Do you separate your laundry by color? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I am minimalizing our clothes, towels and linens quite drastically and won't have the multiple laundry loads every day or two anymore. I currently separate my laundry in the following way:

hot whites (washed in hot water): light colored socks & undies, burp clothes, towels, wash clothes, kitchen laundry, rags, etc

diapers (cold short wash w/ oxy, hot wash w/ detergent, extra rinse): cloth diapers, diaper covers, change table covers, etc

darks (cold wash): bright colors and dark colors (black, brown, bright blue, etc), including black undies, navy blue socks, etc

lights (cold wash): white & light colored clothes

reds (cold wash): pinks, reds, purples, oranges in clothes & towels

I'd love to have less sorting so that I can wash as I get a load's worth instead of having a laundry day. Also, we'll be putting our house up for sale in the next few months and I don't want partial loads of dirty laundry sitting in bins. Does anyone combine any of these colors or have any other tips? I'm considering combining lights & darks since they are all washed in cold water anyway.

Thanks in advance!!!
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#2 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:10 AM
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It depends on how much laundry there is-

right now I usually do:

dd's clothes (which I'm sure will eventually get mixed into the rest, but for now it's easier to keep hers separate)

but, if I have a whole lot of clothes I'll sometimes do light, darks, and reds. or, whites, medium, and dark.

Generally sheets get their own load, but i'm embarrassed at how infrequently they get washed

eta: i do everything except diaper on tap/cold (so, room temp wash with cold rinse). diapers i do a light wash and a heavy wash w/ extra rinse

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#3 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:15 AM
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nope, not at all. The only thing that gets separated out is diapers. Everything else gets washed whenever there is a full load on cold.

The only time I separate is if I have something new that could bleed but I only separate for a couple of washes. After that I stop. It helps that I don't buy really red clothing so usually jeans are the only issue.

If I get behind on laundry, I'll seperate by type - husbands uniforms, his clothes, towels and rags, my and kiddos clothes - since some things are needed more than others.... but this is rare now that kiddo is older and lets me do things.
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#4 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:30 AM
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Nope. I used to, but then I realized there was no point - stuff gets just as clean un-seperated as it does clean. And it means we don't need quite so many clothes as I can wash as needed and not wait for a load of jeans/darks/whites/lights/towels/whatever. I do wash diapers seperatly, but thats it - otherwise I mix all of our clotehs & towels & such together to make a load as needed.
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#5 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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I have one of those 3 bin sorters on wheels.

One is for whites (socks, underwear, undershirts, my slips, a few of the kids t-shirts).

One is for school uniforms (navy and khaki pants and red, blue, and white shirts).

The last one is for non-uniform clothes (jeans, multi-colored t-shirts, dark socks, and pretty much all of my clothes).

In the summer, when we don't use the uniforms, we end up going through far more street clothes, so I just make two loads, one lighter and one darker.

These loads each get washed once a week.

I have a tall hamper in my bathroom where we put towels from both bathrooms. We have a total of 12 bath towels, 12 hand towels, and 12 washclothes between both bathrooms, but I deliberately chose colors that couldbe washed together. If I'm lucky, I just wash towels once a week. In the summer when we sometimes shower twice daily, we may go through towels faster.

In my kitchen, I have a basket for dirty washcloths. I keep about 3 or 4 dozen beige washcloths for wiping the kitchen counters and for use as table napkins. If I run out of paper towels, I use them to clean the bathrooms, but I make sure to wash that load in hot water, and use a little extra Bac-out in that load. I try to wash rags once a week, but sometimes I only make it five days.

I only keep one set of sheets for each bed. Ds1 has red and ds2 has blue, both bright primary colors. I wash them together. My sheets are robin's egg blue, so I wash them separately to avoid bleeding. I try to wash them twice monthly.

And then there's my bras. They're pretty huge and the underwires are delicate, so I wash them separately on extra gentle/extra gentle and hang to dry.

I can't imagine how to condense my system any more than that. Each one is already a full load.

Bring back the old MDC
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#6 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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The only separating I do is diapers from the rest of the clothes.
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#7 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:42 AM
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I seperate towels and wash clothes from linens. Sweaters from shirts and jeans from pajamas. Unless I have been keeping up with the laundry! Then I wash the sweater and jeans together, the pj's and shirts with the linens. The towels and wash clothes always stay together and seperated. We do a lot of mild colors, grays, blues, greens, tans, browns, grays so there is usually no need to do color seperation. When I do it is just brights or lights. This whole "systen" will change in about a month when our little man is starts contributing to the dirties.

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#8 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 01:09 PM
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I separate by colour and temperature.

I do find that light colours get dingy if I wash them with darks.

I like to wash sheets, towels, kitchen laundry and diapers at 95 degrees.

I like to add oxyclean to light coloured loads where the clothes have food stains (basically the kids' clothing). Oxyclean works better in hotter water.

I add borax to kitchen laundry and diapers, but I don't want to add it to other things.

So I do a fair amount to sorting.

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#9 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 01:11 PM
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Nope, I used to but switched to washing everything in cold and everything gets mixed together

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#10 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 01:18 PM
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Here's how I separate my laundry:

Clothes (cold water, cold rinse.) I wash all of my, DD1, and DS' clothes together every other day, and then put them away. DD1 washes her own laundry once or twice a week. Neither of us separate out underwear or socks from other clothing. It all gets washed in cold.

Household laundry (towels, washcloths, cleaning rags, tablecloths, etc): hot water with half a scoop of non-chlorine bleach added with the detergent.

Sheets (the sheets from one or two beds fills the machine): either warm or hot, depending on my mood, sometimes with non chlorine bleach added.

Cloth pads get washed with whatever laundry needs to be washed next. I usually soak them in a bucket in the bathroom (where the washing machine is) before washing.

When I had babies in cloth diapers, the diapers got washed in a separate load. When I had a potty-learning toddler with about 1 urine-soaked diaper a day (from overnight) and all poops were in the toilet, I washed that one diaper with whatever load of laundry was next.

I don't separate out darks or reds.

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#11 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 01:42 PM
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The only thing I separate are the whites. For the rest, I wash towels and sheets together, dh clothes on his own (he smokes and I don't want to transfer the smell), ds2 and mine together because his clothes are stored in the master bedroom, and dd and ds1 clothes together.
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#12 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:17 PM
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We have a three-bin sorter:

~ whites/lights (hot or warm, depending on soil level, add a scoop of baking soda)

~ mediums (warm or cool, depending on soil level, add vinegar to rinse compartment if not all cotton items)

~ darks/brights (cool or cold, depending on soil level, add vinegar to rinse compartment if not all cotton items).

When I wash sheets, they are typically a full load by themselves and they get washed in warm or hot, depending on soil level.

When I wash bathroom towels, they are typically a full load by themselves and they get washed in warm or hot, depending on soil level.

Kitchen cloths and rags get added to whichever load works.

I find darks fade too fast if I don't separate. I also find whites/lights get dingy if I don't separate. When we travel, we tend to wear all medium colors and I wash altogether in one load as soon as a load develops (when a washer is available). Otherwise, we tend to wear very diverse colors even though our wardrobes are reasonable in size (not large numbers and not just a few items each; smaller than our IRL friends that is for sure).

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#13 of 20 Old 08-10-2010, 10:50 PM
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Yes, but once we live on an RV that will change quite a bit. I wont have time or space to deal with that. More important to me is separating delicate wash stuff. I don't usually buy those kind of clothes, but my Mom gives me clothes and they are like that. Also, I have gotten into crocheting clothes so I have a few things that need delicate as well.

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#14 of 20 Old 08-12-2010, 11:57 AM
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Only a tiny bit. My laundry loads are usually "medium light" and then "dark" but even that changes depending on what really needs to be done.

I throw cleaning rags and kitchen towels, bath towels, etc. in with the other loads: I can't wait to accumulate enough to do a full load. I just make sure to throw some borax in there.

I also wash everything on the same temperature, and then almost always line dry.

Once this baby arrives, we'll wash diapers separately.

The only time I am really careful about keep colors separate is when I have something that might bleed, but since I buy most of our clothes at second hand stores, this isn't too much of a problem. I do watch it for cloth for my sewing projects though.

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#15 of 20 Old 08-12-2010, 12:27 PM
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The only thing I separate is by clothing material.

I do not mix fleece with any other fabrics.

So I will have a loads of mixed cotton, denim and what not, and separte loads for fleece materials.
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#16 of 20 Old 08-15-2010, 12:25 AM
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I separate into a hot wash, cold wash, and diapers. Hot wash is underwear, white things that can be washed on hot, towels, sheets, and some socks. Cold is virtually everything else. I used to just wash everything in cold, but some things really do seem to get more clean in hot water.
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#17 of 20 Old 08-15-2010, 03:09 AM
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When we had diaper laundry, things were sorted like this
poopy diapers, rinsed in the sink, washed
everything else, washed

when poopy diapers were down to less than 10 a week, I tossed them in the hamper with everything else after rinsing.

Now laundry is sorted by what will make reasonable sized loads for every load.

I wash everything on cold, unless something bothers me in which case I'll put together a load of hot-safe items so the things that need the hot can be washed like that.

ETA: Once a month dh's uniforms get their own load.
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#18 of 20 Old 08-15-2010, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
I can't imagine how to condense my system any more than that. Each one is already a full load.
If it's already a full load, then I don't think you need to condense. I condensed because a big laundry day for us was two loads.
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#19 of 20 Old 08-15-2010, 03:29 AM
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Only slightly--I just do lights and darks. Generally I run the darks on cold wash and the lights on warm wash. I do all the sheets in one load. And a load of towels (along with whatever miscellaneous things need to be washed and were forgotten until then).

When DD had brand new magenta clothes, I ran them separate for the first wash or two, but we don't buy new often enough to worry about bleeding beyond the first wash or two.

And when we've just come back from a trip, like recently, when we leave our vacation spot, I repack the dirty clothes into one suitcase and the clean into another. Then I dump the dirty of all colors in the wash on a cold cycle. Means they get washed and put away much much faster!

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#20 of 20 Old 08-15-2010, 04:07 AM
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Loads as follows:
darks and reds

Everything gets washed on cold unless it really needs something different.

'Clothes' shorts/tops get hung up to dry, other stuff in the dryer.

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