At some point, all independent people have to do their laundry, but fortunately it doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. To get ready, you need to gather your supplies and divide your clothes, treat stains and add the proper detergent, and then set the appropriate wash cycle and temperature for that batch. Finally, you must dry the clothes according to the type of fabric of each of the items in the batch.
Part 1 of 4: Divide the Clothes
Step 1. Keep dirty clothes in baskets according to your preferences
You can buy baskets or baskets so that you can have separate stacks as you wear your clothes, or you can use a main basket and then divide the clothes just before you wash them. How you choose to store your laundry will likely depend on how much space you have and whether you need to leave the house to do your laundry.
- There are baskets of various styles, some with wheels or handles so that they can be easily transported. You could choose one of these types in case you have to move the basket.
- Likewise, there are baskets of different materials. You can opt for a fabric one that folds in a way that saves storage space. Plastic ones often have handles for easy transport, and wicker ones tend to stay stationary and have a more decorative function.
Step 2. Create stacks of similar fabrics
A sensible way to divide your fabrics into fabrics that are heavy and those that are light or thin so that you can determine the appropriate wash cycle for the type of fabric in that batch.
- For example, you could create a heavy fabric stack that encompasses jeans, heavy cotton sweatshirts or pants, jackets, and heavy sportswear.
- Create a different pile for lighter short-sleeved shirts, tops, and skinny pants.
- Have a separate pile for delicates (such as lingerie, pantyhose, and silk garments) and a separate pile for towels and bedding.
Step 3. Divide the clothes into groups of white, light and dark clothes
You should not only separate the laundry according to the fabric but also according to the color. This will prevent dark colors from fading and staining white or light colored clothing. You should create a pile of white clothes that includes short-sleeved shirts, socks, underwear and any other type of sturdy clothing, all in white.
- Create a light clothing pile that encompasses pastel colored clothing, such as light blue and green, yellow and pink.
- Make a separate pile of dark clothes where everything that is black, gray, navy blue, red or deep purple goes.
Part 2 of 4: Treat Stains and Add Detergent
Step 1. Buy a detergent that is designed for your type of washing machine
In some cases, the detergents are designed for traditional top-loading washers, while in others they are designed for high-efficiency or front-loading washers, and other detergents can be used for both types. You must determine the type of washing machine you have and buy the detergent you want for that model.
If your skin is sensitive or prone to allergies, you could buy a detergent labeled "natural," "fragrance-free," or "free."
Step 2. Use a stain remover or detergent right away to treat stains
To be most successful in getting rid of a blemish, you should treat it as soon as it appears. Apply a stain remover or some liquid detergent to the stain as soon as possible and rub it in gently. Let the product sit on the stain for at least 5 minutes, then wash it off.
Also, another way to treat stains is by soaking them in cold water for 30 minutes and then washing them. You can do this in a large container, a sink, or using your washing machine's soak setting
Step 3. Put the detergent in the sliding drawer for a front-loading washer
Most likely, washing machines of this type, as well as high-efficiency ones, have a small sliding drawer where you should put the detergent at any time before the start of the cycle. The washer will then automatically dispense it as the cycle progresses.
In case you can't find the sliding detergent drawer in your washing machine, you can read the instruction manual
Step 4. Put the detergent in the bucket for a top-load washer
For washing machines of this type, you may need to fill the bucket with water first, then add the detergent there and add the laundry last. You can read the instructions on the inside of the washer lid to determine the exact way to add the detergent.
Step 5. Add the proper amount of detergent according to the directions on the package
You should read the instructions on the detergent to determine how much to add. Each different detergent will require a different amount to be added, so it is important that you follow the instructions exactly so that you don't add too much.
Adding too much detergent could result in a soapy residue on your clothes after they have been rinsed
Step 6. Add bleach to white clothing to keep it shiny
You should locate the part of the washing machine where the bleach should be added. This part should be located near where the detergent is added (in the case of front-loading washers) or to one side at the top of the bucket (in the case of top-loading washers). You should read the instructions on the bleach to determine the amount to add based on the amount of clothes you are going to wash.
There are some non-chlorinated bleaches that are labeled suitable for colored fabrics and therefore can be used for colors that might need an extra shine
Step 7. Use a liquid fabric softener if you want yours to be particularly soft
If there are times when your clothes are stiff and hard after washing, you could add a liquid fabric softener to the batch. This is especially helpful if you are using water that is hard and chemically treated.
Part 3 of 4: Choosing the wash cycle and temperature
Step 1. Look at the symbols on your laundry label
Some of your clothes may have certain cycle or temperature requirements. In case you are going to wash something for the first time or you cannot remember what the symbols say, it is always recommended that you consult them.
Step 2. Use the normal setting for heavy fabrics
The normal or regular setting of a washing machine usually refers to a fast spin in both the wash and rinse cycles. This is an ideal setting for sturdy fabrics (for example, jeans, sweatshirts, and towels).
- Also, the regular or normal setting is suitable for heavily soiled laundry. You just have to make sure that they are not delicate garments made of fine fabrics or that have ornaments.
- In some cases, the washers also have a reinforced setting that you should only use for heavy, heavily soiled fabrics.
Step 3. Opt for the permanent press setting for wrinkle-prone clothing
There are some blouse and trouser fabrics (for example, linen or rayon) that wrinkle easily, for which you should choose the permanent press setting on your washing machine. This will have a slower spin cycle at the end so that these items can stay wrinkle free when washed.
Step 4. Go the delicate cycle for fine fabrics or trims
The delicate cycle of the washing machine means that it will spin slowly when washing and rinsing. It is designed for fine fabrics (such as lingerie or pantyhose), as well as garments that have beads, sequins, embroidery, or other delicate embellishments.
There are certain fabrics that you should not machine wash at all and should instead be hand washed or dry cleaned (for example, many silk and wool items). Before putting your clothes in the washing machine, you should be careful to look at their washing symbols
Step 5. Wash with cold water most of the time
In fact, most detergents today are designed to work best with cold water. Also, most fabrics will last longer if not exposed to heat. If you wash your clothes with cold water and not with warm or hot water, you also save money and electricity.
- You should always use cold water to wash shrinkable fabrics, such as cotton, and dry them on a low heat setting.
- In some cases, people are concerned that cold water will not kill germs. However, detergent does have an effect in removing them, and the same applies to the heat of the dryer if you dry your clothes on any heat setting, even a low one.
Step 6. Use hot water only on heavily soiled clothing
If you are washing pillowcases and sheets that a sick person has used, or uniforms or outdoor clothing that is muddy, you can use hot water if you wish. However, it is best not to use it more often than is absolutely necessary, as hot water causes colors to fade over time.
Do not use hot water to wash stained clothing or new colored clothing, as it could cause stains to set in and colors to fade
Step 7. Avoid overfilling the washing machine when putting clothes on
Most washing machines come with instructions on how to fill them or the machine itself has a fill line that you should not exceed when placing your clothes there. You must be careful not to crowd the washing machine with more clothes than is recommended for that model.
Overfilling your washer could result in your laundry not being cleaned properly, and the washer could break down over time
Part 4 of 4: Drying Clothes
Step 1. Remove the lint from the filter before drying each batch of laundry
Locate the lint filter on your dryer, and each time you use it, check for lint before turning it on. Remove the filter from its place and run your finger over the lint to collect it. Then, dispose of them in the trash can.
If you don't remove the lint before using the dryer, it could catch fire
Step 2. Use dryer sheets to make your clothes softer and static-free
Tumble dryer sheets can be helpful in reducing static in clothes and making them softer after washing. You should opt for sheets with a scent that you like or, if you are sensitive to chemicals, you could opt for ones that do not have scent.
Step 3. Go for a regular setting for jeans, sweatshirts, and towels
Sturdier fabrics can withstand the heat and fast spin of regular settings, plus thicker materials may not dry completely on lower settings.
If you are concerned that certain items will shrink or fade, you can opt for a lower heat setting or you can air dry them
Step 4. Use permanent press for most clothes and sheets
This cycle uses medium heat, but turns clothes more slowly near the end to reduce wrinkles that often appear when clothes are dried in the tumble dryer. If you opt for this setting, your clothes and sheets will dry completely without wrinkling.
In some washers, this setting may have a different name (for example, "wrinkle-free", "wrinkle-resistant", "fast" or "slow")
Step 5. Dry shrink-prone items using the delicate or twist setting
The delicate setting uses a low level of heat and turns more slowly. It is ideal for garments that can shrink or can be easily damaged. The twist setting does not use any heat, so you should use it for extremely delicate items or items that are likely to shrink.
Step 6. Air dry items to make them last longer
If you want something to last longer, you can hang it on a clothesline to dry. You just have to get clothespins or hangers and hang the clothes either indoors or outdoors.
As another alternative, you can spread the clothes on a towel to dry them or use a folding clothesline. This can help reduce lines or bumps that can appear on the shoulders of your shirts when you hang them up to dry
Step 7. Iron the clothes as needed and put them away
In case some clothes have been wrinkled while washing them, you can get rid of the wrinkles with an iron and an ironing board. Be careful to look at the wash symbols on clothes that are wrinkled to see which heat setting to use. Then, accordingly, set the iron to the correct temperature.