The Case for Sorting
There are a few key reasons why sorting clothing can add longevity to items you love. First, brand new brightly-colored clothing has the potential to bleed, so many sorting devotees insist on the practice to preserve their whites. And if you plan on using bleach to keep those whites even brighter, saving colored fabrics for a separate load reduces the risk of fading or spotting.
The Case Against
For many, the extra step of sorting by color only adds time to an already tedious process. Particularly when the clothes that need washing have made it through previous laundry cycles, the chance of bleeding is fairly slim. Unless you plan to use bleach or other stain removal agents, modern washing machines are better equipped to keep the integrity of your clothing in tact, and it's no longer considered necessity to separate whites from colors. If you're a throw-it-all-in devotee, wash with cold water for that added level of precaution.
Combo Clothing: Where Does It Go?
A red and white-striped tee. A white blouse with bright blue polka dots. A purple shirt with a white collar. Where should these items go for sorters? This piece of the controversy has the most elusive answer, but generally, combo clothing should go in with your color load rather than your whites. Again, cold water creates more of a safety net for the items with bits of white. Some individuals even opt for a dye-trapping agent so mixing has no jeopardy!