While sorting the laundry before placing it in the washer was a standard in my day, I can fully understand why this age-old tradition has often been replaced with a faster, just-throw-it-in strategy.
Time is a big factor for today's busy homemakers but if you consider the extra time (or money) you might need later for damage control, it's just not worth it to cut corners when it comes to doing a wash.
I've listed the five most important reasons to sort your laundry, but I could easily find more.
1. Keep Whites Looking White & Colors from Transferring
Even when your clothes are supposed to be color-fast, there's a tendency for whites to take on a grayish tone if washed with dark clothing or jeans. That sometimes is not noticeable after a wash or two, but compare older 'whites' which were not sorted properly, with newer ones and you'll see a drastic difference. Some colors also have a tendency to run or transfer to other clothing and that can be costly if you have to start replacing your wardrobe, because one color bled into another item.
2. Find Hidden Treasures (You Shouldn't Wash)
If you bypass the sorting of your laundry, you could easily miss a tissue that can leave hard-to-remove lint on your dark clothing. You might also find small bits, coins, gravel, nails, Legos™ or tiny toys and other pocket debris that should not get into your washer. When it comes to a frontload washer, pocket debris can get trapped in the interior and could cause your washer to stop working, requiring a qualified technician to clear or repair.
It's amazing what you can find when you check every laundry item, something that might get missed entirely, if you bypass sorting.
3. Appropriate Washing, Temperature and Spin Cycles
When you sort, that's when you're more likely to notice washing instructions inside clothing or realize that certain items might require a shorter permanent press load, rather than a long wash cycle. Choosing the appropriate washing cycle influences the correct spin for that load. If you wash a pair of dress pants that should be washed in a shorter, cooler cycle, with jeans or heavier soiled clothing on a long wash/high spin, your good clothing will suffer the consequences.
4. Sorting Reduces Pilling
This is especially noticeable when it comes to inadvertently washing towels with good clothing, a blanket with regular clothes or sports socks with dark pants. You'll get more fuzz balls, also known as pilling, when the little lint balls cling where they shouldn't. Sometimes you can remove these pills with another rinse, but most often you have to spend time removing them from clothing with the help of a clothing shaver or pill remover, a chore that adds more time to your washday.
5. Helps You Avoid Laundry Faux Pas
Sorting the laundry draws your attention to special care items such as woolen blankets, sweaters or delicates that require special washing, a very low spin or hand washing and/or hang-to-dry care. That's also when you're more likely to notice those stinky socks and wash them with only things that matter not whether they absorb that odor. For those with sensitive skin, their clothing may need an extra rinse to ensure complete removal of detergent, so it's a good idea to wash this clothing separately.
A sorted wash also tends to be a signal to anyone adding to the laundry, that they need to chose the right slot or pile for their clothing. When sorting is not evident, it's a free-for-all sort of washload. A laundry sorting hamper is ideal for this task. Washing and drying garments appropriately will ensure your clothing looks nice longer and saves you money, as well as time in the long run.
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Read More About Laundry:
Laundry Basics, From Sorting to Drying
Laundry Sorting - Make it a Family Affair
Laundry Room Accessories
7 Ways to Save Energy With a Topload Washer
Read About Laundry Appliances
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