How to Get on Top of Laundry


I have to tell the truth here. Although I do laundry all the time I’m not very good at it. Even though I sort through everything my whites are never very white. I think I’ve got the hang of it all through my research and, hand over heart, I am going to get better. One way around the problem is to do less of it.

I bet that most of us feel that we spend too much time doing laundry. The answer is that we probably do. Sometimes it’s just easier to throw something in the laundry basket than to hang it up. Confess. It’s true, isn’t it? Always remember that eventually you will have to fold or hang it, so you might as well get into the habit of hanging things up when you’ve finished wearing them and launder less often. It’s better for your clothes and saves you time.

How to Get on Top of Laundry  Top Laundry

Laundry know-how

This is the important bit. Read the little print on the label to check the care instructions before you buy an item of clothing, and before you launder it, to avoid disasters. We don’t really want to give our children, or their dolls, our best jumpers. Care labels are required by law, so before you buy, make sure your garment has one attached. Each label should have a variety of symbols, which give you the information you need about how to wash, dry and iron the garment. If any of the symbols are crossed through it means the garment shouldn’t be given that treatment.

Washing

The washing symbol resembles a tub and shows the temperature that should be used. If the tub has lines underneath this usually means that the garment should be washed on a cycle with a gentle spin. Two lines underneath the tub means wash on a cycle that has a delicate spin. A hand in the washing tub, you guessed it, means to hand­wash with lukewarm water. A circle represents dry cleaning, although it may be possible for you to hand-wash any garment that states it should be dry-cleaned.

Bleaching

The international symbol for bleach is a triangle. It means that bleach can be used on the garment, if necessary. If ‘CI’ is written inside the triangle this means that chlorine bleach can be used on the garment.

Drying

A square represents drying. If the square has a circle inside it this represents a tumble-dryer. If the circle inside the square has two dots it means tumble-dry on medium to high heat. A circle inside the square with one dot indicates that the garment should be dried on low heat. If the symbol looks like an envelope or a hanging line across the square it means line-dry. Three vertical lines in the square means hang wet to drip dry and a horizontal line in the middle of the square means dry on a flat surface.

Ironing

It really looks like an iron. Three dots on the symbol mean the maximum setting on hot, as used for cotton or linen. Two dots mean that you should iron with medium heat. One dot means iron on a low setting.

Dry-cleaning

Some items require dry-cleaning, but take care not to clean them too often as it is really hard on the fabric. If the garment has become wrinkled and the wrinkles won’t hang out, send it off to be pressed rather than cleaned. It saves money and wear and tear on your clothes.

The dry-cleaning symbol is a circle. Although every garment with a dry-cleaning symbol can possibly be hand­washed, you will do so against the manufacturer’s advice and will be responsible if things go wrong. Exercise caution. Any garment with colours that will run, details such as pleats or bead­ing or is tailored with padding must be sent to the cleaner’s. There are three different letters that may appear in the dry-cleaning symbol circle – P, A or F -which indicate the chemicals that the cleaner should or should not use. Don’t bother yourself with the chemistry of it. Just use a really good dry-cleaner.

Sorting your laundry

In an ideal world, you would sort your laundry by colour, by fabric and by how dirty it is. You would probably spend 30 years of your life washing. Use your head. Don’t mix lights and whites with darks .because you know what will happen. Wash items that require bleach together and don’t do it in a hurry. One black sock and disaster strikes.

If a garment is marked ‘wash separately’ it means that the dye could run and ruin your other clothing. Give it a miss in your next load. This colour-run problem can last for the life of the garment, not just the first few washes. Don’t mix towels or anything fluffy with items that are not – fluff can take a long time to remove.

Before you begin

Always check all the pockets of the clothes for chewing gum,tissues, tickets etc., or you may find an unpleasant sight when you open your machine. If anything requires mending – loose but­tons or tears – these will only get worse in the wash, so repair them now. Keep a sewing box with needles already threaded with basic colours and this won’t seem such a chore.

Button everything up, keep zips zipped and turn heavy items that might bobble inside out. We all know about sock heaven. To keep your socks back on an earthly plane, put them in a mesh bag and don’t worry about it. Better yet, keep the mesh bag in your laundry hamper and throw them in when you get undressed.

Pre-soak or spot anything that is heavily soiled, taking care to read the label for colour-fastness. Always do a test on an area of the garment that will not be seen before you spot-clean.

Shake, rattle and roll

Put small items in the bottom of the machine and the bulkier items on top. Set the appropriate water temperature and cycle and add your detergent. Read the instructions. Every detergent is different. Add the right amount for the job at hand. Add required bleach and fabric softeners if your machine dispenses them automatically, making certain that the products can safely be mixed. Don’t let clothing sit in the washing machine when the cycle is complete. Wrinkles will set in and the longer the clothes sit, the more likely they are to mildew.

How to Get on Top of Laundry  Top Laundry 5

Drying

Clothes do not have to be dried in a machine. If you haven’t got one or just prefer to hang them outside to dry, try giving them an extra spin in your washing machine to remove most of the excess moisture. Gently reshape your garments before hanging them up to dry. You can avoid all that time-consuming ironing of many clothes by taking this extra step prior to drying. If you don’t have a line outside, string up one in your bathroom or laundry room. Hanging creates fewer wrinkles than placing them on a rack.

If you do use a tumble-dryer, clean the lint filter often. Don’t over-dry your clothes – it is harder on the fabric and makes them more difficult to iron. Take them out of the dryer while they are less than bone dry and hang them promptly. If you have over-dried permanent-press clothing, return them to the dryer with a damp towel and put them through a low cycle, remove and then iron on a low setting.

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About the Author: Bruno Silva is an entrepreneur from Portugal with over 15 years of experience in Online Marketing. He is also a blogger and writes on variety of topics from online marketing to designs, cars to loans, etc.

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