How to Separate Clothes For Washing

by Contributing Writer

So, your white T-shirt has streaks of blue, your dark blue jeans are faded and your red button-down is pink. Chances are, you didn’t separate your clothes before you threw them in the wash. You want to separate by color because the clothes with colors tend to bleed in the wash. Not pretty. But it’s simple to do correctly. Read on to learn how to separate clothes for washing.

Step 1

Focus on the whites. This pile is going to be made up basically of T-shirts, socks and dress shirts. Pillowcases, other white clothes, towels and linens that are white will also go in this pile. Always wash whites in hot water unless the label says otherwise.

Step 2

Separate lights. This pile will be made up of everything that’s not all white, but not quite denim-dark either. Think pastels and patterned white clothing. If a garment is mostly white but has a colored logo or patch, stay on the safe side and throw it in with the lights. Wash this load in warm water.

Step 3

Separate darks. Anything black, navy, dark blue jean or generally dark in color, goes in this pile. Darks, like colors, often bleed in the wash and should be washed in cold water.

Step 4

Gather delicates. This is a tricky section of the wash because all delicates can’t be washed together. Delicates are things like wool garments, silky, satin intimates, lacy things, or anything that says “hand wash” on the label. These items should be washed on the delicate cycle and in cold water, even if the item is white. Also, they need to be separated by color like the rest of the laundry.

Tips

  • Always make sure zippers are closed to prevent snagging in the wash, ad give your pockets a quick once over for offenders like lipstick before adding your pants to the water.

Warnings

  • Once you have ruined a garment in the wash--like throwing a red blouse into a hot water wash and turning it pink—you can’t undo the damage. Separate colors carefully.

Photo Credits

  • corbis.com