How to sort laundry, stop pilling & control lint

July 27, 2015

Doing laundry isn't always easy. Here's a few tips on how to sort your laundry, and ways to avoid pilling and lint.

How to sort laundry, stop pilling & control lint

Whites from colours, darks from lights

  • Before you begin, always sort your clothes. Keep a few baskets or bins near the laundry area to make sorting easier.
  • Separate whites from colours, and light colours from bright or dark colours, to prevent colours from bleeding into each other.
  • White cotton, bed linens and underwear benefit from warmer water and vigorous washing.
  • Heavier fabrics and dark colours need cooler water and a short wash time to prevent shrinking or fading.
  • Permanent-press items of similar weights should be washed together, but in smaller loads to minimize wrinkling.
  • Sort according to the sturdiness of your clothes to keep delicate items and jeans in separate loads.
  • Soil can transfer from one garment to another, so wash dirty clothes in one load and lightly soiled clothes in another.

Easy prewash inspections

  • As you sort your clothes, inspect each item carefully. Check pockets for non-washable items like crayons, lipsticks or pens that can stain clothing permanently.
  • Watch for sharp objects like nail files or pins, which can rip or tear clothes. Take out lapel pins, as well as any ornaments or trim that might not wash well.
  • Shake out loose dirt and brush off lint.
  • Remove shoulder pads and loose belts where possible, and close any zippers or hooks that might catch.
  • Tie drawstrings together to save you threading them through the casing later.
  • Mend ripped seams, frayed edges or pulled threads before washing.
  • Pre-treating stains helps avoid a second washing.

Avoiding pilling

  • Pilling is most common on loosely knit clothes and man-made fabrics like polyester.
  • To cut down on pilling, turn clothes inside out before washing and load washer loosely to cut down on fabrics rubbing against each other.
  • Use fabric softener and a shorter wash time, and wash fabrics that pill easily separate from those that give off lint.
  • To remove pills, use a razor, electric shaver, medium sandpaper or a shaver-like tool designed for this purpose.

Avoiding lint

  • Lint is nothing more than small fibres of fabric that have broken off during normal wear or laundering.
  • Some fabrics, like terry cloth and chenille, give off lint easily, so wash them separately from fabrics like corduroy or polyester, which tend to pick up lint.
  • Try not to overload the washer. This causes clothes to rub against each other.
  • Use the right amount of detergent, which helps suspend lint during the wash cycle.
  • Fabric softener or a dryer sheet reduces static cling and helps stop manufactured fibres from attracting lint.

Laundry can be a lot more complicated than it seems, but with the right systems and info, you can keep your clothes looking brand new. Even better, you could stop annoying lint and pilling from ruining your favourite clothes.

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