To sort, or not to sort, that is the question

Dear Home-Ec 101,
I’m a guy so I’m sure this sounds like a dumb question. I don’t do separate loads of whites and colors because my laundry consists of whites for underwear and work out clothes. It seems such a waste to use that much water for so few whites.

Yea, I’d like the whites to be bright but I’ve used a couple of these color-safe bleaches and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Thus, I heard by adding hydrogen peroxide to your laundry – colors and whites together – will help.

Any insights????
Joe Bachelor

do I have to separate the laundry

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

There are no dumb questions, just dumb guys. Just kidding, it makes me absolutely giddy when guys come and ask us questions. It hopefully means the site isn’t so deadly dull and preachy that even people that don’t dig housework come and read anyway.

I don’t sort my laundry by color, I sort it by type of fabric. I use Shout Color Catcher. The thing that makes whites dingy when you wash them with colors is the dye from the colors running slightly. The Shout Color Catcher catches those dyes so the whites don’t pick up any color.

As far as brightening whites, I like OxiClean. It works with both colors and whites, so if you’re not sorting by color, you’re cool.

Many washing machines have a setting for smaller loads, so if you really would like to wash your whites separately, you can without worrying about wasting water. Even so, it is a big waste of time if you ask me.

Here’s my laundry sorting technique: Jeans, towels, permanent press, everything else. Jeans go by themselves because they’re usually pretty funky, and because they are a heavier weight than the rest of the clothing. I think it saves wear and tear on everything else if you wash jeans by themselves. Towels go by themselves because using fabric softener on them reduces absorbency. I use fabric softener on everything else, though- I dig how it makes everything smell. Permanent press clothes go by themselves because it is imperative that they are hung up right away to save ironing. The everything else part is self-explanatory.

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Not everyone will agree with my laundry sorting technique- as a matter of fact, if my mom’s out there reading the site, she’ll have a heart attack because she taught me to sort by colors, but I just think that makes you have to do more loads, and I’m all about saving time.

Home-Ec’ers, what is your laundry sorting technique? We’d love to hear about it!

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



8 Comments

  1. Geneva on May 6, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Please please please help me oh laundry goddesses!

    I washed a new pair of suit trousers – they were a nice olive greeny colour with creme pinstripes – with some tshirts, and now they no longer match the jacket! One of the darker shirts must’ve leaked its colour all over my pretty new suit!

    Is there any home remedy that will get rid of the colour run?

    Many thanks in advance!



  2. OMGit'sLaundry! on May 5, 2007 at 9:17 am

    See that’s the thing..now that I”m OMGAGROWNUP *haha!* I actually have a few nonutilitarian fancyschmancy bras. The utalitarian bras I don’t worry so much about because a)I don’t care if they get fuxed up and 2) they are cheap so they can be easily replaced. It’s the fancyschmancy one’s I’m worried about. I paid good money for those suckas and I want them to last as long as possible.



  3. Badbadivy on May 4, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    OMGit’sLaundry: I never, ever dry my bras. On the occasions they have been accidentally put into the dryer, they almost always have been ruined. 🙁



  4. OMGit'sLaundry! on May 4, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    I seperate mine by color (whites, bluejeans and other dark blue things, blacks/browns and towels) and then just toss ’em in. I’m not big on using speical stuff just to do laundry either..plain ol’ detergent w/bleach is fine by me.

    Also..a side question in relation to the laundry question: Does the elastic in bras/panties last longer if you wash and then air dry as opposed to washing/throwing in the dryer?



  5. Liz on May 4, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t sort mine, except for special things like whites or delicate fabrics(neither of which I have many of).

    I’m really a “get it over with” kind of launderer, I want it as easy and fast as can be.



  6. ann on May 4, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Do not use fabric softer on whites.
    It well make them yellow and dull faster.
    Just use the hottest water for whites and detergent.



  7. Summer on May 4, 2007 at 8:25 am

    I sort basically by color and type (jeans, towels, etc. too), but my husband throws requests in that sometimes makes it tough. For example…

    He doesn’t want kitchen towels washed with the towels that we use to dry the dogs after baths (they have their own towels). He also doesn’t want our cloth dinner napkins washed with underwear, even though they would all fall under into the dark load.

    Luckily, I was able to talk him into a high-efficiency washer that determines the amount of water to use by the weight of the load, no matter how small…



  8. Blogarita on May 4, 2007 at 6:11 am

    I sort it into whites, light colors and dark colors. I use only cold water and I usually use homemade detergent. I use bleach in the white load.

    My biggest problem is that our whites are only socks, dish cloths, kitchen towels and the occasional pair of underwear. We have a front-load washing machine, so it takes forever to make a full load of whites.