Keeping your clothes clean and well-maintained is one of the most basic life skills that every adult should know how to do. Washing clothes might seem easy, right? After all, it’s just putting the clothes in the washing machine and then the dryer. And while many people do just that, you should know that it is worth learning more about the proper way of cleaning clothes so that they can last longer.
This step seems pretty straightforward but there is a lot more to laundry than you might expect.
First, you should sort your clothes before you put them all in randomly. Separate them first by fabric and then by color. Sorting by fabric means sorting your clothes according to the washing machine setting (like temperature) they are supposed to be washed in. Generally, you put heavier and thicker materials, like denim or bath towels, together as they need to be washed in higher settings. Underwear, thin tank tops, and blouses can be put together in a delicate washing cycle. Just remember to use a separate mesh bag for your bras and panties to further protect them from damage.
Some items, like wool sweaters, need to be washed by hand (or using the hand-washing setting on your washing machine) to avoid damage. If you don’t know what setting to use take a look at the label. It will usually have all the information you need. Heavy-stained items will benefit from soaking before the laundry.
Then, separate the piles by color into dark-colored, light-colored, and white clothing. Dark colors, especially if the item is new and has never been washed before, can dye the material of your lighter clothes. If you don’t want to separate or don’t have enough clothes in one of the piles to warrant a separate laundry cycle, you can also use dye catcher products.
Now that you have successfully washed your clothes you need to dry them. The quickest way is to put them in the dryer and that is what most people do nowadays. You should know, however, that dryers are very damaging to clothes and can cause them to age prematurely.
It is much better to let the clothes air dry. You can use hangers for that but that tends to take up a lot of space and can cause some items to stretch. A clothes drying rack is a much better choice, especially if you have space to put it outside, like on a veranda.
Ironing is a hated chore by many but it has plenty of beneficial effects. Its main purpose is to get rid of wrinkles to make your clothes look well-maintained. You want to do it right after your clothes dry, or even when they are still slightly damp.
For effective ironing, you will need a good iron and the best ironing board you can get. Ironing also improves the quality of the clothes by reducing shrinkage and helping the fibers in the fabric stay fresh and damage-free. This will in turn make your clothes last longer, saving you money in the long run.