes for washing.
How Do I Sort My Clothes?
On an average day, doing laundry takes about five minutes and 17 minutes for men and women, respectively. If you do not want your laundry duties to take a large chunk of your time, consider sorting your clothes before washing them. While you might think it wouldn’t make a big difference, the truth is it does. You would be thanking yourself in the long run.
Separating your clothes for laundry does not involve rocket science. The more you do it, the easier it gets. So, here are some laundry hacks that you should take note of when sorting out your clothes.
Wash Only What’s Dirty
After wearing our clothes, our instinct is to throw them in a hamper or a laundry basket. And that’s fair game. However, there might be some garments that you don’t need to wash after wearing them once.
Take your jeans as an example. If they are not soiled, stained, or smelly, you might want to skip throwing them in the washer ASAP. Apart from preserving the color and other elements of the denim jeans, you are also helping reduce the microscopic waste that goes into the ocean.
There are also other clothing items that might fall into this category. It’s up to you to figure out what you should include in your laundry for the day.
Separate By Color: White, Light, and Dark
If there’s a cardinal rule in washing clothes, then separating clothes by their colors is probably one of them. Why is it this important? Well, it’s because of color transfer.
The dye from your colored clothes might transfer into your light-colored garments. If something like this happens, then you risk ruining your clothes in the process. If you want to preserve their brightness, then separating them is a must.
If you are in the process of sorting your clothes according to their colors, you don’t need the color wheel or anything like that. It’s not that difficult to figure out which clothes go to which color pile.
As long as you avoid putting your dark and light-colored clothes together in the washer, you are, more or less, safe. You don’t want to combine your white shirt with a bleeding red top in the wash and then end up with a light pink shirt in the process!
Set Intimate Wear Apart
There are some things that you can’t just throw in the washer. And that includes bras, negligees, undergarments, and many others. Most of these items are made of delicate materials.
You don’t want to expose them to anything harsh like the power of your washer and dryer. You also don’t want them to get mixed up with your other clothes. In most cases, most of your intimate and delicate garments are hand washed.
Invest In Hampers
With all the talk about separating clothes for washing, there’s one thing you should spend your money on. You should get yourself a couple of hampers or laundry baskets. If you don’t have the budget, you can always improvise. Remember that if there’s a will, there’s away!
One of the advantages of having several hampers is that you can throw your clothes in them after each use. If there’s a basket for dark clothing, your black or grey shirts can go straight to that one.
If there’s one for your light-colored stuff, then they can go to their respective basket as well. You don’t have to separate them by the time you need to do your laundry. If you are pressed for time, this practice would save you!
Consider The Fabrics
Not all clothes are created equal. Some clothes are made of materials that might not be fit for machine washing at all. You would know that each piece of clothing is different by the texture of its fabrics.
If you aren’t sure about the type of fabrics, you can always refer to the tags. The names of the fabrics are usually mentioned, along with the percentages. There are also washing instructions there as well. If you are having doubts, there might be some references on the Internet that you can look up to.
You should also never forget about clothes that can only be dry cleaned. You can take them out of the equation. You can always send those clothes to your favorite dry cleaners.
Segregate By The Weight Of The Fabric
The kind of fabric a piece of clothing is made of is not the only thing you should look at. Consider the weight of the fabric. You can’t put heavy fabrics with lighter ones. Their washing cycles are not the same at all.
The heavier fabrics might damage the clothes made of lighter fabrics during the washing cycling process. If you want to make sure your clothes are in tip-top shape, just wash them separately. It might take you longer to finish, but at least you know your clothes are safe!
Put Stained Clothes At The Side
If some of your clothes have stains that might be difficult to remove, take them out of your pile. You should set them aside and figure out the best course of action. If you just throw that piece of clothing into the washing machine directly without figuring out what’s wrong with it, you might not be able to remove the stain.
Before putting these clothes in the washing machine, there are some pre-treatment processes that you can do.
Apart from setting the soiled clothes aside, you should also identify what caused the stain. If you can find out the cause, then it’s easier to find which stain removal process would work.
With that said, you might want to keep some of the basic stain removal products at home. There’s no harm in trying to keep items like Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Color Safe Bleach, and other stuff nearby. You never know when you would need these kinds of things!
Know What To Wash First
If you have so many clothes to wash, it can get pretty overwhelming. However, if you know your priorities, it would make things a little easier.
While separating your clothes, you should take note of the ones that need urgent washing. Those are probably the first ones you should throw in the washer and dryer. You can then make your way to the rest of your stuff.
Before you start doing the laundry, make sure that the clothes are turned inside out. By doing this, you are protecting them from the whole washing and drying process.
Reconsider Combining Loads
If you are just going to throw all your dirty clothes in the washer altogether, it defeats the purpose of separating them in the first place. There are still some considerations you should remember when it’s time for the actual washing of the clothes.
Take this for example. You should consider using cold water for your white or light-colored clothes. Your clothes can last longer and shed fewer microfibers if the water is cooler and the cycle is shorter. If you aren’t sure which water temperature works best for your clothes, you can always refer to the labels of your clothes. They are there for a reason, so use that to your advantage!
Other Laundry Basics To Take Note
Now that you know the importance of separating your clothes for washing, you should also take note of other crucial tips.
If you want to get the best laundry experience, then you need to know the different features of your washer and dryer. It would help if you read the manual and be more familiar with the settings and whatnot. You won’t find yourself under pressure in figuring out the best cycle setting for a particular load.
Another vital factor is knowing the right detergent to use for your laundry. There are so many types of laundry detergents on the market today. It’s up to you to figure out which one works for you. It’s the same thing if you use fabric conditioners or softeners.
The more you master your own laundry process – from sorting the clothes up to the washing and drying process – the easier it would be for you.
Laundry Essential: Importance of Sorting Your Clothes
Every single time you buy clothes, think of it as an investment. If you want to maintain them in the best possible ways, it all starts with knowing how to separate your clothes when washing them. When you know how to do your laundry correctly, you can take more care of your stuff.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.