Let’s face it, nobody enjoys doing laundry. There is nothing fun about this weekly or sometimes daily chore, but if we want to smell good and stay healthy, it must be done. And if it’s your job to do the laundry, don’t half-ass it, do your laundry like a pro!
Learn How to Separate Laundry
There are some of us who just don’t care about sorting laundry. Why should you care if your lights are mixed in with the darks, or if your towels are mixed in with the sheets? There are some very good reasons for sorting your laundry.
Lights and Darks
Clothes with deep colors are more likely to bleed the dye when they’re washed. Avoid putting in your new red polo shirt with your white undershirts, unless of course, you want them to have a pink hue to them. Sort your laundry by shade and wash colored garments in cold water.
If you are NOT using chlorine bleach it is OK to sort your whites and grays together. If you are using chlorine bleach, wash your whites separately from any other color. Always wash your whites in hot water.
Heavily Soiled Laundry
If you have very dirty or heavily soiled laundry, wash those separately! If you have kids and you put in a poop-covered onesie or you have clothes with grass stains, those garments need the right amount of time to agitate to work out the stains. The stain won’t come out fully if you mix it in with your other laundry. Also, let it soak for about a half-hour before starting the wash and wash them in hot water.
Check Your Labels and Your Pockets
Check your labels! Some garments are dry-cleaned only. Be sure to pay attention to the tags, you don’t want to ruin your $100 pair of dress pants by throwing them into the wash with your other clothes.
Don’t forget to check the pockets of your garments! That stick of gum in your pocket could turn into a laundry nightmare!
Sheets and Towels
Always wash your sheets separately from your other clothes. Garments will oftentimes get stuck inside the sheet during the agitate cycle and not get properly cleaned. Sheets can get pretty nasty so be sure to wash them in hot water.
Keep your towels together in the same load. Towels are bacteria-ridden and need to be washed together in hot water. Also, NEVER use fabric softener on your towels! The chemicals in the fabric softener can actually deteriorate the loops of the towel, leaving you with an uncomfortable and scratchy fabric.
How to Pre-treat Laundry Stains
It is inevitable that we will get something on our clothes that is tough to get out. When this happens you need to understand what it is before treating the stain. It is always recommended that you soak a stained garment for 30 minutes before treating it, but some of us just don’t have that kind of time.
Always have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your laundry room. This is the perfect pre-treating stain remover for blood. Pour some over the bloodstain and watch as it bubbles up. Repeat a few times and then spray a little Shout Advanced on the stain.
Dirt and Motor Oil
Spray Shout Advanced on the stains and then let them soak for 30 minutes in the washer with a little detergent.
Immediately remove the garment and apply some Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. The baking soda will absorb the oil from the garment. You might need to do this a few times depending on how much oil is in the fabric. Before putting it into the wash, pre-treat it again with Shout Advanced.
This one is pretty simple. Most food stains will come out fairly easily with a couple of sprays of Shout Advanced.
Coffee, Tea, Berry, or Sweat
Use a couple of sprays of Shout Advanced and take a soft bristle brush (a toothbrush works great) or you can get the Shout Advanced Gel with a built-in scrub brush. Gently brush in the stain remover into the stain.
I know that I mentioned Shout Advanced several times. This is the stain remover that has worked best for me, but there are other brands that may work just as well.
Loading the Washing Machine
Believe it or not, there is actually a proper order that you should load the washing machine. If you don’t prepare your wash in this order, you are not going to have your detergent evenly distributed to all of your clothes.
The load size is super important. Setting the proper load size not only saves water, but it also can affect how well your clothes are cleaned. If you only have a few items, don’t waste water with anything more than a medium-size load. If you are doing a large load of laundry, don’t try to stuff too many clothes in the drum. There needs to be enough room for the clothes to agitate.
It’s important to use the right amount of detergent to your load. Using too much is a waste and not using enough is pointless. If you use liquid detergent follow the measuring guide on the cap to determine the right amount to use.
If you use Gain Laundry Detergent, the cap is numbered so you know how much to use. Fill to the “1” for small loads, “2” for medium loads, and fill to “3” for large or extra-large loads.
Never pour the detergent directly on the top of your laundry!
Top Loading Machines – After determining the size of your load and selecting the wash cycle, let the water fill up a couple of inches and then add your detergent directly to the water BEFORE putting your clothes in the drum.
Front Loading Machines – Put your clothes in first and then follow the instructions for adding your detergent.
Using a laundry booster like OxyClean is always recommended for every load. This not only helps make your whites whiter (without the use of bleach), but it also helps to remove stains that you may have missed.
One of my favorite laundry boosters is Downey Unstoppables. These don’t do anything other than help your clothes smell better for longer. Even after a tee shirt has sat in your dresser for a couple of weeks, it will still smell amazing!
Use fabric softener sparingly and follow the instructions. Many washing machines require you to mix water in the fabric softener reservoir. Make sure you do this. If you fill it with only fabric softener then you run the risk of staining your clothes.
Only use fabric softener on your garments and sheets. DO NOT use fabric softener (or dryer sheets) on your towels! Every time you wash your towels with fabric softener, the loops weaved in the towel lose their absorbency. The best way to keep your towels soft and fluffy is to avoid using fabric softener!
It’s important to know the difference between the two types of bleaches, chlorine and color-safe bleach.
Chlorine bleach should only be used on whites and never on colored fabrics. This bleach is also great for disinfecting and removing stains. Be sure to use the bleach dispenser on your washing machine. If your machine doesn’t have a dispenser, add the bleach directly to the water with your detergent.
Color-safe bleach works on all colors and helps remove stains, but it does not disinfect your clothing.
Cold water is the way to go for everything except for towels, bedding, and whites. You want to use hot water to help kill bacteria and help to keep your whites from looking dingy. Also, always wash heavily stained garments in hot water. This will help to loosen the dirt to get the stain out.
Drying Your Laundry
There are a few simple steps to remember when drying your laundry. Be sure to always read the label on your garments so you know what setting to dry your clothes. If the temperature is set too high it could shrink some of your fabrics.
- If you are doing laundry for your wife or girlfriend, never put her bras in the dryer. Let them air dry. She’ll thank you for this!
- You may put jeans in the dryer, but remember they will shrink a little and what fits you perfectly yesterday might not fit at all when you pull them out of the dryer. The waistband can be stretched back out, but I still prefer to have mine air-dried.
- Don’t overfill the dryer. A dryer that is too full will not dry your clothes properly.
- Remember to always empty the lint screen before (or after) each load. This not only affects the drying time but also helps protect against possible dryer fires.
- Get a drying rack! This is one of the best and quickest ways to dry your laundry that can’t be tumble dried.
If you follow all of the steps in this guide, you will keep your laundry clean, soft, and help prolong the life of your garments. If you have any additional tips, please leave them in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this post please check out my other posts under Lifestyle!