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The way we care for our clothing, and how we wash them extends their life, saving us money. But having the information of how-to is hard to gather. It’s all here with lots of extra tips for keeping your clothing and laundry looking their best. #laundry #clothing #cleaning
Do you know how, when, and why to wash your clothing for the best results, to keep them looking their best, and getting the most value from your money out of them?
I have the BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment to help you know what temperature to wash your clothing in, what materials to put in the dryer, and even how often to wash it!
What do all those symbols mean on the tags mean anyway? I have the answers to those mysteries.
It’s very helpful to have the How-Tos of WHEN, WHAT, and HOW, and I address it all below.
BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment
Make a schedule of when to do your laundry
- Keep your dirty laundry in one place – such as a pre-determined laundry basket – not the entire floor, hint, hint.
- An idea is to have large safety pins to attach socks together just before putting them into the hamper and then when taking them out of the dryer, take off the safety pin, fold, and voila! Paired and happy together.
- If it is older children/teens/adults are in the home, then each having their own basket and doing their own laundry works best.
- If a family with young children, has a couple of centrally located hampers or baskets for everyone to toss their laundry into, it is easiest to see when laundry might need to be done before the regularly scheduled time.
- Gather any dirty laundry that didn’t happen to make it into the laundry basket, such as towels and such that are still on the floor in the bathroom, towels, dishcloths in the kitchen, etc.
- Remember that wet washcloths and towels need to be hung over a rack, door handle, edge of the hamper, whatever, to allow them to dry so they cannot mildew or mold. Any wet item can also ruin other clothing if left wet and sitting on certain fabrics, for hours, or extended amounts of time.
3. Now that you have gathered all the dirty clothing together, including towels, dishcloths, and anything else needed, let’s sort them into piles.
FIRST and VITAL! Check ALL pockets of clothing for crayons, pens, lip gloss (oooh that’s a messy one), tissue (terrible to clean out), toys, rocks (very hard on the washer and dryer), basically anything that does not belong in the wash.
- Dark colors
- Light colors
When you begin the actual washing process, you will have choices of water level, from extra small or small, to large or extra-large; all depending on the type of washing machine you have.
The water level needs to be equal to the load of laundry you put in.
- This is critical – to all kids and teens who think they are done quicker by stuffing 400 lbs of fabric into the washer and turning it on so they have ‘done their laundry faster’, understand that this is a misdemeanor in 38 states and 68 countries. So Do NOT attempt this. It is WRONG and you will be caught because your clothes will still be smelly. And it breaks the machine too.
- Why? You ask?? I’ll tell you. Because the clothes need plenty of room in the water to bathe and become clean. Now if they only have 1/4 of a teaspoon of water for a pair of pants, or a shirt to call their very own; getting clean is NOT going to happen. So only 1/2 or less of the washer can be clothing – and that’s NOT packed in either!
TIP: Just because your washer is a 20 lb capacity be careful; twenty pounds of rocks is much different than 20 pounds of feathers. Use common sense and don’t overload the washer.
Next – choose the regular or delicate cycle on the machine, and there may be more choices available. Regular is generally acceptable, except as noted below*
There are symbols on the tag for a reason
- Look inside the clothing and find the little do-hickey that either sticks out at the top or at the side seam, you need to read it, which may require some time to find the language of your choice.
- Now, see if it recommends washing in cold, warm, or hot.
- Also, they now have little symbols that you have to decipher. Quite complicated, but that’s modernization for you. We must find humor in everyday life, right!?
- Here is a little video I found that explains the codes
Here’s a chart from the Cleaning Institute that is very helpful. Click HERE to print it out They have lots of great information on their site about doing laundry.
***Disclaimer – These codes and information are great to help, but also use common sense. Don’t wash pink or red socks with white items. But you do not need to wash everything separately as might be noted on the little tags. Also if an item is to be dry cleaned, ask the cleaner or check online with the manufacturer to see if it is something that might be washed in cold water and laid flat to dry; saving you money. It also gets the clothing cleaner in some instances – again disclaimer I am giving my own opinion and am not responsible for any damage or issues with clothing that has been washed, dry cleaned, will be laundered, or will not be cleaned now until it can walk around on its own because I suggested maybe it could possibly be washed in cold versus the dry cleaner. Just sayin….
A bit of maintenance is important:
- Undo any buttons on the shirt. The agitation and extra weight from the water may cause the buttonholes to tear
- Pre-treat collars of men’s and boy’s shirts, particularly
- Spot clean ANY place/thing/stuff/gunk and do NOT wait or hesitate, it will only get worse, that I can assure you, we are at war with dirt – no disclaimer
- I found a pretty comprehensive stain removal chart, again from the Cleaning Institute. For help addressing certain stains, click HERE. There are many types of spot removers also- liquid spray, bar, solid; just using one is the key here.
In my ‘research’ (disclaimer as I was simply surfing the net and asking at the expensive jean store so this is not my personal counsel) here is the advice I found in caring for jeans
- A few sources did say not to wash jeans for like 6 months of use to ‘save them’ —- I say eeewww and not on my watch! They can be worn a few times IF they are not smelly and icky and there is no dirt or stuff on them.
- Turn them inside out and wash up to 4 at a time in cold water; you want lots of water for those babies to swim in. And on the delicate cycle is a must
- Always wash with other jeans to prevent bleeding onto other colors and to help maintain the original color also
- Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of regular salt to the water before adding the jean to help set the dye and hold the color. This is another reason you need to have lots of water for those jeans to float around in.
- After washing, if your jeans have lost a bit of their fit, place them in the dryer for half a cycle on the LOWEST setting, still inside out. Then take them out, and hang them by the legs (not the waistband) from a pants hanger on a shower rod or somewhere high enough up so they do not touch the floor as they dry.
- When taking jeans from the washer it is recommended not to place them in the dryer, but to leave them inside out, hang them by the legs (not the waist hand) from a pants hanger and allow them to dry. This reduces wrinkles in the fabric (I wonder if this would work for me…hhhmmm). If they are stiff when they are dry, simply toss them into the dryer, on low heat for 5 minutes to help the fabric fibers to relax.
- If washable, wash in cold and lay flat on a clean dry bath towel to dry so it can maintain it’s the proper shape
*Dedicates, Undergarments and Bras
- Use stain remover as needed
- Place hosiery/nylons/tights in the mesh bags with a zipper. Like THESE
- Place each bra in a separate mesh zippered bag. Fasten the hooks first to prevent twisting and snagging.
- Place slips, camisoles and other dedicates in mesh zippered bags
- The reason to place these types of items in the bags is to keep the hooks, etc, from tangling and tearing, causing any damage to items in the wash
- Swim Suits can be laundered in the mesh bags or by hand – depending on the manufacturer’s tag’s instructions
- If something is ornate or extremely delicate then you really should hand wash.
- Fill your sink with warm or cool water, according to directions, and pour in a tiny bit of laundry soap. Squish with hand to distribute.
- Place the fabric into the water and allow the clothing to soak for a few minutes.
- Gently squeeze the sudsy water through your hands and around the fabric for a few minutes.
- Now let out the water and run fresh water over the fabric gently moving the fabric from side to side until the suds are gone and it appears the item is completely rinsed.
- Place item on a clean towel, laying it out as flat as possible.
- Roll the towel up and squeeze gently.
- Unroll and use another towel if needed. If it is fairly dry, lay out flat to dry on a clean towel
- Use very gentle laundry detergent such as Dreft for the first 6 months or so as a baby’s skin is extremely sensitive
- Wash sheets in hot water once a week
- Once every 6-12 months, or as needed/directed by the manufacturer, take bed blankets to the laundry mat and use the large industrial machines, or to the dry cleaners if they have regular washing machines. It usually costs about the same as a self-serve. It will save a lot of wear and tear on your machine.
When loading sheets into the washer DO NOT wrap the sheets around the agitator. Fold them back and forth like an accordion and place them one by one, side by side in the washer. This will save on wear and tear on your washer and clean your sheets better also.
Use caution and care to keep detergents and especially the liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children.
Always keep the washer and dryer doors shut so little ones cannot accidentally fall or climb in.
I hope this helps you in keeping your clothing clean and lasting longer. Happy Washing!
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2020, 2022
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