Life was so easy when Mom did all the laundry, wasn’t it? But now that you have to do it yourself or for your family, you might have realized that it isn’t as easy as it seems. Clothes can be washed by shoving them all together in one load, but over time, this will create unwanted fading, pink boxers, and pilled sweaters. Some may think separating loads by color and fabric type is obsessive, but it has saved me loads of money over the years. Keep reading for my helpful tips to mastering the art of laundry.
If you have somehow escaped without doing laundry for yourself, you will need detergent, fabric softener, and perhaps a stain-treater. Once you have all your tools, spread out your laundry into piles. I typically do this in the middle of my hardwood floor, for easy cleanup. Here are the piles that I usually have:
- Cotton or soft fabrics:
- Warm Colors (Reds, Oranges, Purples, Pinks)
- Cool Colors (Blues, Greens, Darks)
- Heavy Fabrics: (Will cause pilling on anything else if mixed in!)
- Dress Clothes (Different altogether! More later)
Typically I will run 3 small loads of laundry a week for my 2 person household. Example: we wear less warm colors and so clothes in that pile typically go back in our hamper for another week. Make sure you adjust your washing machine to the size of your load; this will make the process faster and more efficient.
Use cold on loads that are bright or bold colors; warm on less bold colors; hot water on white loads. This will prevent colors from running into one another. Nothing worse than pink clothes that used to be white!
When you are drying clothes, you do not have to stick with the loads that you did for the washing machine. Instead separate into like fabrics—jeans, knits and towels are good to dry together so no fabric pills (the annoying nibs you get on sweaters) appear. Also, turn your hoodies or sweaters inside out so if they do pill, the pill will not be seen on the outside.
Most likely everything you own has a label on it of what brand it is. But did you know it also has a label that tells you how to wash and care for it? These labels will prevent you from accidentally shrinking anything or making it wear out faster.
Resist the Fade:
Resist fade in your favorite jeans with two things: 1> Wash them less often. I know this sounds gross, but think about what your jeans are actually being exposed to… Unless you are going commando under those skinny jeans, your jeans really should be able to go at least a few days of use before tossing them in the wash. 2> Turn your jeans (or anything you don’t want to fade) inside out before washing them. This is a hassle but worth it. The inside is really going to be the main part that needs washed anyways!
Did you know it was possible to avoid ironing anything in your whole life? That might be an exaggeration, but you can avoid getting wrinkles in your clothing by tumbling them in the dryer for 15 minutes and then air drying them on a hanger in your room. Make sure that they aren’t dripping wet!
The best way to treat a stain is to nab it right after it happens, run it under cold water, and apply detergent or stain-treater directly to the stain. If you cannot get it out immediately, put some stain-treater on the stain before it goes into the hamper. The few days of treatment it will get before going into the washer will help lighten the stain. I will be writing more on the stain-treatment process later in my blog and will link here when I do.
As with all art, have fun and create something beautiful. Some clothes I have learned to hang dry because of their fabric, while others I can just toss in the dryer. Be observant and learn from your clothes. When clothes pill or jeans fade, they are speaking to you. Learn to listen.