Home & Garden Personal Safety & Security

Can You Dry Whites & Colors in the Laundry?


    • Washing a colored item with white items can lead to an inadvertent dye job for the whole load of laundry. A red sweatshirt can turn a load of white sheets or dress shirts pink. This is the reason for separating laundry by color before doing the wash. Whites and colors have different temperature and cycle requirements, too. Cotton whites stay whiter when washed in hot water, which also helps to kill germs on sheets and towels, according to New Mexico State University Extension. Colored clothing retains color better at cold water temperatures. When it comes to putting your laundry in the dryer, the risk of color transfer still exists.


    • Generally, it's safe to dry light-colored items and whites together. For example, dry white and pastel sheets and towels in the same load. Throwing light-colored shirts, blouses or sweat suits in with white sheets will also work fine.

      Separate black, dark and bright-colored items, especially any that are fairly new. Jeans, dark towels and other items with dark dye may shed dye for numerous washings. Washing dark and bright items inside-out helps to preserve their colors, according to Drexel University.


    • Textured items can transfer lint and those little fuzzballs known as pilling. If you wash velour with terrycloth you'll get lint transfer. If you're washing items you're only going to wear around the house, you may not be concerned about lint. Otherwise, it's worth taking the time to sort the laundry by texture and keep compatible fabrics together. Dry white and light towels together, separate from dark towels to avoid getting light lint and pilling on dark towels and vice versa.


    • If a colored garment isn't colorfast, the color could bleed when you put the wet clothes in the drier. Colorfast means the dye has set and won't run. Dab cold water on the inside of a hem and blot with a light colored rag to test for colorfastness. Wash and dry dark and bright items on their own for the first few washings.

      Save energy when you do small wash loads by washing colorfast light items with your whites.

      Turn textured, lint-attracting garments such as corduroy inside out before you dry them.

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