Do You Really Have To Separate Your Laundry Before Washing?

You have a family full of people who need clean clothes and barely any time to get laundry done between work, cooking, and everything else that comes with life. Aside from the number of people creating dirty clothing items on a daily basis, separating the laundry makes the process even more time consuming. But, do you really need to separate everything before sticking it in the washing machine and selecting your cycle? The short answer is — it depends.

Not separating laundry isn't a cardinal sin that guarantees all your clothing will be ruined the first time you throw everything in willy-nilly without a care in the world, according to Family Handyman. However, if you do separate by color, your clothes will stay brighter and you'll get more life out of them. It may seem tedious at times and eat into your busy schedule, but you spent money on those clothes and want to treat them right.

How to separate laundry right

Most people start sorting laundry by color. You don't want dark colors to bleed onto lighter colors, so you might start with separating colors and whites and then separating by color shades, according to Family Handyman. Also, pay attention to your labels and separate clothing by washing instructions. Keep things that need hot water together and have another pile of things that should only be washed in cold water. recommends sorting by fabric type as well. You don't want towels in with lighter fabrics, as towels can be abrasive against other items. Also, if an item of clothing has hardware like zippers, snaps, or buttons, keep them separate so they don't snag on more delicate pieces like lingerie.

And remember, a heavier item takes longer to dry than a lighter one and you don't want lighter fabric to overdry. In the same vein, heavier fabrics might not dry enough and come out of the dryer damp. That can lead to an unpleasant, moldy odor.

Finally, if a shirt or pair of pants is extra soiled, it's going to need a heavy-duty cycle, so separate dirtier clothing into its own pile and wash it separately from items with usual everyday wear (via Tide).