The age-old laundry question, one that has been debated for years, is it really necessary to separate your lights and darks? The reason there is such an ongoing debate is that there is no clear-cut right and wrong, or light and dark answer, it is more complicated than that. It may seem ridiculous, it’s just laundry, but it is true!

More Than Just Clothes

One of the main reasons this question is so complicated is because clothes themselves are so complicated. Clothing isn’t all the same and different articles of clothing are made up of different materials and fabric, each material requires a different washing cycle. Washing machines have different washes cycles for a reason!

Of course, clothes are all sorts of different colors, so it is generally recommended to separate clothing by color, especially light and dark clothing. Dye in darker colored clothing can seep into lighter colored clothing during the washing process and light clothing can turn into off-shade colors and be ruined. New clothes tend to leak their dye more than older clothing because the dye is still new and fresh, so if you are washing a new dark blue shirt for the first time, it may not be in your best interest to throw it in the laundry with a bunch of whites. On the flip side, when washing only whites, you can add bleach or white vinegar into the wash to give the whites a brighter look.

How to save money from laundry

There are many upsides and advantages to separating clothes by fabric and color, mostly to avoid shrinking and unwanted coloration. It is not necessary though, which is why the classic argument remains. If you are in a rush or only have a few clothes left to wash, you can mix colors and fabrics. Just be sure to wash the clothes using cool water, and do not include a new colored article of clothing in that wash or your whites may be a different shade after the wash.

To reiterate, washing your light and dark clothes separately is not a necessity, but it is highly recommended, especially to preserve the color and integrity of your clothing. Contact Automatic Laundry with any laundry questions or tips!


Automatic Laundry specializes in community laundry rooms for apartments, condos, colleges, universities, and laundromats. Our mobile laundry app allows you to add value to your smart laundry card as well as view the real-time usage of machines in laundry rooms.