Laundry Tips

These laundry tips are intended to help you master one of life's basic homemaking skills. There are some basic guidelines, but other than that, it's mostly a matter of learning how to identify and use information that is already at your fingertips.

Basic Laundry Tips

These are the basic laundry tips. If you follow them, you are well on your way...

1. Read

Read laundry tags on clothes to know important information such as maximum water temperature and drying instructions. Also, does the manufacturer recommend dry cleaning as the preferred cleaning method?

2. Sort

This is one of the most basic steps in mastering the art of how to do laundry. Not sorting properly is the Number 1 cause of laundry disasters.

Sort your clothes into piles: whites/lights, darks, bright colors, delicates/hand wash.

Why you ask? Believe it or not - there is method to the apparent inconvenience.

Whites and very light colored clothes can be discolored if they are mixed with colors or dark clothing. Eventually they will become grey - and some of you may think that's OK for your skivvies, but I don't recommend it for your shirts - they will look like they haven't been properly cleaned.

Brightly colored clothes can really be dulled by any dyes that leach from dark clothing, especially jeans which never seem to become completely color-fast.

With dark clothes, you generally can't tell if you got a little dark green on the dark blue or vice versa, so you're generally safe to mix it all together.

Delicates and hand-wash items need special laundry cycles or hand-washing, so they should be kept separate. You would hate yourself if you put that silk shirt in with your whites at a higher washing temperature than the silk

can safely tolerate, or you fine wool sweater in with your colored stuff that went into the dryer - OUCH!

3. Laundry Tips for Stain Removal

Deal with stains before you put clothing in the wash, as soon as you take them off if possible.

Successful stain removal is one of the challenges of learning how to do laundry.

Check all stained clothes before you transfer them from the washer to the dryer. If the stain was not completely removed then either hang to dry or put it through the cleaning process again. Exposing stained clothes to the dryer heat will 'set' any remaining stain, making it harder to get out.

Whites and light colors can be hung right-side-out in the sun for extra stain removal, as the sun is a natural bleaching agent.

4. Washing

Unless you need a specific cycle such as delicates, most machine-washable clothes do fine in the permanent press cycle - warm water wash and either warm or cold water rinse depending on the machine.

Make sure you have your laundry supplies at hand before you start.

5. Drying

Carefully follow the drying instructions for your clothes. Too much heat can shrink your clothes. Some fabrics won't do well the the tumbling action of the dryer.

There are all sorts of good reasons why different items may have different drying instructions.

Anything that can go in the dryer or be hung to dry can be dried on a laundry line.

If you do dry your laundry outside, hang colored items inside-out to prevent fading from the sun. Whites can be hung right-side-out, as they will benefit from the sun's natural bleaching properties. The sun also provides natural disinfecting and odor control.

All in all - if you are able to line dry outside - you are trading a little of your time for lowered utility costs, and better laundry. On top of it all, nothing smells fresher than laundry coming off the line - no need for artificial perfumes!

Towels can get a bit scratchy when hung to dry, but they smell amazing. To soften them you can put them in the dryer for 15 minutes on med-high heat. I don't bother any more. I've learned to appreciate the multi-purpose drying and exfoliation experience!

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