How To Separate Laundry

Jun 24, 2023

Laundry is a chore that many of us would like to avoid, but it's also a necessity. Understanding how to separate laundry will help you get through your piles of dirty clothes faster and with less fuss.

How To Separate Laundry?

There are four different types of laundry: color, instructions, fabric, and soil level.

Color separates by the shade of your clothing. Instructions are separated by the type of material your clothing is made out of (i.e., polyester or cotton). Fabric separates by what kind of cloth was used to make your clothing (i.e., rayon). Soil level separates by how dirty your clothes are (i.e., lightly soiled versus heavily soiled).

Separate by Color

Separating laundry by color is the most effective way to get the best results. This method allows you to wash clothes that are similar in color at the same time, so they don't bleed into each other.

White Clothes

Wash whites with colors to prevent them from losing their brightness. Wash light colors with light colors and dark colors with dark.

Light Clothes

Cold water: Use cold water when washing light clothes, as warm or hot water can fade the color.

Mild detergent: Use mild detergent instead of harsh chemicals to protect your clothes and keep them looking great.

Gentle cycle: Lightweight fabrics will get tangled in the wash if they’re washed on a fast cycle, so select the gentle cycle instead.

Colored Clothes

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Grey

Dark Clothes

Dark clothes are made of dark fabrics, so they can be washed with white clothes without causing any color transfer. However, if you have a dark shirt that's stained or has gotten dirty on the collar and cuffs, it should be washed separately from other items. Dark shirts can also be laundered in their own load if you're just doing laundry for yourself.

Separate by Instructions

The label on each garment will tell you how to wash it, so be sure to read it before you throw things into the machine. The label may say:

  • Hand Wash Only
  • Machine Wash Cold (or Warm) Water,
  • Gentle Cycle,
  • Delicate Dryer Setting
  • Separate by Color

Separate by Fabric

There are many different fabric types and each has its own washing requirements. For example, wool and silk should only be washed in cold water, while cotton and linen can be washed with hot water.


Jeans should be separated by color. This will prevent your blue jeans from bleeding onto your other clothes, which may cause permanent staining.

Jeans can also be separated by fabric and soil level to ensure that they are kept in the best condition

Sports Clothes

Sports clothes should be washed separately from other types of laundry. This is because the fabrics used in sports clothing are often made from synthetic materials, which are more likely to bleed their color than natural fabrics like cotton or silk.


Towels should be washed separately. They can be washed with your whites, but not with your colored clothes. Towels should also be washed in cold water, and they need to have a mild detergent added to them. After they're washed, you can dry them on a rack or line—just make sure you don't wring them out too tightly!


Sheets are the most important part of your bed, and should be treated with respect. If they don't get clean, you won't sleep well at night!

Delicate Fabrics

Silk, linen, lace, and lingerie are delicate fabrics. You should wash these by hand in cool water with a mild detergent. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners on these items of clothing.

Separate by Soil Level

The first step to separating laundry is to divide it by soil level, which simply means the degree of soiling. The more heavily soiled clothes should go in one bin, and the less soiled clothes go in another. If you have a top-loading machine, this will be easy: just make sure to sort appropriately before putting any clothes into the washer.


For the best results, separate your laundry by color. This is because the bleeding of one garment onto another can ruin the color of a garment (and not just on the item that got stained).

By fabric type: cotton, linen, wool, and silk should be washed alone to preserve their integrity.

By soil level: this means washing heavily soiled clothes with lightly soiled ones (this is important for items like towels).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash my whites with colors

No! Wash your whites, pastels and light colors alone. Never mix whites with bright colors because they will bleed into the fabric and make it look dirty.

What colors should I wash with white?

Only dark colors like black, navy blue and red are safe to wash together since they don't bleed much at all.

Do grey and cream go together with clothes?

Unfortunately not - these are both considered "white" but still need special care when handling so that one doesn't get ruined during the wash cycle!

Can you wash whites with colors?

No, never. If you do, the color will bleed onto the white and cause it to lose its brightness and become dull. Instead, separate your laundry by color so that all of your whites are washed separately from other fabrics.

What colors can you wash with white?

Whites and lights are the easiest to wash together. Most whites can be washed with other whites, but some may bleed.

Do grey and cream go together with clothes?

Grey is a neutral color, so it can go with any color. Cream also a neutral flesh tone, but it’s not as cool-toned as gray. If you want to wear grey and cream together, you should use cream in moderation, or else it will look too warm and overpowering.


The answer is a resounding yes! You can wash almost any color together with white. The only exception is when you are washing something that has special instructions, like silk or wool. In general, though, you can safely wash any type of clothing together as long as the colors aren’t strong enough to cause problems.

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