Cleaning Your Laundry: The How-To Guide!

Learning how to do your own laundry is a very important life skill to develop, preferably before you move out of your parents’ house! Although doing laundry is a relatively simple procedure once you get the hang of it, there is more to properly washing and drying your clothes than just tossing them in the washer and forgetting about them. For example, stains need to be treated before the item is washed to prevent the stain from setting into the fabric. If allowed to set, it will be very difficult, and often impossible, to completely remove the stain in the future. Additionally, loads of laundry should always be separated into piles of like colored clothing so that the dye in the fabric doesn’t bleed onto the lighter colors.

Doing Laundry, Step-by-Step:

  1. 1. Sort the clothing, sheets and towels into piles according to color and use. For example, bed sheets should be washed with bed sheets, bath towels should stay with the bath towels, and light and dark clothing should always be washed separately.
  2. 2. Identify the items that have stains on them, and use the proper stain removal product on the discolored area.
  3. 3. Start the washer and add your laundry detergent to the running water. Make sure that the water temperature corresponds with the type of load you’re washing. Typically, hot water is used for bed sheets and towels, while cold water is reserved for clothing items.
  4. 4. Place your load of laundry into the washer, taking care to ensure that the load is evenly balanced. In other words, make sure that the laundry is evenly distributed around the washer. Avoid placing all of it on one side of the washer; doing so will create an imbalanced load and can potentially ruin your washer if done repeatedly.
  5. 5. Always remove the finished load immediately from the washer. Allowing it to sit in the washer will give mold a chance to grow on the fabric.
  6. 6. Place load into the dryer on the appropriate setting. Avoid over drying your clothing and other laundry. Don’t forget to check and empty the lint trap after heavy loads!
  7. 7. Remove the laundry promptly from the dryer and fold or hand the items.

Tips & Tricks:

After you’ve been doing your own laundry for some time, you’ll start to notice that there are easier ways to go about things, like removing stains and preventing wrinkles. However, it’s important to remember that you should never cut corners when it comes to sorting clothes or adding the detergent to the washer. Different types of detergent are applied differently, so read the label. For example, powdered detergent should always be placed into the washer before the clothes are so that it can properly mix with the water. On the other hand, liquid detergent can be introduced before or after you put in the clothing; most people prefer to add it to a running washer before they add the clothing so that it doesn’t directly come in contact with the fabric. Sometimes, directly applying liquid detergent to fabric, as opposed to letting it mix in with the water first, can cause the item to discolor.

Stain Removal

Stains should always be treated before you start the load of laundry. Many stains can be removed with white vinegar, like tomato stains, grease marks, and even grass stains. Additionally, you can keep your white fabrics brighter by adding bleach to the washer. However, bleach, or laundry detergent that contains bleach, should never be used on colored items.

Preventing Wrinkling

Preventing wrinkled clothing is often one of the most frustrating parts of doing your own laundry. As a general rule, make sure that the clothing isn’t allowed to sit in the dryer, and immediately hang or fold them after the timer shuts off. Sometimes, it’s better to hang your clothes up instead of folding them. For example, long dresses and formal pants should always be placed on a hanger in your closet. The same can be said for button up shirts. However, casual wear, like tank tops and jeans can be folded without risk of wrinkling.

Folding Laundry

Folding laundry properly is a crucial step if you want your clothes to look nice the next time that you wear them. This is especially true of fabric is allowed to line dry outside. The creases that you make before you put them away will be apparent when the item is worn, so make the folds on the seams of the clothing whenever possible. If you end up with creases in the wrong spot, you can always iron them out.

Hanging Laundry to Dry

If you don’t have a dryer, then you can always hang your clothing out to dry in good weather. The amount of time that this takes will depend on the temperature of the day, and how much moisture is present in the air. If you have severe environmental allergies, then line drying your laundry may not be the best option because the hanging clothes can attract pollen and dust. Remember, you may need to iron the items after they have finished line drying to smooth out any wrinkling that occurred.

Dry Cleaning

Occasionally, you’ll come across items of clothing that have to be taken to the dry cleaner. This means that they need to have a chemical solvent applied to the fabric, as opposed to just water. If you try to wash these items at home, you may end up permanently ruining the material. The following types of material should always be taken to the dry cleaner: silk, velvet and wool. Additionally, you can also dry clean items that have tough stains; sometimes, this is the only way to remove the stain.