Doing your laundry is not rocket science however there are many things that you can do to make your clothes cleaner and last longer.
1. Sort carefully! Heavily soiled items need special treatment and should be washed separately from lightly soiled items. Since permanent press and knit fabrics have a tendency to absorb and hold certain soils and stains, these will also need to be washed separately from more heavily soiled items.
2. Pretreat Spots and soak soiled and stained items – Detergent, hand soap or pretreat products effectively pretreat most stains. To improve results soak with warm water for oily stains and cold for protein stains. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
3. Load Washer loosely – I know you want to get a big bank for your buck by shoving as much as possible into a washer. You aren’t doing yourself or your clothes any favors! There needs to be room between your clothes in order for the water and movement to get at them. If using a top load washer, place dry unfolded clothes loosely into the tub to the top row of holes for a full load. Front load washers can be loaded completely full, but not packed tightly.
4. Which Detergent and how much – Granular detergents are recinnebded for hard water conditions and loads containing muds or clay type soils. Liquid detergents dissolve better in cold water and work well in greasy/oily stains. If cleaning is not expected, use a different detergent! If your loads is really soiled you can use more detergent.
5. To bleach or not to bleach? Chlorine bleach is an excellent whitener, stain remover and disinfectant but use it carefully. Fabric damage will occur if you use it improperly or on the wrong fabric. Do not use it on wool, silk, mohair, spandex or non-colorfast fabrics. Non-chlorine or all-fabric bleach is milder than chlorine bleach. Its stain removal and whitening ability is limited however when used consistently all-fabric bleaches do help maintain overall whiteness. All fabric bleach can be used with all items and colors. It does not cause fabric damage. However, if poured directly on a fabric and left for a period of time, it may remove the color. In other words, don’t pour it directly on your laundry and walk away!
6. Drying Time – More often than not it seems like you end up waiting for clothes to finish drying. The larger the load, the longer it takes to dry. 6 bath towels (weigh 5 lbs.) will dry in a dryer in about 40-50 minutes. If you load the washer properly than transferring that load to the dryer will result in proper drying. Putting 1 or 2 items in a dryer will not make them dry efficiently. More items need to be added.
7. Those stubborn stains! Fabric Softener stains – that stuff you add to make your clothes softer can actually stain your clothes. If your clothes come out with a blotchy, greasy stain that is the color of your fabric softener this is what happened. Fabric softener sheets may also stain clothes with a streaky, translucent, oily stain. Both of these stains can be removed by rubbing the dampened stain with a bar soap (lux or ivory) and re-laundering.
Rust stains – Yellow, orange and red stains be caused by iron or manganese in the water supply or from rusty water heater pipes. Rust stains are NOT removed by chlorine bleach, instead they are made darker. A rust remover should be used.
Mildew stains – to remove mildew, pretreat the stains and launder in the hottest water appropriate for the item. Use chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric. If the stains remain, sponge with hydrogen peroxide, rinse and re-launder.
Colored stains – If the stain is blue, green, purple, pink red etc., it usually means dye from another garment washed in the same load transferred to this item since none of these colors. Unfortunately there is not much you can do. The manufacturer of the clothing did not do their job testing the dye to make sure this would not happen and or provide an accurate care label.
For detailed information on how to remove every crazy stain there is visit Stain-Guide.com.