How to Separate Laundry: 5 Simple Steps

It’s happened to everyone: we think we’re finished washing our clothes, only to find our favorite white blouse has turned pink, and our go-to wool sweater has shrunk in the wash. While we might think our washing machine is to blame, we know it really isn’t the appliance’s fault. So, what happened? We likely didn’t sort the laundry correctly!

Sorting laundry is a key pre-wash step to ensure that our clothes are cared for the way they should be. Another is pretreating laundry – applying a small amount of detergent to a stubborn stain before throwing it in the wash.

While it may seem like more work, knowing how to separate clothes and pretreat laundry is worth it! These steps will help ensure that your clothes stay looking their best.

How to sort laundry

Washing your laundry without sorting it into different loads first can result in discolored or even damaged clothes. The basic rule behind sorting is “like goes with like”. A single load should have clothing that requires the same water temperature, wash cycle, and type of detergent.

Some differences between your clothing includes the type of fabric your garments are made of, the temperature the fabrics should be washed at, and the color of the garments. Check out these helpful tips so you can improve your laundry sorting routine:

Step 1: Separate by fabric type

Don’t wash delicates like wool or silk, and heavier fabrics like towels or jeans, together. Delicates are more sensitive to wear and tear while heavier fabrics can handle tougher rinse cycles.

Step 1: Sort by washing temperature

Different fabrics need to be washed at different temperatures. Follow the care label and laundry symbols on a garment’s tag. They will tell you at what temperature you should wash the fabric. Generally, whites can be washed at higher temperatures than darker colors. Always double check what’s on the care label.

Step 2: Separate your clothes by color

If possible, wash dark or bold colors (especially red and black garments) with similar colors. These colors can fade and dyes can ruin other clothes that are washed with them. Pay attention to the directions on the garment labels.

Step 3: Pay attention to the amount of dirt on clothes

Dirtier clothing may require a longer rinse-cycle than other lightly used garments. Separate your clothing by dirtiness so you’re protecting laundry that may not require as much agitation from your washing machine.

Step 4: Wash your clothes inside out

Turning clothes inside out that are prone to fading or odor retention will both protect the garments and work to fight stubborn odors.

Step 5: Organize laundry ahead of time

Keep multiple laundry baskets in your home. This will allow you to sort your dirty clothes directly as they go in the hamper so you don’t need to spend time separating when you begin washing.

Don’t forget to pretreat stains

Heavily soiled clothing and laundry should be washed immediately because recent stains are easier to remove than stains that have set in.

To pretreat stains, use any Persil® ProClean® liquid detergent. To get out those really tough stains, try a tough, stain fighting laundry detergent like Persil® Proclean® Stain Fighter laundry detergent or Persil® ProClean® +OXI laundry detergent. Simply apply a little detergent directly to the stain and let it soak in for 10-15 minutes. Then wash according to the label instructions. Simple as that!

Ready, set, sort: Sorting laundry key takeaways

No one wants to make things more complicated than they have to be. That’s why you should be proactive about your laundry routine, especially when sorting laundry and pretreating stains.

When sorting laundry, consider the fabric type of your garment, the temperature at which the clothing should be washed at and the color of the fabric. A good rule of thumb to remember is that “like goes with like”, so you can protect your wardrobe for years to come.

If you do happen to stain something, pretreating the spot with laundry detergent can help lift the imperfection from your favorite clothes. Persil® Proclean® Stain Fighter is specifically formulated to help rid your clothing of even the toughest stains. Simply soak the stain with laundry detergent for 15 minutes before adding it to the rinse cycle and washing according to the care label.

For more helpful laundry tips, check out the Persil® ProClean® Stain Advisor blog. Even the toughest stains need a specific kind of care!

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