Every household has its different laundry methods. You’ve probably encountered a range of opinions about how to do your washing with different water temperatures and separated clothes. But is it really necessary to separate your washing?
It isn’t necessary to separate washing, but it is the best way to properly care for a range of clothing. Separating washing can maintain the colour and quality for a longer time. To wash clothes without separating them, don’t use hot water, otherwise the fabric will be damaged and colours will bleed.
If you aren’t certain about separating your clothes, we’re going to talk about the good and bad of separating your washing below.
It’s always a good idea to separate your washing before washing and drying to look after your clothes. This isn’t a necessity and there are lots of people who do wash all their clothes together. But by separating your washing, you can extend the lifespan of your clothes.
The ways to separate your washing depends on the clothes that need to be washed. People most commonly separate washing by whether they are dark or light colours. Some people take this a step further and separate darks, blacks, whites, coloured and light-coloured clothing. You can also separate your washing by the material that the clothes are made from. For example, jeans and jackets are usually made from rougher and harder materials like denim. It’s better to separate these from softer materials. Your shirts and socks tend to be made from thinner and softer materials. These can be separated from rougher materials to stop the softness from being ruined when they tumble around in the machine.
Different clothing pieces also are maintained better by different washing settings. If you don’t want to separate your washing, then you should make sure you don’t do a hot wash. Hot washes can cause the colours from different clothing pieces to bleed and stain other pieces. Washing your clothes without separating them won’t ruin your clothes if you are careful, and it can save time. It can reduce the loads of washing in a week. But to properly care for your clothes, you should consider separating them in some way, whether that’s by fabric or colours.
Should you separate your washing?
You should consider separating your washing to help maintain the quality of your clothes. The main way that people choose to organise their washing is by separating it into colours. The three main categories are white, dark, and light-coloured.
Clothes that go in your white washing pile should be fully white with no printed patterns. These items can be washed separately from all other washing. You can then add chlorine or wash with bleach to help brighten your white clothes.
Dark hues, such as black, navy, crimson, or purple are another washing category. All of these colours can be safely washed together. Any colour bleeding that might occur from these coloured items won’t be seen as easily, blending together better. If you’re worried that a new piece of clothing with dark fabric will bleed in the wash, you should wash it separately or by hand.
Lighter-coloured clothing is the third pile that people make when they separate their washing. This washing is less likely to bleed in the wash, but more likely to be stained by darker clothing items. So, they should be washed separately from dark clothing. Bleach shouldn’t be used with these, otherwise, the colour will be stripped from them. Light-coloured clothes can also still stain your whites.
So, the main basic categories to separate your washing include whites, darks, and lights.
The point of sorting your washing is being able to select the most relevant washing cycle for the types of clothing in each load. Certain materials wash better in warm water, while others need hot or cold water. For instance, sheets and towels are cleaned better with hot water, but jeans and other dark-coloured items are washed better in warm or cold water.
It’s also important to note that your whites will stay brighter for longer if they are washed separately from coloured items. Separating your clothes colour-wise also allows for you to bleach whites without the risk of ruining coloured items.
As we’ve mentioned, you can also help maintain the quality and texture of your clothes by separating them. For example, heavier items such as jeans and jackets are washed separately from softer items such as cotton t-shirts.
One of the biggest benefits of separating your washing is being able to use the best washing temperature and cycle for specific clothes. There are benefits of maintaining the quality of texture and colour in your clothes. This happens by separating colours, but also by using the right water temperature.
Warm water wash cycles prevent shrinking and fading while thoroughly cleaning clothes. Warm water is the best washing temperature for your whites and light-coloured clothing but isn’t as good for dark clothes.
Hot water is great for disinfecting clothing items but should not be used if you don’t separate your washing. A hot wash is a great way to disinfect pillows and bedding after you have been sick. Washing in hot water is effective when bleaching your whites too.
Cold wash cycles prevent colour bleeding amongst your washing and lowers the chances of your clothes shrinking. This is the best option for washing your dark clothing, as well as delicates such as lace, silk, sheer, or chiffon. But you shouldn’t wash dark, heavy materials, in the same cold wash as your delicate materials.
There are many ways to separate your washing and things to consider to maintain the quality of your clothes. We do suggest separating your washing based on heavy and light material for a start. Then consider the water temperature for your wash cycles and the colours to separate your washing.
What happens if you don’t separate your laundry?
If you don’t separate your washing, you risk damaging your clothes or reducing the quality of the materials. There are many different factors that can influence how much damage would be done if you don’t separate your washing. If you wash coloured pieces with white or other light colours in warm or hot water, the colours can bleed onto different pieces. This results in spontaneous tie-dyeing of your washing!
If you don’t separate softer materials from rougher materials in your washing, some of your softer clothes can absorb the starch from the heavier items. For example, if you wash a soft jumper and jeans in the same cycle, the jumper can absorb starch from the denim. This takes reduces the soft quality of the jumper.
You can wash your clothes without separating them if you are careful to not have the water too hot. But the quality of the materials will be impacted.
Do you have to separate laundry in the dryer?
You should make an effort to separate your washing before putting it in the dryer.
Drying everything together may appear to be a good idea at first. But there is still a risk of ruining your favourite pieces. Even slightly wet dark or colourful items can transfer dye in the dryer. It’s not different from when using a washing machine and the hot air from a dryer increases the risk of wet clothing bleeding colours.
Looking for more ways to help reduce your waste and impact on the environment? Check out our other resources such as holding a party without disposable plates. Ready for a spring clean? Make sure you hire a skip bin to help with a big clean out!