Doing the laundry may not be your favorite household chore, but you can certainly make it easier for you. Get your clothes looking as good as the day you bought them with these tips:
1. Sort and separate. Your laundry should be separated into a pile of whites, lights, brights, darks and delicates. It’s good to separate by color to prevent any color bleeding. One lone red sock in the washing machine can turn white shirts into pink shirts.
Delicates need to be separated to avoid damaging them. Delicates include lacy and loosely woven fabrics including undergarments and washable silk clothing. If you're putting them in the washing machine, put them in a mesh bag and use a delicate cycle setting.
A tip to keep your colored shirts from fading: turn them inside out before washing.
2. Straighten out, zip up and untangle. Don’t leave pants and shirts all crumpled up. Straighten them out and zip anything that needs zipping. Untangle sheets, towels and scarves, too. Your clothes will retain their shape better this way. It will also make sure that every bit of your clothes gets a good wash.
Leave the buttons unbuttoned though as the strain of being tumbled around in the washing machine can pop them out.
3. Check for rips, stains and items in pockets. It’s good practice to mend clothes as soon as you’ve noticed a hole or a tear. But, just to be sure you haven’t missed anything, double check every piece of clothing as you separate them. Putting clothes with rips and tears in the washing machine can worsen the damage. Bigger holes mean bigger problems.
Check for stains, too. Stains need to be treated before washing and stained garments should never be put into the dryer. The heat will make the stain set more making it a lot more difficult to get out.
Don’t forget to check the pockets too. Loose change clanging around in the washing machine can be annoying. Having car keys or an iPod accidentally put in with the week’s washing, however, is another issue.
4. Check the tags for washing instructions... ...heed them well. Usually knitted or wool fabrics will have a "lay flat to dry" label. That means laying your clothes on a flat surface to dry. If you don't follow, the garment will stretch and get misshapen.
5. Know how much detergent to use. The best way to know how much detergent to use is to follow the instructions written on the package. More soap doesn’t mean cleaner clothes. In fact, excess suds can build up in collars and folds which will hold dirt in and can even cause bacteria build up.
Make sure you don't overload the washing machine too. Your clothes won't clean properly if they're all cramped together. Don’t fill the tub more than 3/4 full.
Sources: October 1, 2014. "12 laundry mistakes you're probably making" (cnn.com) Undated. "Tips for Perfect Laundry" (marthastewart.com) Undated. "50 Simple, Old-Fashioned Ways to Make Doing Laundry Easier" (countryliving.com)