Laundry is something all of us have to do. Some of us do our laundry in our homes and other people do their laundry at a laundromat, but the concept is the same. You put your clothes into a machine, add in some detergent and maybe a few additives such as fabric softener, bleach, or fabric brighteners, and then let the machine do the work. And that’s about as much thought as most of us put into our laundry. However, there actually happens to be a lot more to consider when doing your laundry—things that can have a significant effect on how your laundry turns out.

That’s why we’ve decided to do a deep dive into the subject matter at hand. We hope that this is a guide that will help everyone do their laundry more efficiently and help them get their clothes a lot cleaner. Now let’s just jump right into the thick of things and find out some of the things that you should know about doing laundry so that you can get your clothes cleaner, fresher, brighter, and better smelling.

The Basics Of Doing Laundry

We’re going to start off this guide with the basics of doing laundry. That means that we’re going to cover everything from reading laundry symbols to sorting clothing by color and how to determine how much laundry detergent you’re going to need. We’re also going to cover some basics that include pre-treating stains, selecting the proper wash cycle, and properly drying your clothing. We have a lot to cover, so better get started.

Step One: Understand Your Laundry Symbols

The first step to doing proper laundry is to know what the symbols on your clothing machine. There are symbols that tell the user that the clothes shouldn’t be washed; symbols that tell the user to machine wash their clothing, and symbols that tell the user what temperatures you should wash your clothing. There are several different websites that break down the meaning behind these symbols, so people can find out what they actually mean. Tide provides people with a laundry symbol guide on their website, so everyone can quickly learn what their clothes need.

Step Two: Separate Your Laundry

The next thing that you need to do is to learn how to separate your laundry. It’s always best to wash the clothing of different fabrics and colors separately to achieve the best results. Below are some rules you can follow to properly separate your clothing and the purpose behind those clothing separation practices.

Sort By Color Shade

Sorting by color prevents the bleeding that can occur when brightly colored items of clothing are mixed with lighter coloring clothing. This is the simplest way to sort clothes and just requires the user to separate the light colors from dark colors and wash them separately.

Sort By Fabric Type

Another strategy for separating clothing is to separate the clothing by fabric type. Sorting clothing in this matter allows more delicate clothing to be washed on a delicate cycle and less-delicate clothing being washed on a more aggressive washing cycle.

Sort By The Clothing’s Dirt Level

If clothing is extremely dirty or is stained, then you should wash them on a longer and/or heavy-duty cycle. This allows you to get these clothes clean without subjecting less-dirty clothing to an extended washing cycle.

Sort By Fabric Weight

The last strategy for sorting clothing is to separate them according to weight. Heavier items are washed with other heavy-duty items while lighter fabrics are washed with similar fabrics. This prevents lighter fabrics from being damaged and evens out the laundry’s dry times.

Step Three: Learn How To Properly Pre-Treat Stains

The next thing that you need to know to properly do your laundry is how to pre-treat your stains. If you don’t pre-treat, then the washing machine’s cycle can end up setting the stains into the clothing—which makes it impossible to get out. Therefore, follow the below pre-treating strategies to ensure that those stains get removed and don’t end up being set.

Tough Stains: Motor Oil, Blood, And Ground-In Dirt

Tough stains such as blood and motor oil should be soaked for 30-minutes in cool water that contains laundry detergent in it. Then the articles can be washed as normal.

Greasy Stains: Margarine, Butter, And Cooking Oil

Greasy stains should be pre-treated with liquid dish detergent. Rub some liquid dish detergent into the stain and allow it to sit before washing it.

Dark Stains: Coffee, Tea, Berry Juices

You can treat these stains by pouring liquid detergent directly on the stain and using a soft-bristled toothbrush to work it through the fabric’s fibers. Allow it to sit for approximately 15-minutes before throwing the clothing into the washer.

Step Four: Determine Detergent Levels

The next thing that consumers need to think about when doing laundry is the amount of laundry detergent they’re going to use. As is always the case, you should always follow the directions listed on the label of the detergent. Some detergents require more of the product to be used than other detergents to achieve the same results, so it’s always best to read and follow the product’s directions.

Step Five: Selecting The Proper Wash Cycle

It’s also important for you to use the right wash cycle for your clothing. The cycle that you’ll choose will depend on the color and/or types of fabrics being washed, as well as how dirty those articles of clothing are. Below are the three most common washing machine cycles and their intended uses.

Regular Cycle

This cycle is best for white, towels, and heavily soiled items. It has a fast agitation and spin cycle.

Delicate Cycle

This is for silk, wool, and other delicate fabrics. It features a slow agitation and rinse-cycle.

Permanent Press Cycle

This cycle is suitable for jeans, and synthetic fabrics such as polyester, rayon, and acetates. This cycle has a fast agitation wash cycle and a slow spin cycle.

Step Six: Consider Temperature

The last step to achieving great laundry results is to use the proper temperature setting. Below are some common temperature settings and their uses.

Cold Setting

This setting is for dark or bright colors, lightly soiled fabrics, and fabrics that might shrink.

Warm Setting

This setting is for towels, permanent press fabrics, and synthetic fabrics.

Hot Settings

This setting is for cotton fabrics, white fabrics, and heavily soiled fabrics.