Figuring out how to do your laundry isn’t rocket science. However, not everyone knows how to wash their clothes quickly and efficiently without damaging the fabric. Use these simple tips to improve the quality of your washer loads:
1. Prepare your clothes to avoid damage
It’s highly recommended to remove anything that can cut up your fabric such as pins and accessories. Zip up all of the zippers, but leave the buttons undone as they can tear while tumbling in your machine. Hooks, buckles, and other attachments should be secured. It’s not common, but they can potentially get caught onto something in your machine and tear off. Tie any drawstrings together so they don’t get tangled.
2. Cover as much surface area as possible
Make sure that there’s nothing in your pockets before flipping them inside out. Separate all your clothes from each other to give them room to tumble around. Long sleeved shirts should have be unrolled sleeves and socks should be straightened out.
3. Remove stains to your best ability before washing
Not every stain will be cleared by a simple wash. In fact, it may actually be counterproductive, causing the stain to set. Carefully scrape up any solids and use a clean wet rag or paper towel to blot the stain. Scrubbing at the stain may spread it between the fibers, also causing it to set. If the stain isn’t completely removed after one wash, try another load before throwing it in the dryer. The heat contributes to setting the stain as well.
4. Refer to this chart to translate the washing label on your clothes
5. Wash clothes at the correct temperature for their color and material
If you want your whites to stay… white, you’re going to want to wash them separately and in hot water. You can wash heavily soiled colored fabrics and permanent-press fabrics in warm water. A standard colored load that’s only slightly soiled should be washed in cold water.
6. Wash clothes at the correct setting for your load size
Your clothes will wash faster and more efficiently with the proper size setting selected. If less than 25% of the washer is full, use the small setting. For a washer between 25%-50% full, select medium. Anything over 50%, choose large.
7. Use a different routine for baby clothes
A baby’s delicate skin should be covered with delicate fabrics. For baby clothes, use a very mild soap so it doesn’t end up irritating the skin. Mild soaps likely won’t cut through heavy stains like your traditional detergent, so take extra time to clear stains on baby clothes before throwing them in the wash. Don’t use standard fabric softener or any detergent that has unnecessary chemicals added to it.
8. Utilize salt
Adding a teaspoon or two of salt to your wash can significantly help prevent color bleeding. The occasional salt wash can brighten most colored fabrics. If you accidentally heavily stain your clothes, sprinkling some salt on it immediately can prevent setting by absorbing the stain before it sinks deeply into the fibers. After a minute or two, carefully wipe off the salt and dab with a cold wet rag until the stain is gone.
9. Know when to hand wash
Many fabrics are too delicate to survive a trip through the washing machine. Silk, wool, and linen are among the fibers that can generally be hand-washed. Use your best judgement and dry clean your clothes if they are particularly frail.
10. Wash towels differently
Your towels should be washed independently to avoid your clothes losing brightness or absorbing the scent of a damp towel. It’s best to wash bath towels twice a week to maintain freshness. You can wash your towels with regular detergent, but avoid using fabric softener as it can actually stiffen your towels from the build up of repeated use.