Color code warm- and cold-wash items so kids can sort the laundry themselves

Sharpie laundry markerANYTHING that simplifies laundry (and gives kids a shot at more responsibility) is boss. From Cheryl:

When my children were little, I used a permanent marker to color code the back-neck labels in their clothes. If a garment was cold wash, I placed a blue mark on the label. If it was warm wash, I placed a red mark. The kids could sort the laundry into cold and warm piles in a hurry even if they couldn't read. They got lots of practice with getting the laundry washed while they were still at home, and I really appreciated their help.

Related: How to streamline laundry when your baby starts eating solid foods? Talk amongst yourselves.

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  1. jessica says

    That is a fantastic idea! My kids are too little, but i will DEFINITELY be doing that once they’re old enough to help with the laundry. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Ryan says

    So, I’m sure I’m going to get some flack for this but…I just wash everything cold, and for the most part I don’t sort anything. I do sort out delicates, nasty dish towels, and new clothes into their colors (but after a few washes they get same treatment).

    Why? I’m a full-time single dad, with a full-time job and two toddlers and I honestly cannot tell the difference between the way I do it now and the way my ex-wife used to do it spending time sorting things. *shrug*

    Plus it keeps the energy bill lower by not having to heat the extra water.

  3. Bev Stephenson says

    I also wash everything on cold. I do sort lights and darks, but that’s not very hard even for little kids.

  4. says

    I do everything in cold, too, but separate lights and darks (er, most of the time). But my definitions of “light” and “dark” might not match my kid’s, so I can see this hack being useful. I’m just daunted by the task of marking the tag on every single item of clothing we own! And what about socks, and tagless underwear?

  5. says


    I’ll use it for light/dark sorting.

    The earlier laundry hack about hanging all the shirts rather than folding has proved excellent!

  6. chs says

    Washing it all in cold avoids this issue entirely… and saves energy/money/environment too! (For lights and darks, we have two separate bins that we sort into when we take things off; the kids’ stuff all gets washed together, but they don’t have many lights to begin with–for good reason, since they are stain-mongers.)