No, under-40s haven't given up on separating their laundry

Jamie BallardData Journalist
August 25, 2021, 2:20 PM UTC

A viral tweet from earlier this month suggested that people under 40 don’t separate their laundry into whites and colors — presenting the latest generational debate between older and younger Americans.  

A YouGov poll of more than 12,000 US adults finds that half of those under 40 (48%) separate their laundry into whites and colors/darks. Two in five (41%) do not.

Those aged 40 and older are indeed more likely than younger Americans to separate their laundry into whites and colors/darks. Two-thirds of those 40 and older (67%) separate their laundry by color. About one-quarter (27%) do not.

Majorities of Baby Boomers (72%), born between 1946 and 1964, and Gen X’ers (63%), born 1965 – 1981, separate their laundry into whites and darks/colors. Among Millennials – born between 1982 and 1999 – 48% separate their laundry while 42% do not. Among adult members of Gen Z (the generation starting with those born in 2000), 46% separate their laundry while 35% do not.  

One in twenty Americans (5%) – including 11% of Generation Z – says they don’t do their own laundry.

Additional data finds that women (61%) are slightly more likely than men (56%) to say they do separate their laundry according to color.  

So, should you be separating your laundry? According to several experts the Washington Post spoke to, probably. According to Patric Richardson, host of Discovery Plus’s “The Laundry Guy,” separating your whites from your darks and colors can help extend the life of your clothing and keep it looking nice rather than dingy.  

See the results from this YouGov poll

Methodology: 12,342 US adults were surveyed August 9 – 15, 2021. There were 3,820 adults under 40 and 8,522 adults aged 40 and older surveyed. The responding samples are weighted to be representative of the US population.  

Image: Pexels