The Correct Way to Separate Colorful Laundry

The Correct Way to Separate Colorful Laundry


Laundry is a regular chore that most people have to tackle, and one of the most important aspects of doing laundry correctly is separating the different colors. Separating your laundry by color not only helps to prevent color bleeding and fading but also ensures that your clothes remain vibrant and in good condition for a longer time. In this article, we will explore the correct way to separate colorful laundry, providing you with tips and guidelines to make your laundry routine more efficient and effective.

1. Sort Laundry Into Three Categories

When it comes to separating colored laundry, it is best to sort your clothes into three main categories – whites, lights, and darks. This sorting method helps prevent color bleeding and ensures that your clothes maintain their original colors for longer.

  • Whites: This category includes all white clothing and light-colored items that can be safely washed with whites. Examples include white socks, white t-shirts, and light pastel-colored clothing.

  • Lights: The lights category comprises of light-colored clothing such as pastels, light grays, and pale shades of any color. It is important to keep these items separate from darker colors to prevent color transfer.

  • Darks: Dark-colored clothing such as blacks, deep blues, reds, and purples fall into this category. These items should be separated from both whites and lights to prevent color bleeding and fading.

2. Check the Care Labels

Before washing any clothing item, it is crucial to check the care label instructions. These labels provide information about the recommended washing temperature, whether the item should be hand-washed or machine washed, and whether it can be mixed with other colors. Follow these instructions to avoid damaging your clothes or causing color bleeding.

3. Separate New or Unwashed Garments

New or unwashed garments are more likely to bleed color, as the dye may not have fully set into the fabric. It is best to separate these items from the rest of your laundry until they have been washed a few times and are less prone to color transfer.

4. Use Color Catcher Sheets

Color catcher sheets are a fantastic invention for those who want to save time and effort in sorting laundry. These sheets absorb any loose dye in the wash, preventing it from staining other clothes. Simply throw a color catcher sheet in with your laundry load, and you can mix colors with peace of mind.

5. Wash Similar Colors Together

Within the whites, lights, and darks categories, it is also important to wash similar colors together. For example, separate pale yellows and pinks from darker shades of red or orange. Washing similar colors together helps minimize the risk of color fading and bleeding.

6. Consider Delicate Fabrics

Delicate fabrics such as silk, lace, or cashmere should always be washed separately from other items, regardless of color. These fabrics require extra care, and mixing them with other clothing can lead to damage or unravelling. Follow the care label instructions for delicates and consider hand washing or using a delicate cycle on your washing machine.

7. Pre-treat Stains

Before washing colorful clothing, it is important to pre-treat any stains. Using a stain remover or applying a paste made from baking soda and water can help to lift and remove stains effectively. Treat stains promptly to increase the chances of successful removal.

8. Use Cold Water

When washing colorful laundry, using cold water is generally recommended. Cold water helps to preserve the colors and prevent fading. Additionally, it reduces the risk of color bleeding between garments.

9. Avoid Overloading the Washing Machine

To ensure that your laundry is properly cleaned and rinsed, avoid overloading the washing machine. Overcrowding the machine can prevent clothes from agitating and moving freely, leading to inadequate washing and potential color bleeding.

10. Drying and Ironing

Lastly, ensure that you separate colors when drying and ironing your laundry as well. Drying clothes in direct sunlight can lead to color fading, so consider drying them in a shaded area or using a clothesline indoors. Similarly, avoid ironing dark-colored clothes on light-colored fabrics to prevent any color transfer.


Separating colorful laundry correctly is essential for maintaining the vibrancy and longevity of your clothes. By sorting your laundry into three main categories, checking care labels, and using color catcher sheets, you can prevent color bleeding and fading. Remember to pre-treat stains, wash similar colors together, and handle delicate fabrics with care. By following these tips, you can ensure that your colorful clothes remain bright and beautiful after every wash.