Tips for laundry rookies
Whether you’ve just moved out on your own or you want to learn to take better care of your favourite clothes, these expert tips will turn you into a laundry pro in no time.
Read the label
The first commandment of laundry care is “Thou shalt read the label.” And there’s a reason: it’s the best way to figure out if things can go in the machine, have to be hand-washed, can go in the dryer, or if you should send them to the dry cleaner.
That big mustard splotch on your white dress or pizza grease splatter on your favourite jeans probably won’t come out in a regular wash cycle. But don’t write off the item as ruined just yet: squeeze a little Soak on the stain or spray on some stain remover, let it sit for a few minutes, then throw it in the machine for better results. Hit stains as soon as they happen.
Choose the right laundry soap
Not all detergents can go in all machines. Some are made for top-loaders, some for front-loaders – and there’s a difference between standard and high efficiency (HE) machines, too. Check the machine and the laundry soap before washing. And FYI – Soak can be used in HE and standard machines, and in top- and front-loaders. Just saying. Learn more about machine washing with Soak.
Use the right amount of laundry soap
Putting in a lot of detergent won’t get your clothes any cleaner…it’ll probably end up leaving residue. Generally, if the instructions refer to a “cup,” they’re talking about the one that came with the soap, not a standard measuring cup. And make sure you don’t fill the receptacle in the washing machine past the line, either.
Separate your whites and colours
Don’t want your white tees turning pink? Keep whites and lights (think greys and pale pinks) in one load and colourful clothes (red shirts, dark-wash jeans) in another. Most wash cycles involve some colour bleeding; You just don’t see it, because you aren’t in the washing machine. When you hand-wash, you might see more colour in the water than you were expecting and that’s okay. Not too sure about that new red sweatshirt? Hand-wash it on its own with Soak. You won’t waste an entire machine cycle on it, and will protect all your other clothes.
Keep your delicates safe
Bras, silks, satins, lingerie, pantyhose and anything lacy should also be washed separately. We recommend hand-washing, but you can also stow your delicates in an Eco Wash Bag to protect them from buttons, zippers and velcro. Underwire bras should never go in the machine, though: it’s hand-wash only for those babies. If you do put delicates in the machine, only a front-loader will do, and use cold water and the delicates cycle.
Get to know your machine cycles
How do you know if you should wash in hot, warm or cold water? Make cold your go-to: it uses less electricity, won’t shrink things like hot water, and is less likely to release dyes. Hot, on the other hand, is ideal for sheets and towels, and is great if you have allergies, since nothing kills dust mites and pollen like hot water.
Learn how to hand-wash
No need to be afraid! Hand-washing can be almost as easy as using a machine – especially if you use Soak. All you have to do is:
- Run some cool water into a basin or sink and add a capful of Soak
- Put your item in for 15 minutes
- Gently squeeze the water out (we love rolling items in a towel for a gentle and effective squeeze)– and you’re done! Soak’s no-rinse formulation lets you skip the rinsing step. Easy, right?
Don’t leave stuff in the machine
It’s easy to forget you’ve got laundry going, but leaving wet clothes for more than an hour or two can leave them smelling bad. If you do forget, run them through another cycle, which should be enough to get rid of the smell.
Leave the machine door open when you’re not using it
Front-loading machines are particularly bad for this: shutting the door seals in moistures, and makes things mildewy – and stinky. Leaving the door open lets it air dry. You’ll also need to clean the machine once in a while: run a cycle with no clothes, just laundry soap, or use baking soda and vinegar instead of detergent.
Dry things right
Not everything can go in the dryer! Read the label (back to that first commandment) to see if it’s safe. If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution. Line drying or laying an item flat to dry takes longer, but generally won’t harm it. Having a clothesline (indoors or out) or a drying rack is always a good plan.
Continue your laundry education
Learn more at Soak School! It’s your resource for everything from learning how to hand-wash to taking care of your wool sweaters to organizing your laundry room.
Small space laundry
When to dry clean