Laundry is one of those mundane tasks that everyone has to deal with. To save you time, trouble, and your clothes, you’ll see a few tips below on how to minimize damage, and avoid mistakes while doing laundry. A little reminder that even on a busy schedule, we can still optimize a necessary chore.
1) One Temperature Setting DOES NOT Fit All
Getting the water temperature down is important. Some general rules to follow for each common setting can make a big difference in the longevity of your clothing and save you money over time as you won’t need to replace damaged clothing. Similarly, knowing which cycle to run your laundry under can save you on your utility bill if you have a washer and dryer in your home.
Sorting by temperature, color, and fabric, prevents spending extra on hotter cycles unless the items need it. Some general rules for sorting are as follows:
Cold: Wash colored clothes or dark clothes that have a higher chance of bleeding on this setting. Delicate items or items that are unmarked with a care label, you should run a cold wash. Pair with high cleaning power detergent is best, as cold water does not sanitize. Pieces from Inizio, Porto, Loup Charmant and Heartloom will do well in a friendlier tumble. Between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm: Synthetic fabrics and man made fabrics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic can withstand hotter temperatures. This is a great setting for regular laundry, for clothing that has a care label that is washer and dryer friendly. This setting will dissolve powder detergent and be cost effective. Some Allison and Walter Baker can stand a bit of heat in the wash but should be in the dryer on low. Around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hot: Wash underwear, cotton whites, bath towels, and home linens in hot water. Items that need desensitizing and have oily stains, a heavier constitution, or more aggressive soils. Paired with a cheaper laundry detergent will do the job nicely but in certain cases, a presoak may be needed with stained clothing. Generally avoid unless heavy sanitation is needed like the bed linens of an ill person or kitchen and bath towels. Around 130 degree Fahrenheit and above.
2) Remember, Less is More
Do not overtax the machine with detergent. Sometimes a cold wash or even a cycle set on hot can have a hard time breaking down powdered detergent, which tends to be a more affordable option. Using less will avoid white streaks from depositing on your clothing. If you have ever overstuffed your washer, you will know that some areas will get a more concentrated dose of detergent than others.
Over stuffing your washer can also influence dirt particles to resettle into your clothing, causing fades and discoloring. Your washer should be only filled to slightly less than a third of the way, with clothing items of similar fabrics, bulk, and temperature requirements. If you use a liquid or pod detergent, know that the more enzymes in a product, the stronger the detergent is.
3) Don’t Forget Dryer Etiquette
The dryer can be dangerous; when you can, air dry. Especially items deemed delicate. Also, cotton fabric, natural fibers, and knits could take a hit in your dryer. A low setting is always safe, and this is when checking the care label is most important. If there is none, it’s best to hang dry or dry on low. Constantly check on clothing while they are in the dryer and remove them as soon as they are finished. Synthetic fibers and fabrics that are more tightly woven be more resistant to shrinking.
At Clever Alice, we love working with brands that have quality clothing that require a bit more care. Hanging to dry a piece can keep the quality of the clothing and can save you dollars on buying replacements every season. We also recommend washing in cold or a delicate setting when pieces are more formal and hang to dry. Pieces that need to look their best for business functions or daily activities will hold less wrinkles if hung carefully.
4) Don’t Nuke your Intimates:
It is always best to use cold water or a delicate setting when washing bras. These can lose their shape and look worn out quickly. Underwear, depending on the fabric should be washed in hot water, or in cold with high quality detergent. It might be worth the time investment to wash lace, or padded bras in the sink with cold water and hang dry and avoid throwing them in the washer and dryer, altogether. It might be tedious but retaining the integrity of our intimates, and implementing care can boost our confidence and mindset. However, if you are pressed for time, it’s best to wash intimates separately from all your other clothes, whether on hot or cold, and put them in a dryer at lowest heat.
5) Beware of Product
If you have the time on your hands and need to cut down on costs, creating your own powdered detergent is easy. Some easy recipes can be found here: How to Make 10 DIY Laundry Products. You can find multiple online and order materials off online retailers. As many of us know, laundry detergent can be expensive, and so can your local laundromat. Your utility bill could skyrocket if you are not careful.
Having less clothes to wash is also going to make a big difference. That’s why a closet cleanout is not only recommended but encouraged, as purging can bring a variety of benefits and create less labor on your hands and more space in your closet for the ever evolving you. Also, think about investing in a steamer. It’ll grant you full access to your clothing and make an incredible impact on both your clothes and home linens. Buy products according to your needs, consider a scent boosting pearls, and match product cleaning power with the washing temperature. Clever women always smell good.
Do your laundry deliberately and with intention. It's easy to not be diligent but it can only help us in the long run, where changing the little things can build up to a huge difference.