Are you new to the laundry game? Are you responsible for getting your clothes clean for the first time in your life? We’re here to help!
It’s not rocket science, but learning the laundry basics can feel overwhelming. So let’s break it down together and you’ll master it in no time.
- Let’s start with separating. You’ll want to have a few categories:
- 1. Whites (shirts, underwear, cotton tzitzit, socks, t-shirts, etc.)
- 2. Colored Clothes that can be dried (Underwear, socks, casual t-shirts, cotton pajamas, tank tops, workout clothes, etc.)
- 3. Colored Clothes that can’t be dried (Pants, better t-shirts, uniform skirts and shirts, bras, etc.)
- 4. Delicates (Sweaters and other knits, washable dresses and skirts, etc.)
- 5. Towels (Ideally, separate dark and light colors. Or just buy one color.)
- Now let’s talk about water temperature.
- Category 1. will be washed on hot for the best chance of getting out stains and brightening the whites. Other than tzitzit, these items can be dried in the dryer.
- Category 2. includes most items that are worn closely against the body. These you will want to wash in warm water. Hot water would cause colors to fade and cold water might not get the clothing as sanitary as you’d like. Most of these items can then be dried in a dryer. If you’re concerned about shrinking, hang the item to dry. Synthetic fabrics like dri-fit athletic wear will last longer if they’re not machine dried, but can handle a low heat drying if needed.
- Category 3. will be washed in cold water. This is most gentle for the clothing and usually sufficient to clean normal amounts of dirt. If something is particularly dirty, you may want to add it to a warm load. Most items should be hung or laid flat to dry.
- Category 4. will be washed on the delicates or hand wash cycle of your machine. Most modern machines can do a very gentle washing that substitutes actual hand washing. Lights and darks should be washed separately. All items should be hung or laid flat to dry.
- Category 5. can be washed in warm water and then dried in the dryer.
- Now let’s talk about detergent.
- Some people like a scent added to their detergent and some do not. Most are available both ways. They don’t affect the cleaning. I’m personally not a fan of added scent products like beads, or liquid fabric softener. These items cause build-up in the clothing that eventually can leave them dingy and smelling musty. Towels, in particular, should not be washed with added product.
- Keep in mind that most machines now are HE – high efficiency. Detergent should be as well. And you need very little detergent per load. It may seem ridiculous, but you rarely need more than what reaches the first or second fill line on the cap.
- And then there’s spin speed.
- Usually, anything washed in warm or hot water is less delicate and can handle a high spin speed. Category 3 should usually be spun at a medium speed and delicates at the lowest speed. Bulky items should also be at medium, or even low, speed.
- About the dryer.
- Stick with medium heat for most items that are dryer-safe and you should be fine. Use low heat for anything that was washed cold. Towels can be dried on high heat but that will shorten their fluffy lifespan somewhat. I consider it worthwhile because it’ll cut the drying time significantly.
- Random bits of information:
- When drying knits, it’s best to lay them flat so they don’t stretch.
- Bras, tights and tzitzit should be washed in a mesh bag to avoid tangling themselves and other items in the laundry load.
- Dryer sheets can go in every load except towels. It’s best not to use any softeners with towels because they will build up over time. A clean washed and machine dried towel should be soft without any softeners.
- White shirts should be treated before every washing. Besides for specific stains, spray the collars and cuffs each time to avoid a gray edge settling in.
These are my personal favorite laundry products: