Hate it or love it, sorting and separating laundry is a necessary part of laundry day. Properly sorting your laundry can help prevent damage, preserve colors, and so much more. Below we teach you everything you need to know in order to separate and sort your laundry like a pro.
Why Is Sorting Laundry Important?
Before you learn the best way to sort your laundry you should first understand why this is such a critical step in the washing process.
Sorting Helps to Identify and Treat Stains
Sorting laundry effectively serves as a way to audit your clothes because you are giving each article of clothing an extra look as you remove it from your laundry bag or hamper.
During the audit process, you can pay closer attention to how dirty your clothes actually are and if there are notable stains on them. If you do come across any stained garments, you can set them aside and treat the stain as needed prior to cleaning the garment.
Sorting Preserves Your Clothing
Separating laundry enables you to segment your laundry according to fabric type and color. Separating clothes by color is especially important because some garments are made from dyes that tend to color bleed during the washing process if they are not properly sorted with similar colors. You may have already experienced color bleeding first-hand, particularly with red garments.
Sorting Protects Your Delicates
Another reason it’s important to sort your laundry before washing is that it allows you to pull out any delicate items that may need special treatment. Delicate items include garments made of silk and satin, or items with netting or lace. To preserve your delicates, don’t just throw them into the washing machine along with other clothing. It’s important to handle your delicates separately so they don’t get damaged during the washing process.
How to Sort Your Laundry
1.) Read The Care Labels
Prior to sorting and washing your clothes you should always read the care labels. The care labels are unique to each garment and include directions on how to properly care for your clothes, including the suggested temperature setting you should set your washer to.
In addition, the care labels provide a breakdown of the fabrics used to make your garments, such as cotton or polyester. This information is valuable because some fabrics may need special attention if you choose to care for them at home versus using a professional cleaner. For instance, cashmere is a fabric that you will want to care for separately.
If you don’t have time to read all your care labels (hint: most people don’t), make sure you check the care labels for items where you aren’t 100% sure they can safely go through the washer and dryer. You know the items we’re talking about...it’s less about t-shirts and socks and more about delicate or unique materials or colors.
2.) Sort Using Piles
Consider sorting your laundry into piles to make your life easier. First and foremost, separate your lights and darks. By doing so, you will limit the chances of color bleeding occurring during the wash cycle.
You should sort your lights and darks into three different categories - darks, other colors, and whites. If your garment is multi-colored or includes a pattern, sort the garment based on the most prevalent color. If it’s too tough to tell, then any of your color piles will suffice.
After your colored piles are set, you can consider the following sub-piles:
- Stained garments - any garment that is stained or extremely dirty.
- Dry clean only - items that cannot be washed using a machine or require dry cleaning service.
- Linens - sheets, comforters, towels, and other related bedding items.
- Daily outfits - garments such as t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc.
- Denim - jeans and denim jackets.
- Workout clothes - activewear and gym clothing.
- Delicates - anything that requires a delicate wash, such as lingerie or silk.
If the above is too detailed, we suggest starting with a more basic system and then working your way up to the “pro” level, such as:
Items that should be washed in laundry vs. items that should NOT. For items that should be washed, just separate your lights and darks.
By using the pile system you are able to ensure you are washing similar garment types together, which will help you to avoid damage or accidents during the cleaning process.
Additionally, piles allow you to set aside stained garments and clothes that need dry cleaning service. Rather than risking damage to your dry clean only garments in the washing machine, consider a professional dry cleaning service such as Rinse so that you can properly care for your dry clean only items and stained garments.
Once you’ve inspected your piles you are ready to start washing!
By following these tips and tricks you’ll be sorting laundry like expert in no time. If you would rather not deal with sorting and washing laundry you can opt for professional services such as Rinse.
At Rinse, we always sort your lights and darks and handle your laundry with care. We’ll pick up, professionally clean, and deliver your laundry straight to your door. You can schedule a pickup here any day of the week, including Sundays!