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How To Separate & Sort Your Laundry Like An Expert | The Laundress

Laundry basket looking full? Set yourself up for success by knowing how to correctly separate, and sort your laundry. When you sort well, it not only prevents accidents, but also aids cleaning, preserves colors, reduces drying time, and diminishes the spread of lint and fuzz.

Gather These Tools: 

Mesh Bag Bundle, Wash & Stain Bar, All-Purpose Bleach Alternative

Check Label

Before washing any item, be sure to read its sewn-in care label. There, you?ll find its fabric content, such as ?100% cotton? or ?65% polyester, 35% cotton.?

Sorting Blended Fabrics

Our rule of thumb for washing a blend is to follow the instructions for the fabric with the highest percentage. For example, if the label indicates that a shirt contains a blend of 70% cotton and 30% polyester, follow our washing instructions for cotton.

If the item contains any amount of silk, follow the washing instructions for silk even if the silk percentage is small. The same rule applies to all woolens and cashmere. If an item contains both silk and wool, follow the washing instructions for wool.


Create Piles

Separate your laundry pile into groups:

Color Code

Then, for best results and maximum color longevity, separate each pile into three smaller piles: whites, darks, and colors. For patterned items (such as stripes, plaids, polka dots, and florals), sort based on the dominant color. If no single color is dominant, take your pick of piles. After sorting, wash each smaller pile separately.

Pretreat Stained Items

Use the Wash & Stain Bar to pretreat oil-based stains, ring-around the collar, and tricky straps and underwire.

Use the Stain Solution to pretreat protein and tannin stains such as wine, coffee, ink, grass, urine, and blood. This solution is also effective on pit stains and other old, set-in stains.

Check out our Stain Guide for step-by-step stain removal instructions!

Bag It

Protect delicates, woolens, performance fabrics, and denim by turning them inside out and placing in Mesh Washing Bags. We also like to use Mesh Bags for preventing small items (such as socks) from getting lost in the wash.


Wash each pile according to fabric type. If you are unsure of how to best clean a fabric, you may look it up in our Washing Fabrics A-Z to quickly learn the best and safest way to care for it, step by step.