How to Sort and Wash Your Laundry The Right Way

7 min read
How to Sort and Wash Your Laundry The Right Way

For the new housewife, husband or student just leaving home, learning how to sort and wash your laundry correctly is a skill that will keep your clothing, linen and towels in good condition for a very long time. Your washing pile should be sorted in the following.

People sort and wash their clothing in a number of ways. In fact, people do so many things with their clothes that I’m not sure what other ways there are. But we know washing your laundry is important. In this article, I’ll tell you how to wash your clothes in the proper way, not just what your mom did or what they said your grandma did. So, if you don’t know how to wash your clothes, this may be one of the most important things you ever read.

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bigstock Background Of Colorful Towels 65138590 e1506306022946 | Stay at Home

Ways to wash your laundry

Some say washing your clothes only once every two to three months isn’t sufficient. To which I say, you are obviously lying. As you know, dirty clothes don’t just belong in the basement until the wash cycle is done. Washing them properly takes a little more effort on your part. I’ll try to give you some simple tips that will make washing clothes the right way a little bit easier.

1. Towels & Tea Towels

Towels should always be washed on their own as they tend to lose fluff and will ruin your other items of clothing if all washed together.  Tea towels tend to be very grubby from work in the kitchen and can contain food particles, so it is important that any excess food is ‘scraped’ off the tea towel before popping in with your other towels.

If you have bought brand new towels, wash them separately first with a 1/2 cup of salt to ensure they keep their colour and don’t stain your other towels.  Using a cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener will keep them from going stiff when hung out in the sun.  As nice and fluffy as towels seem in the dryer, they take a very very long time to dry.

Always try and hang white towels in direct sun and coloured towels in the shade. To prevent towels from going stiff remove them from the line as soon as they are dry.


If your tea towels are still looking a bit ‘Meh’ after washing – boil them up!  Yep just like in the good old days.  And if they still are stained and yukky – it is time to pop them in the bin!

2. Whites

White clothing should always be kept separate from coloured clothing to prevent your whites from going grey and dull.  Wash in cold water on a long cycle with a cup of white vinegar.  Always hang your whites out of the sun to prevent yellowing and take off the line as soon as they are dry.

Any white jeans or towels should be washed separately.

How to Sort and Wash Laundry | Stay at Home Mum

However, if you are in a hurry, you can wash white clothing with white sheets to save time.

3.  Delicates and Lingerie

Delicate fabrics, hosiery, bras, undies and any lingerie should ideally be hand washed.  To hand-wash, fill a tub with lukewarm water and use a gentle soap to wash any obvious grotty spots.  Rinse well with fresh cold clean water and hang to dry.

If you don’t have time to do a hand wash – place your bras and very delicate fabrics into a wash bag or pillowcase.  Wash with a gentle soap such as Lux flakes and on the delicate cycle.  To try, either hang in a shady place or lay them flat on a fresh and clean towel in the shape they are worn.

HINT:  Wash underwire bras in the shower at night.  When having your shower, rinse the bra under the warm water and use a gentle soap (like Dove) to wash the underwire and the strap that goes under your arm.  Hang wet over the top of the shower door.

bigstock Man Doing Laundry Reaching Ins 78353783 | Stay at Home

4. Woollens

Woollens are a tricky item to wash as they tend to lose their shape easily and can shrink if washed on the incorrect setting. Always wash your woollens in cold water with a wool wash.  We have a great recipe on how to make wool wash at home if you don’t have any.

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Woollens need to be washed on the ‘woollens’ setting if your machine has one, or delicate if it does not.  As soon as your machine is finished, remove your woollens and lay them out flat on a clean dry towel in an airy place out of direct sunlight to dry.  Allowing them to dry this way ensures they keep their shape.

5.  Colours

Most of your day-to-day washing will be coloured clothing. Look over the clothing first to check for any obvious stains (especially if you are washing children’s clothing) and give a good spray with stain remover just before placing it into the machine.  If you have an insane amount of washing, you can sort them further into reds, blacks etc.

Ten Uses For Old Sheets | Stay at Home Mum

Check the washing instructions on any new items of clothing you haven’t washed before and wash on a normal setting with warm water.  Hang out of direct sunlight if you can or remove them from the sun as soon as they are dry to prevent fading etc.

6. Sheets, Beddings

The bedding should be washed weekly in hot to very hot water.  Hot water ensures you kill off any dust mites that will have accumulated in the bedding over the week.  You should also wash your bedding if your family have been wormed or if headlice has been treated.  Don’t forget to include your pillowcase.

Latex pillows can be machine washed when required.  Try to only wash them twice yearly and hang them in direct sunlight until totally dry.

Thalia Thuiszorg was vouwen | Stay at Home

Doonas, blankets and valences should also be washed twice yearly or as required.  Wash as per the woollens instructions above.

7. Jeans, Heavy Duty Clothing, Workwear

Jeans should always be washed inside out to keep the colour from fading. Always wash jeans separately to your colours and whites as they do tend to bleed colour and can be very rough on other clothing.  Workwear should be washed with your jeans – spray any stains with a good stain remover first.  Wash in cold water on a normal cycle.

If the workwear has grease staining, wash them separate from the jeans.  To remove grease, add a tiny dollop of washing-up liquid to the grease mark.  Use a bit of warm water to make it ‘lather up a little before washing as usual.  The washing-up liquid will dissolve the grease in the wash.

Hang jeans and workwear out of direct sunlight.  Peg your jeans at the foot end to prevent obvious ‘peg marks’ along the waistline.

Any tips and tricks you can add?

How to Sort and Wash Your Laundry

Jody Allen
About Author

Jody Allen

Jody Allen is the founder of Stay at Home Mum. Jody is a five-time published author with Penguin Random House and is the current Suzuki Queensland Amb...Read Moreassador. Read Less

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