As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed doing certain chores like washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, ironing, vacuuming (the sound is soothing to me, when someone else is vacuuming-lol!) and doing laundry, which is my favorite! Why do I enjoy this task, you might ask? Well, for one, I have mastered doing laundry well and work hard to make sure that I wash everything with care.
Perhaps, you are reading this article because you need some first time pointers before you attempt to do laundry if this is not your regular chore or perhaps, you thought this would be an interesting read. Whatever your reason for reading this post, I trust I will keep your attention. My ability to do laundry well is a skill that has been mastered over time. I watched both my mother and grandmother do laundry, as a youth and learned from them. My mother was a laundromat person during my teen years while, my grandmother washed at home with a machine and clothesline; she eventually got a dryer. She was very efficient and did things to perfection! I even remember her dry cleaning knit suits in the dryer and that was over 30+ years ago. Using the best products is important, because you want to achieve the best results. Hopefully, have a washer and dryer or access to those applicances. You can’t do laundry quickly and efficiently without one, unless you want to go old school and use a washing board and tub (lol)! Let’s look at the supplies you will need for doing your laundry:
ü Laundry detergent (powder or liquid) – I recommend liquid (Try Woolite for fine washables and knits); also the new Pods very convenient; there’s no measuring, which means no mess and they will leave your clothes smelling nice. I have products I use because of the way they make my clothes smell. and I am sure you will have you own. Here's a free tip: I have found that adding ½ to 1 cup of vinegar (apple cider or distilled) to your wash will both soften clothes and aid in eliminating odors. The amount of vinegar will depend on size of your load; try ½ cup for smaller loads and 1 cup for larger ones.
ü Bleach (Clorox, Purex, non-Chlorine)
ü Stain remover (e.g. Spray n Wash, etc.)
ü Fabric softener (liquid or sheets);
ü Laundry bar soap (gentle treatment to lift stubborn stains)
Once, you make sure you’ve got the supplies listed above, it’s time for the part most people don’t like: SORTING clothes. This is really not that difficult; because you can always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the detergent container or you can use the suggestions provided below:
ü Sort soiled clothes by color and water temperature
ü Treat any stains or spots before washing
ü Check pockets on all garments for paper, tissue, or other items that should be removed
ü Turn shirts with appliqué inside out
Remembering to check all pockets and secret pouches in the pieces to be washed is very important and will prevent a lint disaster. My pet peeve is forgetting (once in a blue moon) to check the pockets, when sorting the dark clothes. Don’t be surprised if you forget a couple of times; and be encouraged, because practice does make proficient!
Once the clothes are sorted, you can get started with washing:
ü Starting with dark clothes is best; you can wash anything (whites or lightly colored items) that requires bleach or whitener LAST. Use COLD water for dark clothes to prevent colors from bleeding (seeping) on the others. Actually, using cold water for all your wash will work (and could reduce your gas bill). Just experiment and see what works best for you.
ü Select water level based on size of load
ü Add detergent or Pod to the tub first and then clothes
ü Add softener to dispenser
ü Leave lid open to make sure the water level is sufficient for the size load (or change the level) and then let lid down to start cycle.
If you use liquid softener, you might choose not want to use the dryer sheets. Some people use both and I too prefer extra softening and lasting fragrance. If you want to use a dryer sheet, have it ready to add to the dryer as well as the next batch of clothes for the washer. You should wash your clothes in the following order: 1. dark clothes, 2. lighter colors and 3.whites. Non-chlorine beach or laundry color booster is good for light colors and should work with warm or cold water. You will discover your own preferences the more you do laundry as well as the products that give the best results..
Always check the label on each garment to see what the manufacturer recommends for both washing and drying and make any adjustments that are suitable. If you end up forgetting to check the pockets of the dark clothes or any other load and end up with lint, because of an overlooked tissue, you can remedy that with the dryer. As those items dry, the pieces of tissue will end up on the lint filter and your clothes should be lint-free.
You can determine the temperature you need to use by clothing type and the cycle button on your washer. Please refer to reminder below:
ü COTTON cycle (high) is used for drying: whites, towels, socks, t-shirts, and A-shirts; PERMANENT PRESS/normal cycle (medium-high) - for permanent press clothing; KNIT cycle (medium): knits or items requiring more heat than delicate; DELICATE cycle (low) – for fine washables, lingerie, and items needing less heat. Today, most dryers have an AIR cycle, which can used to dry items without heat; I find the air dry cycle is shorter than the heated cycles.
ü Always fill the dryer evenly with a medium to full load of clothes (don't try to cram extra clothes in dryer; just save for next load) to prevent overheating or under drying of clothes. Add a dryer if you prefer.
ü Remove permanent press and delicate items as soon as they are dry. It’s best to check the clothes before the cycle ends to take out clothes that are dry, to prevent over drying, shrinkage or permanent wrinkles (occurs with too much heat for clothing type). You can allow clothes that are slightly damp to continue to air dry on a tubular hanger.
After your clothes are dry, determine which items should be hung up right away and be prepared to fold everything else. Folding clothes is not always something people look forward to, but it is necessary. To prevent your clothes from getting extra wrinkles, fold them right after they are dry instead of letting them sit in the dryer. When it comes to folding, the important thing to remember is to KEEP IT SIMPLE! It's not hard and doesn’t have to be fancy, but DO try to go for neatness and you will be glad later on. Also, if you have young siblings, nieces or nephews, you can let them help with rolling socks and folding smaller items such as wash clothes and hand towels. You can teach them tricks, while you’re perfecting your skill and you will all have fun!
Check the washer to make sure you didn't leave anything. Clothes can sour, when forgotten in the machine wet and will need to be washed again. One last thing before you go, please don’t forget to CLEAN THE LINT FILTER after drying cottons as they produce more lint Actually, it’s a good practice to check and clean the filter each time you complete your laundry session, so that it will be clean for future use.
Thank you for your time and attention and may your laundry days be happy ones!