Laundry Hints and Tips
Preparing to wash clothes
Always read the tags on your clothes for washing and drying instructions. If instructions state “dry clean only” do not attempt to launder them yourself; take it to a professional dry cleaner.
Remove belts from pants, unroll socks and turn your clothes right side out to check all pockets for loose change, pens, papers, tissues, gum, mobile phone etc.
Check for stains (It’s always best to treat stains as soon as possible after they happen or before washing and drying) so put aside anything that needs to be pretreated, or do it immediately, before you forget. Sometimes just rubbing a little of cold water on the stain, soaking in a bucket for a while or overnight will take it out.
Sorting the load
Following these simple sorting guidelines will help you avoid some of the most common laundry hazards and potential catastrophes. Generally it’s better to wash new clothes separately for the first wash.
Whites – Whites are separated because we want them to stay as white as possible. Make sure a red or black sock doesn’t get mixed in, unless you want pink or grey tinted whites. Most whites come out as well in cold water, as in warm or hot temperatures.
Brights – This would be colorfast pinks, oranges, yellows, light blues, greens, which can be mixed together for a full load. These types of items should also be washed on warm and the Heavy Duty setting, the longest cycle, for deeper cleaning.
Reds, Dark Blues and Blacks – It doesn’t matter how long you have owned the item of clothing; the color could bleed onto other fabrics so these dark colors need to be kept separate. These items should also be washed on warm and the Heavy Duty setting.
Towels - are better to be washed separate from clothing because of the amount of lint they produce – unless you want to wear it. If you don’t have enough towels for a complete load, they can be washed with sheets or blankets, as long as they are all colorfast. These items like towels, wash cloths, sheets and underwear, are recommended to be washed in the warmest temperature possible.
Delicates – Items that have special instructions such as hand wash, wash separately, line dry, etc. can be hand washed in a bucket or the laundry sink by adding water, a little detergent and rubbing the item with the hands. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the item in water a couple of times to make sure the detergent is out. Some of the newer washers have a hand washables setting that saves you actually having to wash certain items the old fashioned way. It is a good idea to use a mesh lingerie bag for bras and other fragile items, so that they don’t become tangled in the holes of the washer’s drum. If washed in the machine, delicates should be washed in cold water with a mild laundry detergent, at the delicate cycle setting.
Operating the machine
Once the load has been sorted (see Sorting the load above), place the clothes into the machine and add the Detergent. For Top loaders place the detergent into the tub over the clothes and for front loaders add into the pull out draw near the top. It’s best to follow the instructions on your laundry detergent and use the recommended quantity, using too much will leave a residue on your clothing and will need extra rinse cycles, using too little will not clean them properly and they will not smell fresh.
Fabric softeners makes clothing fluffier, reduces drying time, eliminates static cling, aids ironing and makes your clothes smell nice. Fabric softener should only be added during the rinse cycle and most machines have a fabric softener dispenser that automatically adds it into the rinse. For top loaders the dispenser is usually in the middle of the top of the agitator and for front loaders it’s a pull out draw near the top. Do not use too much fabric softener, as it will give your clothes a dingy appearance and result in a greasy feeling.
To help prevent wear and tear during the washing and drying phases of laundry, especially denim jeans and dark pants, turning the clothing inside out before washing and drying can reduce fading and pilling.
The operation of most washing machines is fairly similar, whether it is a top or front loader, and they generally have various buttons or knobs for different settings.
The settings usually are:-
Water Level – This allows enough water to be in the wash and rinse cycle to ensure the clothes get cleaned and rinsed properly. For a full load use the highest level, medium load use mid-Level and for a small load use the low level. Using the most appropriate water level saves water and lower’s the water usage bill.
Wash cycle – this is the type of load that is being done. Usually the settings are Heavy Duty – work clothes or very dirty items, Normal – a regular wash, Colourfast – bright colours, Delicate – Bras, lingerie or fabrics that are fine/thin and Permanent Press/Drip dry – the clothes are not spun so the weight of the water allows the clothes to dry wrinkle free. Some machines can also have a soak option included in the cycle.
Water Temperature – read the washing instructions on the clothing tag to see the recommended temperature. This will often relate to the type of wash cycle that is used.
Economy – Pressing this will ensure the machine uses the most efficient amount of water and energy to do the load.
Spin only – this is for items that have been hand washed and just need the water taken out of them for easier drying.
Once the machine has finished its best to take out the clothes and dry them straight away to prevent them from smelling musty or getting mouldy.
Line Dry – Hang your laundry to dry whenever possible – it is better for your clothes and saves you money. The sun has a natural bleaching affect on some fabrics, so if you are concerned about that, leave items turned inside out, or dry in the shade. Clothing hung outside, especially on a breezy day, smell wonderful – you just can’t beat it!
Machine Dry – Read care labels for proper drying temperatures and always clean the lint filter before drying every load for safety. Do not place too many items in the dryer – one wash load at a time. Just as the clothes need room to circulate in the washer to be cleaned completely, the clothes will need room to circulate in the dryer in order to dry properly and to avoid wrinkling, especially permanent press and synthetic fabrics.