HOW TO WASH CLOTHES
How to Wash Clothes
Clueless about washing clothes?
Many young people (including myself many years ago) were never taught how to do this basic chore. Somehow our busy lifestyle prevents us from passing on such basic information to the next generation.
Thank the Lord for the information age and the Internet!
If you need information on how to wash clothes, then look no further. The tips on this page (and the rest of the laundry tips section are here to help you.
Regular Wash Time
Part of good organizing is setting aside time for regular chores. Laundry is something that should be done weekly. Don't wait until you're down to your last pair of socks!
Many people find Saturday morning a good time to do laundry. Others (myself included) would rather do other things with my time on the weekends.
We picked Thursday night. We find we can watch TV and put a load on to wash during a commercial. It's amazing what you can accomplish instead of watching advertising!
The point is, pick a regular time to do your laundry.
How to Wash Clothes -- Where to Start
- Sort It Out If you haven't already presorted your clothing (see tips on how to do laundry and laundry room organizers, then it's time to sort them now.
At the most basic level, separate whites from colors.
Beyond the basics, wash jeans, sheets, towels separately (individual loads for each).
- Check Labels Always, always, always check the labels on your clothes. Some items are not washable. Some need to be washed with the garment turned inside out. Some are okay with chlorine bleach -- others not.
Some are dry clean only. Some can be washed, but must use the delicate cycle.
- Stay Out of Hot Water It really isn't necessary to use hot water to wash clothing. Modern detergents do well in warm and/or cold water. Use either a warm wash/cold rinse or cold wash/cold rinse setting. This not only saves your clothing, but saves energy and your money as well.
- Set Up The Washer Set the washing machine for the load you will be doing. Most washers have a small/medium/large load size. Set the temperature to warm/cold or cold/cold. Check your washing machine instructions (if you have them). Some machines want you to put in the detergent first, then the clothes. Other machines recommend clothes then detergent. Some of the fancier machines have settings for jeans and/or delicates.
- Soap? Using a gentle detergent is better for your clothes and the environment. It's really not necessary to use anything harsh. If you have stains, pre-treat the clothing at least 5 minutes before washing. Check the how to do laundry tips for treating stains. Let the water and detergent mix well prior to adding your clothing.
I recommend using a liquid detergent over a powder (mixes with the water easier -- less chance of soap residue on your clothes).
- Load It Up Time to add your clothes, but don't over-load the machine. Putting in too many items can cause damage to your clothes (soap stains, etc.) as well as damage to the machine (weight of too much water and heavy clothing puts a strain on the motor).
Break it up into 2 loads. The clothing needs to move freely through the soapy water to clean properly. This is especially true with heavy items such as jeans and towels.
Clothing with patterns/prints should be turned inside out to wash. This preserves the color and avoids fading.
- To Bleach or Not To Bleach? For your whites, adding bleach to your load helps whiten, brighten and remove stains. Some machines have a special place to add bleach which is gradually added to the clothing.
Measure out the appropriate amount of bleach (check your washing machine instructions). If your machine does not have a special compartment for bleach, add the bleach to the water/soap mixture and let it mix well with the water prior to adding your clothing.
Be careful about splashing bleach on you and the clothes you're wearing.
For clothing with color, there are color-safe bleaches that can be used, but be sure to check the label of your clothing to be sure prior to use.
- Start It Up Put in the clothes (remember one load at a time and don't mix the colors and whites) and let the machine do the work for you!!
My clothes are clean now what?
Washing your clothes is only part of the job. They need to be dried.
- Check Those Labels Again Some clothing should be air dried. Others (like sweaters) need to lay flat to dry. Always, always check the label to be sure. You don't want to shrink anything!
- How Hot Is Hot? Most dryers have a temperature setting of some kind. You really don't need the hot, hot, hot setting. The majority of clothing do better with regular heat setting that has a cool down cycle. This helps reduce wrinkles and the need for ironing.
Some have settings for how long the dryer runs. Basically the heavier the item, the longer it takes to dry the item. Jeans and towels will take longer than ladies delicates.
- How To Catch Lint Every dryer has a lint trap that needs to be cleaned out prior to using the dryer. Not cleaning the trap will cause: (1) Longer time to dry your clothes (or they don't dry at all) and/or (2) Potential fire hazard from lint in the trap catching fire due to the heat.
Always check the trap before and after every load to be on the safe side.
- Don't Over-Load Just like the washing machine, you don't want to over-load the dryer, either.
Jeans, sheets and towels can be very bulky when wet. If you did a good job sorting, you shouldn't have a problem here.
- Ready-Set-Dry You've cleaned the trap and checked your dryer settings. Load your clothes and add a fabric softener dryer sheet to the load before closing the door and starting the machine.
- What's The Buzz? The dryer buzzed. That means the load is done. Check everything first to be sure they are completely dry. Clothing can wrinkle and even mold if not dried well. Removing your clothes and folding/hanging immediately (while their nice and warm) will help prevent wrinkling.
- Hang Ups & Dressed For Success Now that your clothes are clean and dry, hang them in your closet or place them in your dresser drawer.
Good News -- Bad News
How to Wash Clothes -- The Good News
Congratulations! You've successfully completed your first load of laundry. You now know how to wash clothes!
Here's your diploma!
How to Wash Clothes -- The Bad News
Now that you know how to wash clothes, you have no excuses for dumping 3 months of laundry on your over-worked wife or mom!
For more information on laundry, check the information on these pages:
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