Laundry Debate: Should You Sort Laundry Before Washing?

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laundry room with basket and soap on washer and dryer

To sort or not to sort?

Whether you like to do laundry or not, you can’t avoid washing it! We’ve talked before about washing whites without bleach, which made me curious. Do you sort your laundry? Should you? I’m weighing the pros and cons of sorting clothes plus some laundry products we love!

Pros and cons of sorting your laundry.

hand holding black clothing over laundry sorter


  • You don’t have to worry about colors being ruined.
  • Clothes will last longer.
    • Washing garments with like colors preserves the color.
    • Materials are less likely to pill as quickly.
    • Washing in proper water temperatures and spin cycles preserves various materials.
  • Creating more balanced wash loads is better for clothes and your washing machine.


  • Takes longer to sort.
  • You’ll have multiple folding sessions as opposed to doing it all at once.

Pros and cons of not sorting your laundry.

laundry basket with various colors of clothing inside


  • Saves time when you have fewer clothes to wash.
  • Cheaper and more eco-friendly if you’re washing less frequently.
    • Uses less water.
    • Uses less electricity.
    • Uses fewer detergents and softeners.


  • Colors can bleed onto other clothing.
    • Especially new items that haven’t been washed yet.
    • Darker dyes from garments can bleed.
  • Whites become dull or discolored more quickly.
  • You’ll have to put it all away and fold at once.

Here are my thoughts on sorting laundry:

I tend to invest in most of my clothing since I consider myself a minimalist and enjoy a capsule wardrobe. I really love the pieces that I own, so I like to take the best care of them, which means sorting, washing in temperatures that are recommended, and drying as needed. I even started dedicated days to ironing so I will actually wear the pieces in my closet.

Additionally, white is one of my favorite colors to wear, so between the five of us, there are normally enough white clothes to make a load of wash all on their own. Overall, laundry isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but over the years, I’ve found that taking proper care of my clothing has allowed me to keep it longer and love them even more.

Related: Here are other ways I live like a minimalist.

Here’s how the rest of the Hip2Save team feels about sorting their laundry:

✅ Sorting  vs. 👎 Throwing it all in

“I definitely separate my laundry, however, the rest of my family doesn’t. Luckily though, I do the majority of the laundry in the house, so my darks and whites aren’t being washed together. LOL!” – Jenna

“I separate any items that are new, so the colors don’t run on the first wash. I like to wash whites separately so that I can bleach them a bit to whiten them more and freshen them up. Everything else will get washed in cold water.” – Amber

“Laundry is not my favorite thing in the world, but I do separate the whites and super light items. The rest of the darks get thrown in together.” – Lina

“Yes! I separate darks, brights, lights, and whites since I wash them all with different heat settings and detergent amounts. Plus, I do a separate wash for my leggings and other activewear—having those in the same load as my jeans have led to faster material breakdown and pilling in the past.” – Emily

“I’m a laundry sorter all the way! I do three piles – whites, colors, and super darks like black and navy blue. I just throw the reds in with the super darks where they can’t hurt anything if the colors run.” – Jenna R.

✅ Throwing it all in vs. 👎 Sorting

“I will admit there are times when I am running so behind on laundry, I just pick up whatever I can get and throw it in! I really only separate an item if it’s new; otherwise, I wash each family member’s clothes as they come. This way seems to save me time.” – Jessica 

“Nope – I don’t sort our laundry! I feel like it adds more wash loads to my day, and laundry is a total chore to me. Plus, it’s eco-friendly. At least that’s what I tell myself vs. being ‘lazy’. 😉 – Alyssa

“Wishful thinking on the laundry sorting. LOL! I would, but nope, not for me! About once a month, I’m forced to bleach all of the whites because my son has to wear white polos on Tuesday for school and it never fails that it’s the day they give them Cheetos for a snack. HAH! That’s the extent of my sorting.”  – Alana

“Omg! I’m so bad about sorting my laundry! I just throw it all in there, and if it gets folded on the same day that’s a huge win in my book!” – Tiffany

“I NEVER sort! With 5 people in my house, I do at least 1 load of laundry per day and if I sorted, that would result in 2 loads per day which would mean more time and energy wasted. I honestly always discourage my kids from buying anything white, as I do know that many of their white items ended up looking more gray in color after being washed with darker colors.” – Bryn

The verdict? Sorting colors – 5 vs. Throwing it all in – 5

It’s pretty clear that our team is totally torn on this one! Half of us prefers to sort our clothes, while the other half prefers to get it done fast and throw it all in!

Regardless of your sorting stance, here are laundry products we love:

1. Team favorite laundry detergent.

stripe laundry basket with clothes and persil

Buy it at Walmart

Many of us used to be Tide lovers, but read why we now love Persil!

2. Stacy’s favorite laundry sorter.

gray three basket laundry sorter

Buy it on Amazon

“I love this laundry sorter! We had hampers in our hall, and they were taking up so much of the walking space. This thing is compact enough to slide next to our dryer, and each bag holds more than a load of wash!” – Stacy

3. Sara’s favorite stain remover.

shout bottles of stain remover in laundry room

Buy it on Amazon

I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it has been the most successful stain remover I’ve ever used! I rely on this stain remover to get out all of life’s messes, set-in stains, and even tough stains from sports.

woman holding laundry basket with towel inside

Style your place and save on space with Collin’s favorite collapsible laundry basket.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 90

  1. mel1313

    Only things I wash separately are towels and sheets. I use cheaper detergent on there items. No real benefits to sorting in my opinion. Most affordable clothing these days is low quality anyway. I’d rather save my sanity.

    • Mary

      Me too, for fun I put the sheets on the laundry line

  2. Guiliani

    I definitely sort everything. I am not a super organized person either but it just seems wrong to me not to sort laundry before washing.

  3. Jai

    I have a set laundry day and do about 7 loads for a family of 4. My dh wears white dress shirts often. I sort all white stuff the rest doesn’t get sorted. Some people find this weird, but I sort out laundry by the person that way when I take out that load from the dryer it all goes to the same place vs having to fold and make stacks per person.

  4. Tracey

    I sorta sort my assortment of laundry. I will not snort, but will support, those who purport to never sort.
    In short, I always sort
    ’cause I like to sport
    a nice clean skort.

  5. Heather

    I just have 2 categories. 1. Clean 2. Dirty. That’s how we sort here. Love, Mother of the year!!

  6. BJ

    Always sort, lights, darks, delicates, and linens but I’m single with no kids so I usually do 3-5 loads of laundry every two weeks.

  7. Amyarlene

    While we’re on the laundry topic, I have a question for you all….My daughter has dresses for example that have pink skirts and white top or my son has shirts with a colorful print but the shirt itself is white——White or colors!?l I’m always worried I’m choosing the wrong load! Just curious 😁

  8. Alice

    I used to separate the dark, light and whites. Now, I wash them in the same load with a color catch sheet.

  9. Cheri

    I don’t have the time nor patience to sort. I throw a couple of Shout Color Catcher sheets in every load. If they come out fairly clear I throw them in again until they turn dark. They are the worlds greatest invention for non sorters.

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