The question of mixing whites and colors together is as old as doing laundry. Many people get concerned whether failing to sort laundry by color during the washing and drying stages has bad outcomes or not.
Generally, whites and colors can be mixed in the washing and drying machines but it is not a recommended laundry practice.
Can you wash whites and colors together in the washing machine?
The question of washing whites and colors together is subject to many factors.
Firstly, if you are washing new clothes, it is not even an option. A majority of new colored clothes release excess dyes. The rate at which this occurs depends on factors such as fabric, detergent and the water temperature in the washing machine.
Harsh detergents increase the rate at which clothes release color. The same case applies when you wash new colored garments in hot water.
Some new colored clothes especially those made of synthetic fibers do not fade even under hot water and harsh detergent.
In general, washing new colored clothes for a couple of times separately is recommended if you intend to eventually wash them in the same load with whites.
Secondly, if washing clothes with hot water settings, sorting laundry is a good idea. Hot water increases the likelihood of fading for colors (whether new or old).
The rate at which they fade may be minimal and invisible to the eyes. However, you will begin to notice your whites loosing their brightness as time goes by.
Washing clothes without sorting can also cause lint problems. The last thing you want is to see colored lint balls on your whites and vise versa. Unless the clothes have served you long enough to care less how they look anymore.
Whites are best washed with whites-only detergent. In most cases, surfactants that are specifically meant for whites contain bleach. Therefore, they cannot be used with colored clothes. Washing whites with regular detergents makes them lose their sparkle over time.
Overall, mixing laundry in the washer is time and energy efficient. However, as you can see, it is a costly decision in the long run. Unless you are mixing old clothes that you wear when running errands at home, it is best to separate whites and colors before throwing them in the washer.
Can you dry whites and colors together?
You might be thinking that since drying does not involve water and detergents, it is safe to dry whites and colors together.
However, it is important to remember that the clothes are still wet. If you have a colored garment that is releasing color, it will taint other clothes in the load. Another critical point to note is that the problem of lint can still persist in the dryer.
Overall, a good practice is determining whether your colored garments release colors first. You can later know which ones to put together with whites in the tumble dryer. This helps prevent your nice whites from becoming dingily. It also prevents some bright garments from passing color to other colored clothes.