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Separating your laundry can help your garments remain vibrant and in their original color. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process and provide valuable tips to keep your clothes looking their best.

Sort By Color

Begin by emptying your hamper or basket on a broad surface. It’s time to sort your laundry into three main categories: lights, darks, and colors (pro tip: a laundry sorter is a nifty tool that can help you skip this step).

Here’s a breakdown of the color categories:

Lights: These are your white and light-colored garments. They should be separated from the other categories to prevent color transfer.

Darks: This category includes your dark-colored clothes like black, navy, or dark brown. Keep these items separate to protect your lighter garments.

Colors: In this category, place your colorful clothing items that don’t fit into the lights or darks categories. These tend to be the more vibrant colors, such as red.

Sort By Fabric

Next, separate your more delicate fabrics from heavier, more durable ones. As your laundry spins and tumbles through the washer and dryer, thick fabrics like denim can cause wear and tear on softer ones like silk or lace. Wash them separately to keep your fabrics looking their best.

Check Clothing Labels

While sorting, take a moment to check the care labels on your clothes. Some garments and fabrics may have specific washing instructions that differ from the general categories mentioned above. Follow any special recommendations to preserve the fabric and color.

Select Appropriate Washer Settings

Once your laundry is sorted, it’s time to choose your washing machine settings. Use cold water for colors and darks to prevent color transfer or fading, while lights can typically be washed in warm water. But at the end of the day, always follow the garment care instructions on the label.

Can You Dry Whites and Colors Together?

After washing, it’s time to think about drying. Whites should generally be dried separately from colors and darks to prevent color transfer. If you’re unsure, consider air drying your laundry. Hanging clothes on a line or using a drying rack is a safe way to prevent color bleeding and keep your garments at their highest quality. Air drying is also a great way to preserve more delicate garments and fabrics.