What Colors Can You Wash In The Washer Together?

Are you fed up with your whites turning gray and your colored clothes running, becoming faded and dull?

What Colors Can You Wash In The Washer Together?

Maybe you have started doing your own washing and aren’t sure how to properly separate the clothes? Or are you looking for some new washing tips?

No matter what the reason is that brought you here today, we have the answer for you!

Figuring out what colors you can wash in the washer together can be tricky.

There are so many different colors and combinations out there that working out what pile your clothes should be sorted into can easily leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed.

Plus it doesn’t help that there are so many different opinions online about it, you can find yourself unsure where to turn or who to trust.

Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers for you. Just keep reading to find out how to sort and wash your clothes based on their color.

With our help you will no longer be disappointed when your white shirt turns gray, nor will you worry about your black denim jeans wreaking havoc in your washer!

Let’s dive straight in and learn how to sort, wash, and dry our clothes today!

Why Is It Important To Separate Colors?

Before we dive into today’s article, let’s take a step back to answer this question! It is important to separate your colors when washing your clothes to prevent transference.

If you wash dark colored jeans and a white shirt, the dark tones can transfer onto the white shirt, leaving you with a gray shirt and faded jeans!

If you haven’t had this happen to you, you are sure to have seen it in movies and sitcoms!

There is always one character that leaves a pair of red socks or a shirt in the washer and all of their white shirts, dresses, and towels are turned pink!

While this isn’t a disaster if you like pink, it does leave you without any white clothes, and who wants that?

It’s not only white clothing this can happen to either. Any light-colored clothing can suffer this fate, whether they are pale blue or yellow, it will now be pink!

So we must separate our light, dark, and white colored clothing before we put the washer on, to protect the colors that we love!

What Colors Can You Wash In The Washer Together

Sorting Your Clothes By Color

We touched on it briefly earlier, but let’s dive in now and look at how you can sort your clothes by color!

The following guide is very broad and doesn’t focus on the weight of your clothes, the fabrics, or any additional washing instructions the clothing recommends.

Be sure to always read the label on your clothing, especially if it is a delicate fabric like silk or lace. The last thing you want to do is damage your clothing!

If there are direct instructions about washing the clothes, follow them. If not all of your clothes have similar fabric, you can use our guide below.

Essentially, we will make at least three piles from our laundry, which we can divide into:

  • Dark colored clothing
  • Light colored clothing
  • White clothing

Let’s move on to look at each pile in closer detail now!

Dark Clothing

Dark clothing comes in a wide variety of colors. If you have any clothing in the following colors, you can consider their dark clothing and place them in your dark clothing pile.

  • Black
  • Crimson
  • Dark brown
  • Dark green
  • Dark red
  • Gray
  • Indigo
  • Navy blue
  • Olive
  • Purple
  • Rust

Black, brown, and gray colored clothing can be safely washed with other dark colors. They aren’t very likely to transfer color to one another, especially if you are using a cooler or cold wash.

Light Clothing

For light-colored clothing, we are mainly considering pastel or bright shades. These colors will be a lot lighter than the previous dark list we included and can consist of the following.

  • Beige
  • Cream
  • Fuchsia
  • Khaki
  • Lavender
  • Light blue
  • Light brown
  • Light green
  • Maroon (depending on how deep the color is)
  • Pink
  • Ochre
  • Orange

Now, some of these colors could transfer during a wash, but if you wash your light colors at the same time, there is virtually no chance of them transferring their color to one another!

White Clothing

Finally, we have white clothing. Your white clothing and laundry are most likely to receive color from other items during a wash, even if it’s a small piece of clothing like underwear, it can end up absorbing the color!

So keep all your white clothing in one pile and wash them together. If these whites are stained, then it is best to wash your white laundry on a hot wash, or hotter than your other cycles.

The heat from the water helps to break through the stain and lift it from the clothing.

We see a similar thing when we remove stains from colored clothing, but we can do so on a cooler wash.

This is just another reason why you should keep your white, light, and dark-colored clothing separate when you wash them!

Extra Cloth Sorting Options

If you have a lot of clothing or want to sort them even further, we have some extra options for you!

These consider more tricky fabrics and multicolored clothing items, so be sure to keep reading to learn even more about washing your clothes!


Denim is coarse, thicker, and more durable than other clothing materials, including cotton and wool.

It is because of this that people often wash denim separately, but there isn’t a need to. It won’t protect your denim, but it can protect your other clothing.

For example, if you have a black denim jacket, it is always worth washing this separately.

Not only will it give the jacket more room in the machine to spin and be properly cleaned, but the color can’t transfer from the jacket to any other clothing!

Denim clothing is well known for color transferring, especially dark and black denim, so wash it separately if you want to keep the color strong and protect your other clothing.


Delicate clothing like lingerie, pantyhose, silk items, or thin underwear should not be placed in your washer with other clothing items.

These delicate items should be washed separately on a delicate setting on your washer, or hand washed.

By keeping your delicates separate you protect them not only from color transference but friction from coarser materials that can damage the delicate fabric. Keep your delicates safe and wash them separately.

A delicate wash setting on a washer tends to be pretty quick too, so it won’t take you too long to wash your delicates.

Black Laundry

You should wash all your black clothing together to prevent transference to other washing. You can also use this time to return the shine and brilliance to your black clothing.

Whether they have faded or are looking a little dull, this allows you to make your black clothing black again without needing to worry about other colored clothing in the washer.

Tough Stains

If you have a tough stain on any of your clothing, a simple wash in your washer might not cut it.

Not only could you not remove the stain, but the color of the stain could transfer to other items in your washer, ruining more of your clothes in one go!

The fabric of each clothing item can be different and have a different washing process that you need to follow.

So when you have a stained item, check the label to see what the fabric is. You can then search for this fabric online to see the best way to remove stains from it.

This can involve cool wash settings, adding a small amount of bleach to the wash, or hand washing the item in your sink.

Whatever the method is, make sure you follow it to remove the stain before you wash your clothing item with other clothing.

Mixed Colored Items

If you have multicolored or striped clothing it can be tricky to know which pile to sort it into.

After all, you don’t want to ruin your white and blue striped top, but neither do you want to turn all your white towels blue! So what can you do?

A good rule of thumb to follow is if the clothing item has more non-white color than white, it can be washed with non-whites, whether it is light or dark depending on the other colors on the item.

If the clothing has more white on it than any other color, it can be washed with your white laundry.

If you have striped shirts, suits, or other striped options, then you can use some of the following options too.

  • Hand wash the item
  • Wash the item in cold water in your washer with other colored items
  • Have the item professionally cleaned at a dry cleaner or laundromat
What Colors Can You Wash In The Washer Together

How Else Could I Sort My Washing?

Before we wrap up today, we have a few more points you should consider when sorting your washing. Check them out now to see if there is any other way you should be sorting your laundry!

By The Type Of Wash

This can be time-consuming to do, but you can sort your washing by wash type. This involves looking at each item of clothing’s tag to see how you should wash them.

You can save yourself some theme as there are three types of clothes based on wash type.

  • Hand wash only – these items must be washed by hand
  • Regular machine-washed clothes – these can be placed in your washer as normal
  • Dry clean only – these must be taken to your nearest dry cleaner for a professional clean to prevent damage

By Size And Weight

You can also sort your clothing by size and weight. Heavy clothing can damage light clothing when you wash it together, so make a separate pile for your heavy and bulky items to be washed together (the same goes for sheets and towels).

Doing so can save you time too, as these heavier items will wash and dry at the same time, usually taking longer than your thin and light clothing items.

By Fabric

Different fabrics can react with each other in the washer. Fabrics like wool and latex don’t go together, and cotton doesn’t wash well with other natural fabrics.

You can sort your clothes out by separating them into different piles based on their material. You can find out what material is used by checking the clothing tag on each item.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a complete guide to separating and washing your laundry!

Be sure to separate your washing based on its color, weight, and if it is stained or not and you are sure to protect your clothing from any damage or colors transferring!

Shauna Stone