Friday, January 27, 2017

Laundry, a Chore or a Joy: Tips for Beginners

As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed doing certain chores like washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, ironing, vacuuming (the sound is relaxing to me, when someone else is vacuuming-lol)! and doing laundry, which is my favorite! You could think it strange, unless I have a laundry service and work for hire. 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 needed some pointers before you did the laundry by yourself or you thought this would be an interesting read; in either case, I trust I will keep your attention. I consider doing laundry an art and like any other art or craft, it’s important to have the best supplies before starting your project. You should already have a washer and dryer or access to both. You can’t do laundry quickly and efficiently without a washer and dryer, unless you want to go old school and use a washing board and tub and have a clothesline in your backyard (lol)! Let’s look at the supplies you will need for doing your laundry:
ü  Laundry detergent (powder or liquid) – I recommend liquid; also the new pods are very convenient, since there’s no measuring, which means no mess and they leave the clothes smelling nice (I have preferred scents I like to use for my clothes.) One important note about pods (e.g. Tide): they can stick to each other and will get soft and leak, because of the heat in your laundry area. If they burst, be careful not to allow any liquid to get on your skin or it will cause a chemical burn. Try using detergents that are safer for both your clothing and the environment [e.g. Ecos, Seventh Generation, Honest)
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 in bath towels. The amount of vinegar will depend on size of 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.) Create a natural stain remover by searching online.
ü  Fabric softener (liquid or sheets);
ü  Laundry bar soap (gentle treatment to lift stubborn stains)

Once, 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 according to the directions
ü  Check pockets on all garments for paper, tissue, or other items that should be removed
ü  Turn shirts with applique inside out

Remembering to check all pockets and secret pouches in the garments to be washed is very important and will prevent a lint disaster. My pet peeve is forgetting 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 perfect!
 Once the clothes are sorted, you can get started with washing:
ü   Starting with dark clothes is best especially if you will be using a bleach product on the lighter or white loads of clothes, so it’s best to wash them 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. Just experiment and see what works best for you.
ü  Select water level based on size of load
ü  Add detergent or Pod(s) to the tub first and then clothes
ü  Add liquid softener to dispenser or use dryer sheet
ü  Leave lid open to make sure the water level is sufficient for the size load (or change the level) and then put the lid down to start the cycle.

If you use liquid softener, you might not want to use the dryer sheets. Some people use both for 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. light colors and 3.whites. Non-chlorine beach or laundry color booster is good for light colors and warm or cold water will work just fine for washing. You will discover your own preferences the more you do laundry by what works best and does a better job. 

Always check the label on each garment to see if the manufacturer recommends washing in the machine or by hand and/or air drying for less heat to prevent shrinkage. Please feel free to make any adjustments that are suitable for you. If you end up forgetting to check the pockets of the dark clothes or any other load and end up with lint, because of some 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 the clothing type and the cycle button on your washer. Please refer to reminder below:
ü   COTTON cycle (high) is used for drying: whites, towels, t-shirts, and A-shirts; PERMANENT PRESS cycle (medium) - for permanent press clothing; DELICATE cycle (low) – for more delicate items needing less heat. Today, most dryers should have an AIR cycle, which can used to dry items without heat; this cycle is shorter than other cycles.  
ü  Always evenly fill the dryer with a full load of clothes to prevent overheating or under drying of clothes. Also, the liquid softener and/or dryer sheet should help minimize wrinkles.
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. You can allow clothes that are slightly damp to continue to air dry on a tubular hanger.

After your clothes are dry, it’s time for folding, which is not a favorite chore for some people. To prevent your clothes from getting extra wrinkles, fold them right after they are dry instead of letting them sit in the dryer. The important thing to remember about folding is to keep it simple. While, it's not hard and doesn’t have to be fancy, do try to go for neatness and you will be glad later on. Also, if you have young siblings or nieces or nephews, you can let them help with rolling socks and folding smaller items such as wash clothes. While you’re perfecting your art, you can also teach them and you’ll all have fun!
Determine which items should be hung up right away to prevent wrinkles.

Check the washer and dryer to make sure nothing is left, or any items that are forgotten may get sour and you will have to rewash them. One last thing before you go, please don’t forget to CLEAN THE LINT FILTER after drying cottons as they produce more lint. It’s a good practice to check and clean the filter after you complete your laundry session, so that it will be clean for future use. Remember, lint has been the cause of many house fires.

Thank you for your time and attention and may your laundry days be happy ones!

COPYRIGHT 2017 • Creative words • Victoria Sellers

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