Doing the Laundry the Right Way

Doing the wash is a chore many of us despise. It is one of those things that must be done regularly, like it or not. However, most folks are quick to agree that it’s easier to keep your existing wardrobe in service than it is to buy new clothing every week, so cleaning is here to stay.

Many people learned how to do laundry from their parents, who learned it from their parents. Things have changed drastically in the world of home laundry since the time the first machines were widely available to the public. Today’s machines have settings for almost everything you can think of (except professional drycleaning!), and the manuals are so thick they sink right to the bottom of the junk drawer when the machine arrives.

Some machine and laundry additive suppliers were quoted in the Wall Street Journal several months back, expressing their frustration over how the public seems to be missing out on the benefits of their products. They stated that to get the most out of these products only takes a few extra steps, and they become routine very easily. These representatives also said they thought many people were still doing laundry “the old way” and that their machines and detergents have changed so much that the old rules no longer apply.

We want you to look your best no matter how your clothes are cleaned. Home washing machines can do a great job of cleaning wash and wear clothing, but only if the machine is allowed to perform at its best. When it comes to finishing the job, we will say that home irons are okay, but our pressing machines and staff can make you look much better. That aside here’s a few tips on doing home laundry properly.

Check pockets! This is vital

You never know what you might find-crayons, lipstick, money, etc. A quick check of the pockets is easy and can save a lot of trouble. ¥ Pretreat stains. Use a pre-wash product or your detergent following the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, soaking is a form of pretreating for heavily soiled clothes.

Sort loads

We recommend sorting by color first, fabric type second, and the amount of soil third. This way your loads will be evener. ¥ Select water temperature. Use a lower setting for more delicate and heat sensitive fabrics. Hot water can be used for whites and highly soiled garments. Check your care label for instructions (see chart on back).

Select the appropriate cycle

When choosing the right cycle consider the type of clothes, amount of soil, and the length of the cycle.

Fill the washer with water

For top loaders fill the washer with water and add detergent and boosters. Whatever brand of clothing washer, the instruction book is the best guide for loading.

Add detergent and laundry boosters following the manufacturer’s instructions. Never pour detergent or other additives directly onto dry fabrics.

Add a recommended load of clothing to the washer. Do not overstuff your washer. This can result in poor cleaning, increased wrinkling, wear and tear on the items, and damage to the washer.

Quick Checklist:

  1. Check pockets
  2. Pretreat stains
  3. Sort by
    • color
    • fabric
    • soil
  4. Fill washer with water
  5. Add clothing

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Article courtesy and used by permission from DLI. The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute helps professional cleaning services succeed in quality cleaning and education. See for more information.