Washing involves several steps and for some people the most important one is sorting out the dirty clothes. There are many ways to separate laundry, including the option of not sorting at all -- just dump all the clothes into the washing machine and hope for the best. But if you want clean, fresh, undamaged clothes, separating clothes is the best way to protect colours and to keep your garments in good condition for longer. Everyone is different, so you have to create a system of sorting dirty washing that works best for your lifestyle.
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Read the care instruction on the label of your clothes. This is the best way to know how to sort your washing. Some items need cold water, others need to be washed separately or dry-cleaned. Following the care instruction will keep your garments looking almost new.
Put all the whites together. One thing many people do is separate the white clothes from the coloured clothes. The main reason for this is that coloured clothes have a tendency to bleed or run, which can permanently stain the white clothes. If you want to use chlorine bleach to really get the clothes bright, you also need to separate the whites from the colours, because bleach will fade coloured clothes.
Create a pile just for lights. These clothes are light in colour and have patterns with a white background. It is recommended that people wash clothes of similar colour together.
Put all the bright colours together. Some people wash bright coloured clothes with the dark clothes, while others have three separate groups – whites, brights and darks. Bright coloured clothes are the yellows, reds, greens, cobalt blues and pinks that might bleed in the wash. To reduce the chances of this, use cold water for the wash cycle. You can also test a garment by soaking it in cold water in your bathroom sink or a bucket. If the water turns to the colour of the garment it should be washed alone or with similar colours.
Put the dark colours together. Some people feel that washing all dark clothes together is the best way to keep white or light-coloured clothes from getting dingy. There are now washing powders especially formulated to wash only dark colours.
Make a pile of all the delicate clothes. Delicates are silks, satins, wools and similar fabrics. Other delicates include sweaters that can shrink in the wash. It is probably best to wash these clothes by hand or to have them dry-cleaned. Another option is to place these delicates in small laundry bags which are then put in the washing machine. The layer of the bag provides a degree of protection for the delicate garment.