Learning how to do laundry is not difficult. Today’s fabrics, detergents and machines take most of the mystery and mistakes out of the process. Follow these basic guidelines and you will have clean clothes to wear tomorrow. But, first determine if your clothes really need to be washed...it will save you time and money if you follow these guidelines for cleaning men's and women's clothes.
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Time Required: 1 hour
- Check all the care labels on your garments and linens. They will tell you whether an item can be machine washed. Place all clothes that are labeled “wash separately” or “hand wash” into separate piles. As a novice launderer, if it says “dry clean only,” believe the label and place in a bag to take to the dry cleaners.
- Start by sorting the laundry by color. Whites, pastels, light gray and white background prints will go in one pile. Deep colored clothes – black, red, navy, brown, dark gray – go in another pile.
- Sort each colored pile one more time by type of fabric. For instance, in the whites pile separate towels and sheets from apparel. In the dark colors, separate t-shirts and jeans from lighter weight items like blouses and dress shirts. Washing by fabric type allows you to use different water temperatures and keeps drying cycles simple. To reduce lint, never wash lint producing fabrics and lint attracting fabrics together!
- If there are not enough items to make up a full machine load of each type of fabric and you are in a hurry, you can wash all of each color together. Just be sure to choose the washer cycle to fit the most delicate garments in the load.
- Select an all-purpose laundry detergent and read the directions to determine how much to use. If you have stains, pre-treat them before washing by using a stain remover or a bit of the laundry detergent. Most recommend adding the detergent to the washer before loading to prevent residue on clothing.
- Unless your clothing is caked with dirt and heavily stained, washing in cold water will serve your needs and prevent most laundry disasters. Always rinse in cold water – there’s no need for a hot or warm rinse on any fabric.
- Check that all pockets are empty – even tissues and paper. Remove any accessories such as belts and jewelry. Close all zippers and buttons.
- Load items one at a time, making sure they are not in a wad. Do not cram the washer too full. The clothes need room to move about in the water. To protect fabric finishes and reduce the “washed out” look, turn knitted items, corduroy, textured fabric and sweatshirts inside out.
- Bed linens and towels need to be washed at the highest recommended temperature at least every other wash to sanitize. Learn the best methods to clean pillows, comforters and mattress pads.
- Promptly remove wet laundry from washer to lessen wrinkles and prevent mildew. Hang items to air dry or place in dryer.
- If you did not separate loads by fabric type, do it now before placing items in the dryer and dry all lightweight items together and then all heavy fabric items at the correct dryer temperature. This will prevent shrinking and protect your clothing.
- Hang or fold each piece as it comes out of the dryer to prevent wrinkling.
Specific questions? Just ask here.
- Read clothing labels
- Sort by color
- Use cold water
- Dry on lowest setting
- Hang or fold immediately after drying
What You Need:
- Washing Machine
- Laundry Detergent
- Dryer or Clothesline