How to Sort Your Laundry
Even if you plan on washing everything in cold water, you still want to separate your whites from your darks to keep your whites from getting dingy.
Your white load: Fill it with white tees, tops, underwear, and socks. If this load is small, you can add white sheets or white towels to make a load. Sheets and towels are best rid of germs in hot water, which is also fine for these whites. However, if you prefer to do your white clothes in warm water, then keep the two loads separate. These are also the clothes that you may want to brighten with bleach. Keep detergent with bleach on hand just for these loads. For a natural, no-chemical whitener, try oxygen bleach. And keep in mind that bleach works best on white cotton. Tops that are a blend of cotton and, say, polyester or Lycra, could turn gray if exposed to bleach.
Your dark load: Colored tees and tops, exercise bras, yoga pants, colored underwear, and socks. Basically any clothes that aren’t white can go here. Got a new dark item of clothing? Wash it separately first. Make sure you turn pants and tops inside out before washing to reduce color loss.
Your jeans or other dark groupings: If you have a lot of jeans, make them their own load. That way they won’t bleed out on any of your other darks. Plus, since you’re likely air-drying them, you won’t accidentally toss them into the dryer with your other darks. Likewise, if your family tends to have tons of pink or tons of red clothing, make these a separate load for peace of mind.
As you sort, attack stains: Quickly examine each piece of clothing for stains and spray with a spotting product. With today’s spotting products, you don’t need to worry about letting a remover soak into your clothes before washing. In fact, don’t make the mistake of spraying a stained item too far in advance, such as when you take it off and toss into the laundry basket. Leaving such a heavy-duty product to set into your clothing could cause color loss, and stain removers actually need to get moist to work instead of drying out on your stained top, so to effectively get a stain out of a garment, treat with remover and wash the item as soon as possible.