Laundry Basics: Sorting Your Clothes for Washing Guide
Doing the laundry may not be at the top of your favourite things to do, but it is an essential household task. While it’s a chore that a lot of us do on a daily or weekly basis without much thought, the process of how we do our laundry can have a lot of influence on the overall lifespan and vibrancy of our clothes. Choosing the right laundry detergent and washing methods will help you to avoid any mishaps or damage to delicate materials.
Why we need to sort our laundry
While it may seem easier to just throw everything into the washing machine without sorting, doing so can lead to damaged or improperly washed laundry. You most likely have grown up hearing the words “make sure to separate the whites!”, and there’s good logic behind it. Sorting clothes allows for a better performing wash cycle and it also reduces the risk of colour bleed. So, the first step to sorting your clothes for washing is by sorting by colour and material type. Basic laundry categories can be sorted into the following:
- Whites: Any white socks, underwear, shirts or items in varying shades of white such as cream and ivory should all be washed together to ensure the brightest clean. Mixing whites with coloured items, particularly darks, may lead to colour bleeding or discolouration.
- Darks: Dark colours include deeper shades such as purple, red, navy, and black. Washing darks together will prevent colour fading and also stop the colours from bleeding into lighter clothing.
- Lights: Pastel-hued colours such as pink, lavender, yellow, and green should be kept together as there is little to no pigment to transfer.
- Denim: Heavy types of denim, particularly darker blues and blacks should always be kept together to ensure a more even wash load and avoid any discolouration or bleeding.
- Delicates: Delicate items include undergarments, hosiery, socks, and fragile materials such as silk or materials with sequins or lace. To ensure the safety of your delicate items, consider using a wash bag or hand washing.
Colour is not the only consideration when sorting your clothes. The weight of fabrics & materials should also be considered. Washing heavy clothes or bed sheets with delicate fabrics such as undergarments may result in the ripping or tearing of those lighter garments.
If you are using a dryer, the heavier fabrics will take longer to dry than the lighter fabrics. This is where sorting your clothes makes doing laundry more time-efficient and less of a ‘chore’.
Methods for sorting & washing clothes
Follow manufacturer’s instructions
It’s important to refer to the garment care instructions on your clothes. This will help to protect your garments and ensure they’re being washed correctly, prolonging their life and vibrancy. Your washing machine is likely to have its own unique washing cycles for light and heavy loads. Select the right cycle for your load once you’ve sorted your clothes, and you’ll achieve the perfect wash.
Use cold water
Approximately 90% of the energy used to power a washing cycle is used for heating the water. Sticking to a cold wash cycle saves energy and money, and also reduces the risk of colour bleeding. Hot water opens up the fibres in clothes, releasing the dye. Using cold water keeps these fibres closed, trapping the dye and preventing any washing disasters.
Opt for natural laundry detergents
Choosing natural detergents such as a plant-based, non-toxic product like the Bio-home Laundry Detergent will keep clothes clean and protect the skin from irritation. These types of natural laundry detergents are free of harsh dyes, synthetic fragrances, and chlorine bleach often found in traditional laundry detergents.
Natural detergents are safe for all types of materials and can be used in a top or front-loading washing machine with no fabric softener required. Using a natural detergent is also safe for the environment, producing grey water that can be irrigated.
Pay special attention to baby’s clothes
Baby’s clothes often require extra attention. Spills, stains, and leaks can make garments harder to clean, but you need a detergent that’s also gentle enough for your baby’s delicate skin.
Using a Delicate Laundry Detergent formulated for sensitive skin is a must, especially when washing baby clothes. A delicate detergent is PH-neutral, protecting and nourishing dry or sensitive skin.
Use the right amount of detergent
Knowing how much laundry detergent to use will ensure a better wash. Many of us have made the mistake of thinking that more product will lead to cleaner clothes, but this isn’t the case. In reality, the more detergent added the harder it is to rinse out, which may lead to residue on clothes and in the machine.
The detergent left over on clothes can cause irritation when exposed to the skin. Always pay attention to the label on your detergent bottle and follow instructions. Generally, one capful for a full wash load is enough. Although there are a couple of factors that can change the amount of detergent you use, including:
- The amount of water you’re using
- The harshness of the water in your area
- Whether you are hand-washing or machine washing
- Heavily soiled clothes
For clothes that are stained or heavily soiled, you want to separate into their own wash cycle. Apply a natural pre-wash stain remover, such as vinegar or baking soda, to the soiled area before adding to the washing machine with your chosen detergent.
Why choose Bio-home for your laundry products
More people are choosing products that are safe for the environment and their families. Bio-home’s Laundry Detergent Regular and Laundry Detergent Delicate are 100% plant-based and contain no harmful chemicals.
Despite being plant-based, our detergents work just as well – and sometimes better than – traditional chemical-based detergents. By using a non-toxic laundry detergent, you can feel safe knowing that you are choosing the best for your home and for the environment.