separate your laundry

A simple guide to separating laundry

When it comes to washing, many of us just look at our laundry basket (if the clothes even made it that far) with just one filter in mind: items for a colour wash and items for a non-colour wash. Some of us might not even go that far and put the fate of our clothes in the hands of divine protection from discolourment (or, for the less spiritual, a colour catcher).

However, the problem with this approach is that we’re running the risk of reducing the life expectancy of some of our favourite clothes. To make your clothes go further, you need to start being a bit more discerning when it comes to what pieces of clothing you put in a wash together. Are you shoving delicates in with everyday wear? Washing unravelling wool jumpers alongside bras and their jagged, flailing straps?

Well, not to worry. At Repair Aid, we’re washing machine experts and we’re here to give you a simple, basic ‘how to’ guide for properly separating your laundry.

Gently does it

The clue about properly washing delicate clothes is really in the name. You’ll want to separate out these flimsier garments into a wash with their fellow softies to ensure a heavenly clean that doesn’t leave these prized properties ripped or stretched. The likes of wool, lace, silk and cashmere are examples of delicate materials that need to be run in a specific ‘delicate’ wash cycle.

For particularly delicate pieces – particularly those with dainty sequin or embroidery – you may want to put them into a mesh bag to stop them from rubbing against the drum. If you don’t do this, don’t be surprised if your other, rougher clothes have a bad effect on your delicates over time.

Soiled and not soiled

heavily soiled clothes

One way to keep your clothes fresher for longer is to wash heavily soiled items in a separate wash from non-soiled garments. This is because these stained items have a chance of transferring that stain to other clothes. A way around this is to try and treat the stain before putting it into the washing machine.

You can use a stain remover to try and get as much of it off your clothes as you can. Make sure to follow the instructions and then let the soiled clothes soak for up to a day in a sink or a plastic basin. When that’s done, stick them into the washing machine on a cycle at a slightly higher temperature.

Get the colours right

colour catcher sheets

One of the big mistakes that is still often made by those who aren’t often responsible for washing the household load is mixing together lighter and darker colour. Dark clothes can easily ‘bleed’ onto lighter clothes if the dye runs. This creates a risk that some or all of the white and light coloured clothes will come out looking like some sort of horrible matching pyjama set that you got as a present.

If you have a problem keeping track of this, just add a ‘colour catcher’ to the mix. These sheets catch any dye that runs and stops it from transferring onto the lighter clothes. As an extra tip, it’s worth putting this sheet into a mesh bag so that it doesn’t get stuck in amongst your clothes. Colour catchers can get quite soggy and stained so the bag keeps it from possibly staining your clothes too.

Nevertheless, you may also want to run an occasional white cycle anyway as, unlike other colours, white gets easily stained and can do with getting a run through with a special laundry whitener to get them looking fresher again.

Separate laundry baskets

Separate laundry baskets

Our last tip is really just some advice that encapsulates all of the above: get separate laundry baskets for different items. Or, better yet, get a sorter. This allows you to stick loads of different clothes into different compartments. You could have a pile for darker clothes, a pile for lighter clothes and a pile for delicates.

While this may only save you a very short amount of time when it comes to doing a wash, this time adds up with each wash you do. Even if you’re just saving a minute or so every time, that could be anywhere from 3 to 6 hours over the course of a year. Again, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but in a world where there is so much competition for our time, that’s the equivalent of getting to watch a couple of good movies a year!

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