How to Sort Laundry: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Sort Laundry: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Sort Laundry: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Laundry is one of the necessities of life. Clean clothes allow you to feel comfortable, maintain a clean appearance and maintain the quality of your clothes. However, many people don't realize that there is a safer and more effective way to wash clothes than simply throwing them in the washing machine. One of the best ways you can handle your laundry is to sort it before you put it in the washing machine. This way, you can protect your clothes from damage and wash them more efficiently. You can create categories and streamline the grouping of clothes to allow you to sort clothes easily.


Part 1 of 2: Creating Laundry Categories

Sort Laundry Step 1
Sort Laundry Step 1

Step 1. Check each garment

If you're dealing with a huge pile of clothes, it might be a good idea to go through each item as you sort it. This step gives you the opportunity to avoid making mistakes like mixing red socks with white clothes and paying attention to the washing instructions for certain clothes.

  • Read the washing instructions carefully for any clothes that are being washed for the first time. Double check when sorting clothes to make sure you haven't forgotten the washing instructions and that you can wash them with other clothes.
  • Consider double-checking any sorted clothes when you put them in the washing machine to prevent mistakes.
Sort Laundry Step 2
Sort Laundry Step 2

Step 2. Sort clothes by color

The first category you can apply to sorting clothes is color. This will prevent white or brightly colored clothes from fading in other colors.

  • Separate clothes into piles of white, light colors, and dark colors. The white pile can be dedicated to socks, underwear, sweatshirts and other rough white cotton garments. Stacks of bright colors can be reserved for clothes in pink, lavender, light blue, light green, and yellow. Dark color piles can be filled with gray, black, navy, red, and purple outfits.
  • Consider separating the denim into separate piles. You can wash the denim separately or mix it with a pile of dark colors.
Sort Laundry Step 3
Sort Laundry Step 3

Step 3. Do sorting according to material

You may have clothes of different materials and textures. After sorting clothes by color, you can separate clothes made of fine textiles so that there are no lint deposits that stick to clothes with certain materials. In addition, this separation will make the drying process faster and more evenly distributed.

  • Separate delicates in piles by color. This includes fine fabrics, including lingerie, pantyhose, washable silk and all clothes that are at risk of damage if mixed with rough materials in the washing machine.
  • Separate clothes that tend to “cause lint deposits” and those that tend to “attract dirt deposits”. For example, avoid washing towels with clothes made of corduroy.
  • Consider separating clothes made from synthetic fibers and natural fibers to avoid transferring lint deposits from one garment to another.
  • Separate thin and thick clothing. It's best not to mix thick cotton pants with light T-shirts. Thick fabrics can damage delicate fabrics when they rub against each other in the washing machine.
Sort Laundry Step 4
Sort Laundry Step 4

Step 4. Separate heavily soiled clothes

If some clothes are very dirty or stained, consider separating them in separate piles. You may need to treat the stain first before washing it or wash it on a special cycle that is too harsh for other clothes. In addition, this method prevents dirt or stains from transferring to clothes that are not too dirty.

Treat stains and dirt with a stain remover before putting the clothes in the washing machine. This will prevent stains or dirt from transferring or contaminating other clothes

Sort Laundry Step 5
Sort Laundry Step 5

Step 5. Create subcategories

If you really want to wash clothes and other items in the most effective way, consider creating subcategories and washing them separately. For example, you can separate items such as towels and sheets, which are usually thicker than clothes, or separate light-colored baby clothes. By creating subcategories, you can protect your clothes and other items from damage during washing.

Part 2 of 2: Streamline Laundry Grouping

Sort Laundry Step 6
Sort Laundry Step 6

Step 1. Create a sorting strategy

As troublesome as it may sound, sorting clothes shouldn't have to be like that. Think of sorting clothes as part of your laundry routine. You can sort them when you put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket or do it before you throw them in the washing machine, depending on your washing habits.

Sort dirty clothes as you put them in the laundry basket if you wash several times each week. If you only wash once or twice per week or only wash for one person, it may be easier and more efficient to sort them before putting your laundry in the washing machine

Sort Laundry Step 7
Sort Laundry Step 7

Step 2. Purchase a laundry sorter

If you do laundry several times a week or want to wash a wide variety of clothes easily, purchase a laundry sorter at your local home supply store. This tool will speed up and simplify the sorting and washing process.

  • Before buying a laundry sorter, determine the exact number of categories for your laundry. For example, you might need a three-compartment laundry sorter for white, light, and dark clothes.
  • Purchase a laundry sorter or laundry basket with separate compartments at your local home supply store. Purchase a laundry sorter with as many compartments as you need. Most stores provide a variety of laundry sorters with two to six or seven compartments.
Sort Laundry Step 8
Sort Laundry Step 8

Step 3. Make your own laundry sorter

If you don't want to spend money on a laundry sorter or laundry basket with separate compartments, you can work around this using items you have at home. Homemade laundry sorters are just as effective as those you buy at the store and just as easy for you to do laundry.

  • Use items around your house, such as boxes, shopping bags, or baskets, as laundry baskets. Provide one container for each type of laundry to be washed separately.
  • Purchase a separate laundry basket at your local home supply store. You can put them in the laundry room with their respective labels. Or, you can buy laundry baskets in three different colors: one white, one bright, and one dark. You can also buy a special basket for clothes that need to be washed "immediately". With this system, each family member and you will know exactly which clothes to put in each basket.
  • Consider setting up one laundry basket for each family member in the room. Although they don't sort dirty clothes by color, material, or level of soiling, they can streamline the sorting process. To make it easier for you to sort your laundry, provide a basket with a different color for each person.
Sort Laundry Step 9
Sort Laundry Step 9

Step 4. Use a special lingerie pouch

If you wash delicate items or socks in the washing machine, purchase a lingerie bag to separate the underwear and/or socks for each member of the family. This way, you can protect delicate clothing and prevent socks from being lost or mixed up.

  • Use separate pockets to separate socks and delicates as these items are often of different colors and thicknesses.
  • You can use a pillowcase that has a zipper to place delicate items and socks if you don't want to buy a lingerie bag.
  • Use safety pins to hold pairs of socks together as you sort them.
  • Buy a lingerie bag made of mesh material. Tie the net bag tightly so that the items inside do not come out during the washing process. You can buy this kind of pouch at a home supply store, such as Ace Hardware, or at the grocery store.
Sort Laundry Step 10
Sort Laundry Step 10

Step 5. If possible, wash several types of piles at once

If you must wash several types of laundry in small quantities immediately, consider washing them all at once. Washing several types of non-damaging clothes together can make the job easier while saving electricity, water and detergent.

  • Check both types of laundry and make sure they don't damage each other. For example, don't wash delicate items with jeans. However, it doesn't matter if you want to wash your jeans and dark towels together as they are both thick.
  • Separate clothes that are made of different materials or require a different washing process. For example, if you are washing jeans and other items that are dark in color, separate a t-shirt or other brightly colored item from the mixture.


  • You can wash more efficiently by separating items like bath towels, napkins, and sheets. For example, washing towels separately can prevent the transfer of lint deposits to other clothes.
  • If you need to combine different types of clothes to fill the washing machine, it is recommended to use the gentlest wash cycle to wash the combined types of clothes.
  • Remember to empty all bags before sorting the laundry so you don't accidentally wash items left in the bag. If you forget, they may break or cause damage to the washing machine.


  • To prevent damage in the process of washing clothes, remember to close zips, hook buttons, and hooks.
  • Keep in mind that some types of fabric, such as polyester, can easily absorb dirt from other clothes. Do not wash polyester fabrics with heavily soiled clothing and read the washing instructions on the label.
  • Be aware that dyed fabrics will naturally fade after multiple washes and the dye can stain other clothes.

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