I don’t know about you, but I always struggle with getting my clothes as clean and fresh smelling as I like. The whites seem to look dingy after the first few washes and the pretty, colored clothes lose their sharp colors after the first wash, or so it seems, so I decided to put together a list of ways that we can easily use to help our clothes come out cleaner and fresher.
These are just a few basic laundry guidelines that everyone who operates a washer should know, so basically, something that everyone should know! If your mother didn’t teach you how to properly wash clothes, then this is for you!
First things first. Sort your laundry! Typical categories for sorting are whites, darks, lights, denim, delicates, and towels and bedding. I have been learning over time that it is not worth it to put a few items of colored clothes in with the whites and wash it on cold. This will pretty much seem to guarantee that my whites will turn out dingy and once they reach that shade, there is no going back to white! Washing the whites together helps them to stay… white! Colored clothes have the possibility of bleeding their colors into the other laundry, so it is best to wash them with other similar-colored laundry so you don’t run the risk of having pink underwear or blue splotches on your favorite shirt! Denim can also bleed into other laundry so it should be washed separately or with other dark laundry. Delicates, if you are wanting them to stay nice for awhile, should be washed in their own gentle cycle. Heavier fabrics, zippers, and clasps could easily tear or stretch out the delicates during a wash cycle. Towels and bedding can be washed together and given a longer wash cycle to help give them a really good cleaning. The other laundry doesn’t need to be washed as long, but bedding and towels are strong enough to handle the extra washing to get the dirt out.
Water temperature is also an important detail for having laundry come out clean and fresh, but which one should you use? Basically, cold water can be used for every type of clothing, but hot water, on the other hand, cannot be used for everything as it can cause shrinkage and/or loss of color.
Some clothes should only be washed in cold water to help them have a longer lifespan. These items would be denim, darks, and some delicate materials. Hot water can cause the denim to shrink or bleed its color making it fade and reducing the lifespan of your jeans. After investing money and time into finding a favorite pair of jeans, we don’t want to run the risk of ruining them while just trying to get them clean. Dark colored laundry can easily fade and lose its beautiful colors if washed in hot water, so cold water helps to preserve favorite tops and keep their colors looking sharp. Some delicate materials could possibly be ruined or misshapen by hot water, so it is best to just wash them on a delicate cycle with cold water.
Other items NEED hot water for their wash cycle. These would be your whites, bedding, and towels. We don’t even really need to explain why whites need a hot cycle. Anything that can help to get body oil and smells out is great, and hot water can help loosen up that dirt better and faster than cold water can. Bleach can also be added to the whites to help aid in keeping them white and to kill off any leftover germs or odors. Bedding can also be washed on hot to get the sweat and skin cells out of the sheets. To be honest, I just purchased a new set of dark maroon sheets, so I haven’t washed them in hot water because I didn’t want to run the risk of fading my new sheets, so I have just been washing them in warm water. Towels can also use the hot water to get body oils out of them and any possible mildew that might have been growing on them while hanging damp for several days in the bathroom. Regularly laundering your towels will help with the mildew buildup and the hot wash cycle will help, too. I have bleach safe towels, so I often add a little bit to my towels and washcloths when I wash them to keep them smelling fresh.
Detergent is also another important item in getting laundry clean, but that can be a topic for another day. Taking the time to sort laundry properly and choosing the right water temperature can help your laundry get a better cleaning and have a longer lifespan, saving you a lot of money on new clothes and bedding!