Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to Do Laundry

By eHow Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

Doing laundry is not that hard to do
Doing laundry is not that hard to do

Has a parent, spouse or someone else determined that it's time you did your own laundry? You'll soon discover it's a snap to get your clothes clean. Just sort and separate colors from whites and don't wash anything at hot temperatures if it might shrink. Everything else you need to know is below.

  1. To do laundry, first sort your dirty clothes, making separate piles for whites, bright colors and darks. If you mix whites with colors in the wash, the colors may bleed onto and ruin your whites. Also separate clothes that tend to produce lint (towels, sweatshirts, chenille and flannel) from clothes that tend to attract lint (corduroy, velvets and permanent-press clothes)
  2. As you sort, close zippers to prevent snagging, and empty pockets (you don't want soggy shreds of facial tissue all over your clothes!).
  3. Pre-treat heavy stains with laundry detergent or stain remover, heeding instructions on the product label.
  4. Use the measuring cap of the detergent bottle or the cup found in detergent boxes to measure out the right amount of laundry soap according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Pour the soap into your washer or its detergent dispenser. Add liquid fabric softener, if desired, according to the product instructions.
  6. Choose the water temperature for the wash cycle:hot, warm or cold; save on energy and opt for a cold rinse cycle for any load. Consult the labels on your clothes, your washing machine's instruction manual or the detergent container for recommendations on washing temperature. In general, use cold water to protect colors and darks from bleeding or fading, and to avoid shrinkage. Use warm or hot water for durable fabrics like cotton (make sure they're preshrunk), and to ensure that your whites stay white.
  7. Start the washer before adding clothes, if you have time, to allow the detergent to dissolve in the water. The regular cycle suffices for most laundry, but use the gentle cycle for sheer or delicate fabrics. Adjust the water level to the size of your load.
  8. If you need to add bleach, allow the machine to run for a few minutes to mix the detergent and water, then add about a cup of bleach to the washer or the bleach dispenser.
  9. Add your clothes, close the lid and let the machine do its dirty work. Washing takes approximately 45 minutes.
  10. Put the clothes (and an anti-static sheet, if desired) in the dryer after the wash is complete. Hang delicates (such as bras and certain sweaters) to air dry on a clothing rack or hanger. Check tags if in doubt.
  11. Remove lint from the dryer's lint tray.
  12. Select the correct drying temperature for your laundry load: low for delicates, medium for most fabrics and high for cotton. When in doubt, low or medium is the safest bet.
  13. Close and turn on the dryer. Expect the drying cycle to take an hour or more for a full load.
  14. Once the clothes are completely dry, remove them from the dryer or drying rack and fold your clean laundry.