How to sort laundry in 4 simple steps

We know how frustrating it is to find your whites have turned a dull grey or that clothes have come out of the wash either shrunken or stretched. Learning how to sort laundry is the best way to avoid any future mishaps, and you’ll be pleased to know it’s easy to do! 

1. Read the label

If you’ve purchased new clothes or are new to doing laundry, the first step is to read the care label on each item before washing.  

The care label will include a breakdown of the fabrics used to make an item, such as cotton or polyester. It will also tell you whether the item can be machine washed, what water temperature to use and how to dry the fabric. You can find out what the best temperature to wash at by clicking here.

Remember to always separate washable from dry-clean-only items – these will require a trip to a professional dry cleaner, though some can be hand washed.

2. Sort by Colour

Gather your washable laundry together and separate it into colour categories: 

  • Whites 
  • Lights – pale shades of colours such as yellow, blue, pink or green
  • Brights – any brighter shades of red, green, orange etc. 
  • Darks – black and darker shades of grey, green, navy, purple, red etc. 

Darks and brights can sometimes be combined into the same loads. However, if you have a large amount of either, it’s worth washing separately to avoid colours bleeding. 

3. Sort by fabric

It may seem like an extra step but sorting your laundry by fabric type can go a long way towards keeping your clothes in good shape. Be sure to sort into groups and wash separately. 

  • Everyday items (cottons and linens – t-shirts, underwear, socks etc.) 
  • Denim 
  • Sheets and bedding 
  • Delicates (silk and embellished items) 
  • Wools 
  • Towels 
  • Lint-producing items (fluffy jumpers etc.) 

Sorting by fabric helps to prevent damage to more delicate items. Heavier items will also take much longer to dry, which can mean that lighter fabrics suffer from over-drying and results in more stress on the fibres. 

4. Wash heavily-soiled items separately

If you have garments with ground-in dirt or oily stains, sort as usual but make sure to wash them separately. This will prevent stains from redepositing on other items and stop the transfer of strong odours. They will often need pre-treating with a stain remover before loading them into the wash. 

Tips and tricks

A few tips to make sorting your laundry even easier… 

  • Label laundry baskets/hampers by colour or fabric will have you sorting items as you go 
  • Keep stain removal and pre-treatments to hand just in case 
  • Wash new clothes on their own for the first few cycles as they tend to bleed dye more readily at this stage 

While skipping the sorting of your laundry won’t always spell disaster for your clothes, the short amount of time it takes can make a huge difference. You’ll have the hang of it in no time and will notice that your clothes look and feel newer for longer too!