If laundry were only about turning on a washer and dryer, life would be a lot simpler. However, as you know, your laundry chores start well before you put your clothes in the washer and end well after those clothes take their last spin in the dryer.
You have to gather your clothes, sort them, wash them, dry them, fold or hang them, and put them away. All of those steps eat away at the time you could be spending in more pleasurable pursuits.
To cut a few corners, some people decide to ditch the sorting process altogether and let their laundry chips fall where they may. If you have been tempted to do this, please resist that temptation. There are some important reasons to sort your laundry well before washing. Here are a few.
Sort for Effective Stain Removal
One aspect of sorting that’s important to consider is stain removal. Clothes that aren’t especially soiled are one thing, but clothes with tough or excessive stains may not come clean if they aren’t treated before washing. So pull out the clothes with deep grass stains, food stains, or blood stains first, and soak them or apply laundry detergent directly to the spot before washing.
Make sure that you pretreat the stains appropriately for the type of stain as well. For example, many stains can be pre-treated by soaking them in a mixture of warm water and vinegar for an hour or so, agitating the clothes periodically. When it comes to bloodstains, it’s important to use cold water instead of warm water. Heat can cause blood stains to set into the fabric permanently, never to be removed.
Sort to Preserve Color
You want to keep your white fabrics white and also keep your colored fabrics at the same level of brightness they were when you bought them. Historically, that means separating laundry into three different categories by color – whites, lights, and darks.
However, when using modern washers, dryers, and laundry products, it’s less important to separate light and dark colored laundry. You may still want to separate new dark-colored clothing from the rest in case there are excess dyes that might bleed during the first wash, but keeping lights and darks separate isn’t strictly necessary anymore.
It is still important to separate whites and colors, though, if you’re planning on using bleaches or bluing agents to keep your whites bright. Products made for white linens and clothes can cause fading or spotting on colored clothing.
Sort to Protect Delicate Fabrics
Finally, you’ll want to sort your clothing by fabric composition. There are basically four categories to consider when sorting by fabrics: delicates, denim, towels, and everything else. Delicates include things like silk, satin, lace, and netting. These clothes need to be hand washed or washed on a gentle cycle. Jeans and other denim items are very heavy when wet and take a long time to dry, and may not get properly cleaned and dried if not washed by themselves.
Towels will leave lint all over your clothes and other items if they’re not separated, though it’s usually fine to wash them with things like bed linens. The rest of your clothes, including cotton blends, T-shirts, and other clothing, can usually be washed together unless the tag indicates otherwise.
Life, Not Laundry
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