What Color Clothes Can You Wash Together? (And Amazing Tips)

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The demand for laundry knowledge manifests well in the number of emails I receive from people seeking to learn proper laundry techniques—these range from college students, career men, and women to even stay-at-home moms.

Surprisingly, proper laundry technique unawareness cuts across all social groups. From this, we can pick that the current generation missed out on this crucial stage of laundry learning lessons for one reason or another.

Why Can’t You Wash Completely Different Colors Together?

There is some science in laundry characteristics, as is evident in how certain color dyes react to detergents and bleach.

There are two categories of dyes—reactive dyes and non-reactive dyes. Reactive dyes are usually rendered unstable by the presence of bleach-containing detergents in the laundry water.

Therefore, the safest laundry procedure remains to group your pieces of clothes by color, then launder them in the order of whites, brights, and dulls respectfully.

This order should apply whether or not one group is significantly smaller than another. Those few pieces count too. However, there is an alternative way for those conscious of the consumption rates of resources; you can let the small same-color laundry accumulate to a bigger heap for a more substantive load.

The sorting does not end at color grouping. The next step involves identifying the fabric type of each piece of laundry. Different fabric types require different water temperatures.

For example, some fabric types are too delicate to withstand high water temperatures. Others, such as denim, are made of significantly tough fabric, on whose low water temperatures may have little effect.

Now, you have diligently gone through the various stages of sorting. You have adjusted your machine accordingly, ready to make your first load. Not so fast, though. It would help if you studied the level of dirt on each piece to avoid redepositing stains as the machine navigates the fabric. Clothes with extreme dirt require pre-treatment for flawless results.

What Color Clothes Can You Wash Together?

The first step to the proper laundry washing procedure is to separate clothes by color. Pick and group pastels first, followed by the brighter hues, i.e., the yellows and oranges, and finally the duller ones. Cleaning should take the same order.

However, do not trust your brights to behave well in water if you handle them for the first time. You will have to take the longer route of washing each piece separately until you are confident that they are not oozing out the dye.

As mentioned, it is always safer, to begin with, the whites, followed by brights, then the dark loads. However, if you are familiar with their reaction to water and detergents, you may combine whites with different colors of brights for a shorter wash cycle. For new colored clothes, make sure to turn them inside-out before loading them for a cold wash.

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In the procedure, pre-treat detergents such as Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid come in handy. However, this stage is subject to the amount of dirt on particular pieces of clothes. Therefore, you may skip this stage if the dirt on your clothes is mild.

Everyone has some of those favorite clothes that you would do anything to prevent from fading and wearing out. Respectfully, Tide Plus Coldwater Clean Liquid and Downy Fabric Conditioner would be good picks for laundry brightening and fabric protection. Finally, whatever you do, DO NOT overload. Big loads tend to deter the efficiency of the wash cycle.

Grouping Your Clothes Into 3 Categories

Each time you’re doing your laundry, make sure that you sort your clothes at least in any of these piles—white clothing, light-colored clothing, and dark-colored clothing. Let’s go through each of these piles and know how to go about each of them, shall we?

1. White Clothing

There are higher chances that you’ll color your white clothes if you choose to mix them with other clothes. For example, even if you mix a green piece of cloth with your white vest, there are possibilities that your white vest will turn green.

Another reason for separating your white clothes when washing is to quickly soak white clothes in hot water and eliminate the stains. For colored clothes, you’ll just have to remove the stain using cold water.

2. Light-Colored Clothing

Light-colored clothes can be grouped and washed together as there are no chances that the colors will transfer during the washing period. Just to give you a brief idea of what light colors are, below are some of the colors you should consider light when grouping your clothes for laundry:

  • Yellow
  • Beige
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Cream
  • Pink
  • Maroon
  • Light-brown
  • Light-green
  • Light-blue, among others

3. Dark-Colored Clothing

Like light-colored clothes, dark-colored clothes should be washed in cold water and grouped during the washing process. Additionally, these groups of clothes can be mixed without transferring their colors onto other clothes. Below are some colors considered dark:

  • Indigo
  • Navy blue
  • Rust
  • Black
  • Dark-green
  • Olive
  • Purple
  • Grey of all shades
  • Dark-red
  • Dark-brown, among others

Can You Wash Grey With White?

The shorter the laundry process, the more enjoyable the cleaning! Typically, most people would want to believe that they can overlook the whites’ grey and get away with it. But cleaning facts state that grey is still a color shade. So, rightfully, any new colored clothes, however mild, should be subjected to a bleachability test before loading them alongside whites.

The testing process involves using bleach on the grey fabric on different occasions and watching out for the extent of color change. A highly noticeable bleach is a definite bad sign.

For a very dark shade of grey, it is advisable to avoid altogether mixing it with whites. If particular clothes come in a matching set, always ensure you clean them together.

The trick is to ensure that any slight change on one piece of the set is identical to the other.

Laundry disasters are preventable where proper procedures are observed.

Other Amazing Sorting Techniques and Tips

You do not need to break a bank to keep a sharp look. However, good grooming has a lot to do with proper laundry care. Below are practical tips on how to achieve good laundry results:

1. Washing White Clothes

White fabrics are typically sensitive to dirt and other loose dyes. A slight blunder in your laundry sorting, and you risk losing the brightness of your white for good. To lower the risk of staining your whites, ensure you separate them from colored clothes.

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Also, the level of dirt on your white fabric should be a factor to consider. Filthy clothes will usually leave your whites with a dingy appearance.

Once you finally toss your first load of white, ensure your detergent dispenser contains a blend of oxygen bleach, washing soda, a booster, or some borax. The aim of using all these chemicals is to enhance the brightness of your whites.

2. Washing Dark or Black Clothes

It is easy to overlook the effect of black dye on other dark colors. However, depending on the type of fabric your dark-colored laundry is, it may sustain stains from a reactive black dye on a black piece of cloth.

Therefore, it is only logical to minimize the size of your black-colored load, or better still, avoid mixing the hues altogether. If you have handled that particular black cloth before, you are better prepared for the likely results.

Blacks often lose their appeal as soon as they fade. However, there are simple precautions to protect your black laundry from fading. The first one involves minimizing friction during the wash cycle. -turning your clothes inside-out before loading them and fastening zippers or buttons, if any.

The second one involves your choice of detergent, the length of the wash cycle, and the water temperatures. Black sits well with detergents with a short wash cycle, cool water temperatures, and zero boosters or bleach. Finally, do not let your blacks laundry linger on the drier for too long.

3. Turn Clothes Inside Out

The process of washing and drying laundry can sometimes be unkind to your clothes. Ensure you turn your laundry Inside-Out before loading it into the laundry machine so that any possible friction will not affect the right side of your fabric.

In case you opt for sun drying, maintain the inside-out turn to further protect your laundry from fading and pilling caused by the harsh rays of the sun.       

4. Stop Stuffing the Washer

Machines, too, have their limits. An overstuffed washing machine is an overworked machine, thus limited efficiency. The strain directly affects your laundry in several ways; you risk exposing your laundry to wear and tear, strained water distribution leaves your clothes poorly rinsed, and the drying process subsequently delays.

You can avoid all that damage by simply exercising a little more patience by doing lighter loads.

5. Don’t Overdry

Many of us want to justify the investment in a washing machine. Therefore, the thought of going through another manual procedure of hanging wet clothes on a hanging lineman be pretty discouraging.

However, if you allow your washing machine to launder and dry your clothes to completion, you risk ruining your brights and darks to extreme heat and friction. Laundry is best drawn from the drier when a little dump. Then proceed to hang it on an outdoor hanging line. 

6. Know Your Water

Water is not just water! Some water contains minerals that are not cohesive with certain types of detergents. Iron is one of them. Depending on your type of detergent, a high concentration of iron in water may cause a chemical reaction that further leads to permanent stains on the fabric.

How can you tell that your water is iron concentrated? If you have been noticing reddish stains on your bathroom fittings, that’s an alarming sign. Not to worry, though.

The market has provided numerous iron-removing products for this purpose. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to treat your iron-contaminated water before you use it for laundering.

Also, Chlorine Bleach with water containing high levels of iron is a bad idea. Chlorine Bleach reacts with iron and hot water to produce a very stubborn yellow stain.

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The next type of water that is known to hinder efficient cleaning processes is hard water. Softeners are some of the most effective methods for fighting the water hardening minerals after white pristine.

7. Treat Stains

It is never a nice feeling to dispose of sentimental clothing because of a mere stain. But some are too conspicuous to hide. Colored stains, especially food stains, are some of such.

Fortunately, there is a solution to it! The cleaning industry provides many Food Stain Removers, the most common being Liquid Oxygen Bleach. Liquid Oxygen Bleach is most effective when used undiluted.

Pre-treats on fabric with greasy stains before machine laundering is one of the surest ways of getting great laundry results. Thankfully, some of the most effective stain removers are readily available products, including dishwashing liquid, liquid detergent, colorless shampoo, etc.

For effective results, use a soft-bristled brush to apply and rub the mentioned stain removers on the stained area. Remember to go slow on the fabric, lest it fades or tears out.

For dingy whites, a monthly white bleaching routine is very crucial. Depending on your white fabric, using boiling water and Oxygen Bleach has proven to yield great results!

Other Laundry Tips

The labels stitched along the back part of your tops’ neckline or your pant’s waistline bear an essential piece of information. The instructions under which you should handle that particular piece of cloth while laundering it lie there. What mainly informs these instructions is the type of fabric your cloth is. Therefore, it is vital to observe the tips indicated before you proceed to clean.

Using too much detergent does not guarantee effective cleaning. The excess detergent will both ruin your clothes and your cleaning budget. How, then, can you tell what amount of detergent is appropriate for your laundry?

Fortunately, some detergent companies such as Whirlpool Corporation have derived a genius way of minimizing wastage and residual damage. Their Swash Laundry Detergent comes with a dispenser measure cap.

Lastly, it is essential to note that certain fabrics such as towels and bed linen require special attention while laundering because of the nature of their usage.

To ensure proper hygiene, wash them separately from the rest of your laundry in disinfected water.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Wash All Colored Clothes Together?

That approach is not advisable. If you wash all colored clothes together, you are setting yourself up for a laundry disaster. The least you can do is to sort clothes by color and load by brights to darks, order.

2. What Laundry Can You Wash Together?

With the right washing products, you can quickly get away with combining a careful color selection of laundry. Such colors include white and a mild grey for brights and black, brown, and grey for darks. For such scenarios, make sure to use cold water to be on the safe side.

3. Can Red and Blue Be Washed Together?

For a massive heap of dirty laundry with a wide variety of colors, you can group the laundry in groups of closely related hues. Make sure to use cold water to lower the risk of dye transfer.

Final Thoughts

Laundering is an easy exercise, and the secret to achieving satisfactory results lies in the art of navigating colors, fabric type, your type of cleaning products, water type and temperatures, stain type, and amount of dirt on your fabric. With a consistent routine and results, laundering will be your next hobby. Happy cleaning!

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things in her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.