Today I have 12 quick & easy tips for washing clothes! Laundry is a never-ending task that’s all too easy for busy people like you and me to fall behind on. And even when you are staying on top of the washing chores to make sure they don’t pile up, on occasion you may be upset with the end results after pulling your clothes out of the dryer.
So instead of leaving you scratching your head and wondering what went wrong, I’d like to share several quick tips for washing clothes that you may not have known or tried before. By following these small bits of advice you can avoid the most unnecessary headaches in the future.
Items I Recommend for Emergency Washing
- Lavario Emergency Washing Unit (currently unavailable)
- Wash Tubs and Scrub Board
- Ingredients for Making Homemade Detergent
- Kevin’s Clothespins
12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes
1. Select the Right Water Temperature
The water temperature that you select for your laundry will have a big impact on the overall results. In general, hot water is best for removing dirt and stains, while cold water can be used to preserve delicate fabrics. If you’re unsure which temperature to use, always lean on the side of cold because you can always rewash in hot water if needed.
Don’t be shy about reading the label inside the piece of clothing to see what the manufacturer suggests. That step may save the clothing from being damaged if you happen to choose the wrong setting.
2. Choose a Good Detergent
Not all detergents are created equal, and using the wrong one can leave your clothes looking dingy or feeling stiff. If you have sensitive skin, look for a hypoallergenic or gentle detergent. That way you shouldn’t be left with rashes or uncomfortable itchy skin all day. For heavily soiled laundry, opt for a powder detergent over a liquid – they’ve been known to pack a bigger punch.
Don’t be afraid to try different detergents, particularly if you have clothes that may be more fragile or to keep them from losing their color too quickly. Consider buying the smaller containers as a test, and if you like them, buy the larger more economical size.
3. Avoid Using Too Much Detergent
If you use too much detergent, your clothes will come out feeling stiff and looking dull. Not to mention, all that extra detergent can be hard on your washing machine and the longevity of the clothes themselves.
On the other hand, not using enough means your clothes won’t get as clean as they could be. To get it just right, consult your washing machine’s manual to see how much detergent is recommended for a full load of laundry.
We’ve had a front loading machine for a number of years now and find it does a great job without using much detergent. It has saved us in the long run since we get more out of each detergent container.
If you use fabric softener in your washing cycles rather than putting a dryer sheet in the dryer with the clothes, you may be surprised at how little softener it takes to make the clothes come out looking great.
Also, some fabrics, particularly those that may be designed to “wick” the moisture away when worn, shouldn’t be washed with a softener since it can counteract the benefits of the wicking process.
4. Sort Your Clothes to Avoid Bleeding Colors
When you have mounds and mounds of dirty clothes to wash, it’s tempting to take the lazy route and stuff your washer with whatever you managed to scoop from the pile. But sorting your clothes before washing is a very important step as part of the laundry process.
We’ve been putting most of our clothes through the “short-cycle” that lasts about 15 minutes. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how clean they come out using that cycle. The short cycle also saves on the amount of water used during the full washing process.
Washing like colors together helps to avoid bleeding, which can ruin your clothes. After all, you don’t want to end up with t-shirts, socks, and underwear that are no longer as white as they should be.
5. Keep Your Darker Clothes from Fading
Clothes tend to be fairly expensive these days, and if they’re not washed correctly, they can appear worn out long before they should. To help keep your dark clothes looking new and from fading so quickly, try turning them inside out during the wash cycle. This could also help keep your brightly colored clothes from bleeding as much onto other articles of clothing.
6. Wash New Clothes Separately
When you first buy new clothes, it’s always best to wash them separately from the rest of your laundry. This is because there may still be some residual chemicals or dyes that can cause your other clothes to bleed or become discolored. After the first wash, they should be safe to mix in with all your other clothes.
7. Avoid Stretching or Shrinking Fabrics
There are a number of different factors that may have caused your favorite blouse to shrink or stretch during the washing and drying process. Some of the best tips to keep this from happening with your clothing are to avoid overloading your washing machine and to be sure to select the delicate cycle when appropriate.
Additionally, you should consider trying to line dry or lay flat to air dry any clothing that is made with a delicate fabric, such as silk or wool.
Hot water has also been shown to adversely affect certain fabrics. Again, check the label.
8. Machine Washing Isn’t Always Best
While most of our clothes can be safely machine washed, there are still some items that are better off being hand-washed. Any clothing that is made with a delicate fabric, such as silk or wool, is best washed outside of the washing machine. These items should be soaked in cool water and then laid flat to air dry. They may even need to be dry-cleaned by professionals.
9. Pretreat Stains Immediately
Don’t wait to deal with stains on your clothing later. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove. So as soon as you notice a spill or smudge, take care of it right away. The best way to pretreat a stain is to douse it with cold water and then rub in a small amount of liquid laundry detergent or spot remover designed to be used with clothing fabrics. Let the garment soak for about 30 minutes before washing as usual.
10. Use Vinegar on Odors
If your clothes happen to come out of the wash smelling a little less than fresh, try adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. This will help remove any lingering odors from your clothing. Just be sure to use white vinegar and not apple cider or another type, as those can actually leave a scent of their own behind.
11. Hang Clothes to Dry Whenever Possible
Hanging your clothes to dry is always the best option, whenever possible. Not only does it save energy, but it also helps to keep your clothes from shrinking or losing their shape.
If you must use a clothes dryer, be sure to select the lowest heat setting possible for the fabric being washed. Additionally, take your clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp to help prevent wrinkles.
12. Reduce the Number of Wrinkles
Not everyone has time to iron every article of clothing that they own each time it gets washed. So how do you keep the wrinkles out of your clothing after you’ve washed them?
The best way to reduce wrinkles is to take your clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp. You can also invest in a wrinkle-release spray or fabric mist that can help to relax the fibers in your clothing and make wrinkles less visible.
Mark and I have made it a habit to remove our shirts and blouses after being in the dryer for eight to ten minutes. Most dryers will let you stop and then restart them as part of this process. I shudder when I think about all the time I used to spend ironing his shirts.
More Tips for Washing Laundry
- DIY Laundry Detergent
- How To Clean Your Laundry After A Disaster
- How To Have Clean Laundry When The Power Is Off
12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes
Following these tips will help you to keep your clothes looking and feeling their best for longer. Washing your clothes correctly can be a bit of a chore, but it’s worth it in the end. Your clothes will thank you! May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Laundry Detergents AdobeStock_284695340 by New Africa