6 simple steps to doing your laundry the right way
Overwhelmed by the idea of doing your own laundry? Don’t fret. The process doesn’t have to be difficult, but there are a few things you should know to really get your clothes and other fabrics clean. You might be afraid that you’ll shrink your most favorite sweater or turn that bright white T-shirt pink, but we’ve got you covered with an expert guide for doing your laundry the right way so that won’t happen.
Once you realize how easy it is, it will become like second nature. Allison Freer is a wardrobe expert and author of How to Get Dressed, and actually washes people’s clothes for a living. She’s an expert at doing laundry like a pro and shared with us some of her top tips for getting clothes squeaky clean in the easiest, most efficient way possible.
How to do laundry the right way:
1. Start by sorting your clothes.
Let’s start at the very beginning: sorting. Yes, it’s totally boring, but it is also the absolute cornerstone of good laundry practices. If you are currently just cramming everything into one load, guess what? You’re doing it wrong.
Ideally, there are to be five distinct categories you should be separating your laundry into: whites/lights, brights, darks, household linens, and gentle/cold water washables. Here’s Freer’s breakdown of what goes where:
- Darks: This should include stuff like blue jeans, sweatshirts, and gym clothes. Basically any garment that can stand up to the dye in a pair of blue jeans. Use warm water to wash your darks.
- Household Linens: If you’ve ever accidentally washed a bath towel with some of your clothes, you already know that they produce a special kind of lint that attaches itself to your wardrobe forever, like lice on a first grader. Be sure to wash towels, sheets, and kitchen rags by themselves in the hottest water you can. The high temperature kills bacteria and deodorizes naturally.
- Gentle/Cold: Try to keep anything delicate, silky, linen, vintage, or slinky out of the regular wash. This includes my underwear, bras, vintage slips, and stuff that just seems it would be beefed by hot water and a super aggressive spin cycle. Even cheap polyester dresses from Forever 21 can benefit from the extra care the gentle cycle and cold water gives! Cold water puts less stress on the fibers and when they take less of a beating, they don’t pill or fray quite as easily.
A mesh laundry bag is a great tool to use when washing things like socks and underwear. It keeps them together and in shape so they don’t get hammered by the spin cycle. Just make sure you never put anything you deem mesh bag or gentle cycle-worthy in the dryer. It’s all drip dry, baby.
2. Pre-treat any stains.
3. Determine the correct amount of detergent.
Dosing out the correct amount of detergent is an important factor for making sure your laundry turns out clean. How much detergent you’ll need is determined by the size of your load, how dirty the clothes are, and the type of detergent you’re using. Plus, if you’re using a high efficiency washer (HE), that might change.
Most liquid detergents come with a measuring cap to make this easier, but as a general rule of thumb, you should use about a tablespoon of laundry detergent per regular load size.
4. Load the machine.
Determine what the proper load size is for your washer. “Overloading it leads to not enough water and soap working its way into your garments, preventing them from getting really clean. Everything should be packed in loosely, not tightly—much like a bowl of chunky chicken soup,” says Freer.
5. Select the correct temperature and cycle.
This is where sorting your items comes in handy. Based on the color and material of your load, you’ll want to select the appropriate washing cycle. The washing cycle determines the speed of agitation and temperature of the water.
- Normal/Regular Cycle: This is best for lights, sheets, towels, underwear, and other clothing. It uses faster agitation to clean more durable fabrics.
- Delicate Cycle: This is best for items that need special care like wool or silk. It uses slow agitation and a slow rinse cycle.
- Permanent Press Cycle: This is best for more heavy duty fabrics like jeans, non-cotton items, and synthetic fibers. This uses both fast and slow agitation speeds.
Freer says she tends to take everything out of the dryer while it’s barely dry—not hot. Any longer and she advises to beware that your things could start shrinking rapidly. After that you’ll want to properly fold and put away your clothes so they stay in tip top shape.
And there you have it! If you are anything like us, you now have a giant mountain of clean laundry that you can dig through and finally clean the right way.
The post 6 simple steps to doing your laundry the right way appeared first on HelloGiggles.