Long gone are the days of only Mom or Dad doing your laundry. You’re a young adult now — this is one task you’re going to want to learn. You might have heard a few disaster stories, of one red sock ruining an entire wardrobe, but we’re here to tell you these “disasters” can be avoided, and that doing your own laundry is actually quite easy.
So you might be wondering, what’s the secret to doing your laundry? Well, the truth is — there’s no secret at all. It's all written down for you. Check the label of almost any piece of clothing you have. It probably says something like: "Machine wash, no bleach, tumble dry low, low iron if necessary." Laundry detergent, washers and dryers also come with instructions that serve as helpful reminders. You can also ask someone older to help show you how to do it. Here's a quick and easy lesson on how to do the laundry to help keep your squeaky-clean image picture perfect.
Step One: Sort Your Clothes
Separate your laundry into piles of whites, light colors, dark colors and linens (like sheets, towels and blankets). Don't mix light and dark colors together. Even if the clothes have been washed many times, bright colors will fade and lighter colors will get dingy or gray.
Step Two: Check the Labels
When learning how to do laundry, look at the labels of each of the clothes. If a label says: "hand wash only," "dry clean only" or "wash separately," put it aside in a "special care" pile.
Step Three: Check the Clothes
One of the most important steps when learning how to do the laundry is to empty all pockets. Remove all accessories like belts or pins. Check everything for stains. Stains like grass, blood, dirt, sweat and food should be pre-treated with a stain remover. Follow directions on your stain removal product. It usually needs to be sprayed, rubbed or soaked, depending on the type of stain and product you're using.
Step Four: Set the Washer
On the washing machine you will find dials or buttons for choosing the type of water and cycle appropriate for your laundry load.
Warm water is used for most loads. Use it for light-and bright-colored clothes, cottons and linens, jeans, and most regular-wash clothes.
Cold water is best for light colors and delicate things — swimwear, bras, and workout clothes. When you're not sure how to do the laundry, use the cold water, delicate setting. If you don't have too many delicates, hand-wash instead.
Hot water is best for removing stains and germs from clothes and can be used for white clothes and light-colored linens. However, hot water isn't very gentle to fabrics or color. It can make them shrink, fade or wear out.
Step Five: Start the Washer
Turn on the machine and let it start filling with water before you add the clothes. (If you have a front-loading machine, this isn't possible, so turn it on only after you load the clothes.)
Measure and add the detergent, following the directions on the container.
If you are washing bright colors, you can add color-safe bleach or detergent with bleach alternatives. If you are washing whites in hot water and all of the washing instructions on your clothing tags agree, add a small amount of bleach to the water before adding your clothes. Make sure to wipe up any spills with a wet sponge or paper towel, and be sure not to spill any on your clothing as it will ruin it.
Step Six: Load the Washer
Place one pile of clothes into the washer. Leave enough room for the clothes to move around in the washer. Do not overfill or your clothes won't get clean.
Close the lid and wait for it to finish.
Start the washer if you haven't already and wait for it to finish.
Step Seven: Dry the Clothes
Remove clothes from the washer as soon as the full cycle is done. The washer will go through a few cycles of starts and stops, so check the dial or display to tell you when it's finished. Some washers will beep when they're done. If clothes are left in the washer for more than a few hours, they could become stinky and need to be rewashed before drying.
Empty the lint filter on the dryer before each load. If you don't, it could become a fire hazard.
One important thing to remember when learning how to do the laundry is to check the washing instructions on each piece of clothing. They will say something like: "hang dry," "lay flat to dry," "tumble dry low heat," "tumble dry remove promptly." Follow all instructions and load dryer-safe clothes into the dryer, being sure not to overstuff the dryer or your clothes won't dry properly. If clothes are not dryer safe, follow instructions on the tags for best results.
Turn on the dryer and follow the instructions on the clothing tags and the dryer to choose the best setting for your load.
As soon as the dryer is done, empty it and fold clothes to avoid wrinkles.
Special Tips from Cheer.com
These quick tips will help take you from just knowing the basics of how to do the laundry to clothing-care expert.
- Turn dark clothing inside out to help prevent fading.
- Do the same for sweaters to reduce pilling.
- Check all pockets and remove any items before washing.
- Close buttons, zip zippers and fasten clasps to prevent damage to delicate duds within the load.
- Before drying, separate lint-shedders (fuzzy sweatshirts, chenille robes, flannels and towels) from lint-keepers (knits, corduroys and permanent-press fabrics).
- Tie drawstrings on sweatshirts and pants to prevent knotting.
- Don't bleach natural fabrics, such as linen, as it can weaken the fibers.
- Soak seriously soiled fabrics overnight to ensure the best wash results.
Wasn't that easy? And just a little bit fun? Be proud of yourself. You've just learned how to do the laundry.
Now, if only the rest of being a responsible adult could be so easy...