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How to separate clothes for laundry

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Know how to separate clothes for laundry so your clothing lasts and looks good

Clothes aren't made to last forever, but care for them properly and theyíll stay in good shape much longer. One of the best ways to do this is by learning how to separate clothes for laundry. Throwing them all in the same load is tempting, but you wonít like the results.

No matter how many people contribute to the laundry pile, sorting clothes doesnít take very long. If you live by yourself, it takes no time at all. But if you thrive on efficiency, creating a system will make this task effortless.

As with all household tasks, there many ways to sort delicates, kids' clothes and your own closet staples. Consider the types of clothes you're washing and the condition that theyíre in. Hereís how to separate clothes for laundry according to your needs.

Large Family

Doing laundry for a large family has the added challenge of trying to figure out what belongs to whom, especially if you have multiple boys or girls. In this case, itís helpful to divvy up the loads by pairing people who have different types of clothes. For instance, put momís clothes with dadís and brotherís with sisterís.

Make things easier by having a different hamper for each pair in their respective rooms. Youíll still need to double check for new clothes that may bleed, but those extra hampers will save you loads of time.

Lights from Darks

Unless you have brand new brightly colored garments, dividing them according to lights and darks isnít really necessary if you use the same detergent for both. New clothes that are going to bleed color stop doing so after a wash or two. Soak these in a sink filled with water and see if the water turns colors to be certain they wonít turn everything pink.



The common wisdom behind separating whites from other clothes, aside from bleeding colors, is that whites become dingy when washed with colors. Hot water also helps keep whites nice and bright. However, more and more eco-friendly homes are choosing the greener method of washing both in cold water.

If you have a large enough load to separate whites and colors, turn your attention to the white pile. Pull out any dingy socks, towels and soiled tops to wash separately.

Delicates

Take a look at the label of your favorite dress or blouse. If it says to hand wash and you want the garment to keep its form, follow the instructions. Pull out all delicates and hand wash them together once a week or once a month.

Kidís Clothes VS. Adultís

One of the first questions parents have when wondering how to separate clothes for laundry is what to do with baby clothes. On one hand, it seems wasteful to do a whole wash with young childrenís clothes that are so small they barely make up half a load. On the other, they sell baby detergent for a reason.

Baby and toddler clothes are much softer. Their skin is delicate and sensitive so their clothes must be washed in a more gentle detergent. Adult detergents are much harsher and will leave their clothes feeling too rough.

A simple solution to the baby half-loads is to put some of your own clothes in and wash them with baby detergent. Once theyíre out of toddlerhood, go ahead and wash the clothes together. The one exception: wash extremely dirty clothing, like muddy pats, separately.

Laundry Tips:

  • Organic clothing is made of pure fabrics so it's more delicate. Read the tag carefully as they usually require gentle cycle.
  • Play some music while you sort. Itíll help you relax so the task feels less like a chore. 
  • Explain your sorting method and share the duty. Create a chore chart and put a different family member in charge of sorting each week. Having to do the deed themselves will teach them an important life skill, and free you up for more important things. 
  • While weíre on the topic of sorting, always wash towels separate from clothes. Towels make sweaters and cotton clothes pill when washed together. Pills take the form of little balls where the fabric is worn. 
  • Nice sweaters should be hand washed with other delicates to keep them from pilling.  

While sorting clothes and doing laundry can be time consuming, itís for the good of your fabulous wardrobe. 


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