To separate or not separate whites, darks in laundry loads

Bleeding colors giving you the blues? These tips should squelch any washer woes.
Monday, July 28, 2008 | 1:41 p.m. CDT; updated 3:13 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 28, 2008

It's one of those major milestones in life. You graduated from high school, moved away from home, and now it is time to learn how to do your own laundry.

If you were not one of the lucky few to receive a lesson in the intricacies of wardrobe care, then this guide is for you.

Sort your whites, lights and darks. Mixing whites and colors can cause bleeding.

Next, check pockets for any miscellaneous objects, such as change, lip gloss, pens, etc. Some items may burst in the dryer and stain your clothes.

Also, make sure to pre-treat stains with a stain remover. These unsightly blemishes can set into clothes while in the dryer.

Then, pour the designated amount of detergent into the washing machine. America's domestic goddess, Martha Stewart, recommends following the directions on the laundry detergent bottle or box for the appropriate amount.

"Too much detergent won't rinse out, too little won't clean well," according to

Now it is time to begin the washing cycle.

The age-old advice is to wash colors and darks with cold water to prevent bleeding and shrinking, and to wash white items with warm water to maintain their whiteness.

However, considering current environmental awareness, washing your pink polos and pricey designer jeans with cold water is becoming as fashionable as the clothes themselves.

Proceed by placing your clothes into the washing machine, but be careful not to stuff it too full, warns Sharon Sampson, an attendant at Splasher's Laundry & Tanning in Columbia.

Placing too much in a washing machine does not leave enough room for clothes to get adequately cleaned.

Remove wet laundry and place in the dryer when the washing cycle is complete.

A helpful tip is to air dry any delicate articles of clothing to avoid unnecessary wear and tear in the dryer.

For added freshness, place a dryer sheet in the dryer along with your clothes.

Choose an appropriate heat setting; a low temperature is best for delicates, medium is sufficient for most everything else, and high is OK for cotton.

Sampson cautions against using too high a temperature because clothes can shrink.

Once your clothes are dry, immediately hang shirts and pants that you do not want to wrinkle, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy your work.


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