Washing machines are designed to clean your laundry, but sometimes using them to the best of their ability requires a little bit of work on your end, first, to ensure that your laundry comes out clean and intact. A truly successfully load of laundry consists of sorting the items, pre-treating any stains, choosing the right water temperature, adding detergent and fabric conditioner.
How intricately you sort laundry will depend on how much you have. You could simply sort by colour if your loads are smaller; but, to ensure that your clothing gets the proper cycle and detergent, you may also consider sorting by fabric and soil level. Separating fabrics means that you will be able to use the gentle cycle on delicate fabrics and a regular cycle on items that can withstand the increased agitation.
Certain soils can move from one garment to another, so if you have enough heavily soiled garments you may want to wash these separately from simple laundry. When you’re separately laundry, be sure to check the pockets for any items that could damage the machine or be transferred to clothing. To avoid transferring lint from existing items like blankets, rugs and wools onto regular items, you may want to wash heavy lint shedders separately.
Heavy stains will need fast action prior to putting in the washing machine as a simple wash alone will not usually remove the stain. Depending on the fabric, you will want to pre-soak stained garments in cold water. Be sure not to scrub the stain as that may embed it further into the clothes. Identifying the stain will help determine how to treat it, but most fabrics can handle a gentle stain remover and a soak before being added to the regular wash load.
Most clothing labels recommend what temperature the water should be at, but the general rules of thumb are: cold water (20°C) for fabrics that may shrink or fade in warm water; warm water (35°C) for permanent press items (light to medium colours); hot water (55°C) for items that can stand hot water without losing colour or shrinking (e.g. baby clothes, work or sports clothes).
And of course, before starting the cycle, be sure to let the detergent properly dissolve before adding the clothes; or, if you own a front loading washer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best practices. Then add fabric softener at the appropriate time and you are good to go!
For more tips that can help keep your household items spic & span, visit www.scratchanddent.ca or stop by the store at 407 Gage Avenue, Unit #4 in Kitchener. A friendly staff member would be happy to help you or take your questions at 519-743-3623.