Learning how to wash clothes is an important step if you ever want to be really independent.
Taking the washing home to mum is all well and good, but believe me, once you and all of your siblings have left home, it won’t be long before your mother finds new and more exciting ways to spend her time!
Collecting and Sorting Your Laundry
Before you get started to check through the house or apartment and find all of the items that need to be washed.
This will include any dirty clothes, bed sheets, bath towels, hand towels, tea towels etc.
Don’t forget to check under the bed and inside your shoes (a couple of my kids had a bad habit of putting their dirty socks inside their shoes!)
Once you have gathered up all the washing, you need to sort them into piles. Each pile will be a separate load (particularly if you are machine washing). Most of your items should fit into one of these categories:
- Lights and whites
- Brights and colours
If you are not sure which pile to put an item in, check the label on the garment. It should give you an idea of which method of washing you should use for that particular item.
Washing by Hand
You might find that the best way to wash woollens or delicates is by hand. The instructions on how to wash wool can also be used for washing your delicates by hand.
Washing in a Machine
Each pile should be a separate load in your washing machine.
If you are not sure which cycle to use for a particular load, see if you can find the booklet that came with the washing machine. Most manufacturers will provide a guide as to which cycle is the most appropriate for different types of loads.
Some of the major manufacturers include a guide on how to wash clothes in their machines, so it is well worth a look.
You can check online for a copy of the washing machines manual if you can’t find your copy – it is amazing what you can find online these days!
Some how to wash clothes ‘don’ts’:
Don’t wash your towels and sheets together, unless you don’t mind fluff all over your sheets and you don’t mind ironing them!
Don’t wash new brightly coloured items with lights or whites, unless you don’t mind your white business shirt coming out of the wash a motley pink (or blue or green) colour!
Don’t wash wool garment or delicates in with the rest of the wash, unless you like your wool jumpers with a felted look and your delicates with lovely holes or tears in them!
Don’t overload the machine. You want enough room in the machine for the clothing to agitate properly if you want the clothes to come out cleaner than when they went in!
Drying Your Clothes
If at all possible, dry your laundry outside in the sun particularly if you have used a laundry detergent or soaker that has an oxygenated bleach.
The sunlight activates the bleach and as a result, your laundry will come off the clothesline cleaner and fresher than they would if you just threw them in the dryer.
If you are worried about your laundry feeling stiff when they come off the clothesline (can happen with towels and other cotton or linen items) you can fix this by finishing them off in the dryer for 10 minutes or so.
Last Step – Fold and Put Away
The last step in how to wash clothes is to fold your laundry and to put it all away. I find it is best to do this as your garments come out of the dryer or off the line. If you leave them in the laundry basket, they will become crinkled and in all likelihood, they will require ironing.
For those items that are going to need to be ironed anyway (although why you would buy garments that need ironing in the first place is a good question to ask yourself), put them on a hanger until you can get the iron out. Hanging them will help to reduce the amount of crinkling and creases that you have to deal with.