We’ve all heard the horror story of that little red sock sneaking into a load of white towels, turning everything into an awful shade of pale pink. Out of seeming necessity, most of us separate clothing into light and dark loads. But do you really have to?
The short answer is yes. But there’s a lot more to it than preventing a laundry disaster. Many items, like blue jeans and towels, should be washed on their own after they are purchased to prevent bleeding. Typically after the initial wash, they are fine to launder with other similarly colored clothes.
Sorting not only prevents bleeding, it retains the quality and brightness of your clothing’s color. While some laundry professionals recommend up to five different categories of sorting, we think it’s fine to limit it to three : whites, brights (colors, patterns), and darks (dark blue, brown, black).
When laundry is run through the washing machine, clothing is actually washed twice. There is a initial wash-and-drain cycle then the machine momentarily stops, automatically adds a little more detergent, and begins again. During this second cycle, the clothing is rinsed at the hottest temperature the fabric can stand to thoroughly remove all detergent.
Because clothing goes through this intense process, items get a lot of wear and tear during each wash. Separating clothing into whites, brights, and darks minimizes the fading effects the washing machine can have.
At the end of the day, sorting still is a drag and takes up a lot of time. We recommend letting us take care of all your laundry for you and watching this cat video instead.