How to sort your laundry before the wash for the best results

How to sort your laundry before the wash for the best results

We know how frustrating it is when you pull your whites out of the machine only to find a stray red sock had sneaked in with them and turned everything pink. Follow our simple tips and say goodbye to laundry accidents forever. Follow our simple tips and say goodbye to laundry accidents forever.

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How accidents happen

Here’s how the most common accidents happen:

  • Reactive dyes: These dyes aren’t always stable when they come into contact with detergents that contain bleach, so may leak out onto other items in the wash. Detergents containing oxygen bleach also cause colours to fade.

  • Bleed from direct dyes: Sometimes dyes can bleed out of one particular garment into the wash – even in cold/lukewarm water.

Sorting clothes for laundry

It may be easy to throw a load of mixed laundry in the machine, but if you don’t want everything to turn an odd shade of pink or grey, follow our simple tips.

Sorting by color


Whites, light colours, and colours. If you only have a small amount of one group don’t be tempted to put it in with another – save it up for a full load. It’s very important to wash your lights and darks separately, as darker dyes can ruin lighter fabrics. Sort your greys, blacks, navies, reds, dark purples and similar colours into one load, and your pinks, lavenders, light blues, lights greens and yellows into another laundry. For dazzling whites, use a detergent containing bleach, such as Ariel Matic Front Load for front load washing machines and Ariel Matic Top Load for top load fully automatic washing machines. For colours, use a detergent without bleach, such as Ariel Colour or the Ariel Matic Liquid. Ariel Colour was designed for semi-automatic washing machines, while Ariel Matic Liquid is recommended for fully automatic washing machines.

Sorting by fabric type


Once you have sorted your laundry by colour, it’s time to sort them by fabric type: cotton and linen, synthetics and synthetic blends, and delicates. Never wash your delicates (items such as lingerie, pantyhose and washable silk), cottons and denims together, as they all require different water temperatures. You should also wash your towels separately, since they not only require a higher temperature, but they can also create a lot of lint.

Sorting by dirt type


Assigning clothes to separate piles based on their level of dirtiness is another wise strategy to follow if you want the best results. Heavily soiled items usually need to be pre-treated and need more agitation from the machine to be properly cleaned. Go through your heavily soiled clothes with a stain remover before loading them into your washing machine to prevent the redepositing of stains.

Best practices

If you want to make sure that your laundry comes out of the washing machine in absolute top shape, follow these simple but useful guidelines!

  • Use a partitioned laundry basket – it’ll save you time sorting it all out later. In case someone places something in the wrong section, check labels for the manufacturer’s washing recommendations.

  • If in doubt, test an item for colourfastness by applying warm water to an inconspicuous part (for instance, the inside of a hem), then press with a warm iron between two pieces of cloth. If any colour leaks, it’s not colourfast.

  • To care for your clothes properly, always follow the care labels on your clothing. Each label should tell you what the fabric is made from, and includes up to five symbols that let you know how to care for it.

  • To increase the longevity of your clothes, make sure that you wash them inside out, this helps prevent the colours from fading and the fabric from pilling.