There is an art to doing laundry the right way
No, this will not be some comprehensive guide on fabrics or how to use your machines, but it will be a guide on how to get by with cleaner clothes than any of the idiots on your dorm room floor.
Step 1. Ingredients!
You will need :
- LIQUID laundry detergent. None of those Tide pods the kids like to eat* (*don’t eat them… sigh)
- A bottle of laundry sanitizer (trust me on this)
- Clorox bleach, the non-splash kind
- Clorox 2 bleach – for colors
- OxiClean, any flavor (again, don’t eat this…)
- Aluminum foil, for the dryer (yes, trust me on this as well)
The Washing Machine
The machine itself fills with water, oscillates (moves water around), and drains it. No big deal, right? Well, if you think about it, what if you filled up your bath tub with water, put your clothes in, swirled them around with some soap, rinsed them, and then drained the water. Would you consider that clean?
The correct answer is no. Your machine needs help and since we can’t add anything to the mechanical process, you will need to help from a chemical one. That’s where all the extra additives such as bleach and OxyClean come in.
The big things to remember about your washing machine is that it has settings for cycles and temperature. That’s all we really care about. I’m sure fancy newer machines have all sorts of over-complicated shit, but that isn’t really necessary. Cycle, spin, and temperature – that’s all we care about.
The cycles are directly related to what you’re putting into the machine so let’s briefly go over our categories.
Since all your stuff goes into the same cycle, sort it first. It’s actually quicker and it’s better if you want clean(er) clothes. Sure, any animal can shove all their clothes into the wash but why bother if it really won’t be any cleaner and prolly won’t smell as good either.
White Socks & Towels – Towels are always washed hot. Unless you have some crazy expensive, fancy towels (you prolly don’t or you don’t bathe with them and they just take up space on a rack in your guest bathroom), you will wash on hot and use bleach. Why? Mildew and bacteria are a thing, ladies and gentlemen. White socks are bleachable as well, so toss them in with your towels.
Synthetics – Read the damn label. Unless its 100% cotton, it’s likely a synthetic blend or wool – in either case, you need to separate these pain-in-the-ass fabrics out. Synthetics MELT – they are plastic, basically. That’s why you sweat so badly in them. Wool will shrink. Always wash these on delicate cycle and cold – and never put these fabrics into the dryer, unless on a seriously low setting.
Delicates – even if cotton, you may have expensive work stuff, you may want to wash some clothing on a delicate cycle. Examples of delicates are anything I paid over $20 for and it’s for work. You will still have to figure out a temp setting, so delicate synthetics and delicate cottons could be sub-piles. Don’t worry, it wont be too complicated. If you don’t have enough stuff for sub piles, then all your delicates will go on the lowest common denominator – aka, if you have 1 synthetic, then everything is washed on cold. If it’s all cotton, it’s washed warm, but delicate cycle.
T-Shirts, jeans, cotton clothing – the big thing to remember about t-shirts is that if it has a silkscreened logo (most t-shirts do), turn the shirt inside out. The oscillation of the machine produces friction and over time will take the designs right off.
Black articles of clothing – if you want to be fancy, you can separate out any black t-shirts and black items of clothing so you wash them on cold. If you want a black article of clothing to stay black and not fade, this is how you do it.
Washing Your Clothes
Okay – so how do we actually go about washing? There’s a couple schools of thought. You can toss all your stuff into the machine, hit the temp and cycles, and then hit start.
Sometimes machines have all these slots and cups and if you’re wise you’ll use them. Don’t overfill though – or you’ll be stuck cleaning that crap out eventually.
Put your sorted pile into the machine. Fill up the main detergent area with your LIQUID detergent. If you persist in using those Tide pods (or any pods), you’re on your own.
If you’re doing a load that does not include whites, use Clorox 2 for colors in the bleach compartment. If it’s whites, use liquid bleach. *Note – don’t ever put bleach directly on clothes. You will get blotchy stains and can ruin your clothes.
Dump in your OxyClean directly into the bin.
Skip fabric softener. All it does is add chemicals to your clothes that I BELIEVE cause cancer (I have zero proof of this) and it just makes your clothes dirty – what’s the point of that?
Now, depending on what you put into the machine, that depends on the cycle and temp. Here’s a cheat sheet:
Whites = hot with low splash bleach and OxyClean.
Normal stuff = warm with Clorox2 and OxyClean. **If you don’t want your jeans to shrink, wash them cold**
Dark/Black items and delicates and jeans you dont want shrinking at all = cold with Clorox 2 and OxyClean.
A Note about Laundry Sanitizer
There is absolutely no reason not to use sanitizer. We are in contact with bacteria constantly and not even a cycle in the washer will kill all bacteria. Look, you want your clothes CLEAN and smelling good. Use this. Just dump it in with your liquid bleach or detergent. Just make sure you get it into every load.
Step 2 in all of this is drying the clothes you finally washed properly. Let’s explain how to use this machine.
Dryer cycles matter! Just like the cycles on the washing machine, you need to know what each cycle of the dryer does. Generally speaking, you only have the following cycles on your dryer:
Air Fluff – no heat, can remove wrinkles, dust, and lint. You will likely never use this setting for much of anything.
Permanent Press – medium heat, best for T-shirts and anything you don’t want fading.
Delicates – Most of the time, if it’s a delicate, I don’t dry them. I hang them on a hanger and wait for them to air dry. They are delicates, after all. However, if you want to trust the dryer to them, this is for your delicate items.
Regular – high heat, will dry your clothes pretty quickly, but if you care about the clothes you’re drying, you may want to use permanent press. This setting will fade colors and damage any “embellishments” on your clothes. Whites and towels are good for this setting.
Timed Dry – see Regular, just for a set amount of time.
Steam – if you’ve left your clothes in the hamper for too long after drying them and they’re completely wrinkled, you can use the steam cycle. Careful – don’t use this for delicates.
So, use the above to figure out what you need for what you’ve washed.
Until next time, Aliens…