For the new housewife, husband or student just leaving home, learning how to sort your washing or laundry correctly is a skill that will keep your clothing, linen and towels in good condition for a very long time.
Your washing pile should be sorted in the following:
1. Towels & Tea Towels
Towels should always be washed on their own as they tend to lose fluff and will ruin your other items of clothing if all washed together. Tea towels tend to be very grubby from work in the kitchen and can contain food particles, so it is important that any excess food is ‘scraped’ off the tea towel before popping in with your other towels.
If you have bought brand new towels, wash them separately first with a 1/2 cup of salt to ensure they keep their colour and don’t stain your others towels. Using a cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener will keep them from going stiff when hung out in the sun. As nice and fluffy as towels seem in the dryer, they take a very very long time to dry.
Always try and hang white towels in direct sun and coloured towels in the shade. To prevent towels going stiff remove them from the line as soon as they are dry.
White clothing should always be kept separate from coloured clothing to prevent your whites from going grey and dull. Wash in cold water on a long cycle with a cup of white vinegar. Always hang your whites out of the sun to prevent yellowing and take off the line as soon as they are dry.
Delicate fabrics, hosiery, bras, undies and any lingerie should ideally be hand washed. To hand wash, fill a tub with lukewarm water and use a gentle soap to wash any obvious grotty spots. Rinse well with fresh cold clean water and hang to dry.
If you don’t have time to do a hand wash – place your bra’s and very delicate fabrics into a wash bag or pillowcase. Wash with a gentle soap such as Lux flakes and on the delicate cycle. To try, either hang in a shady place or lay them flat on a fresh and clean towel in the shape they are worn.
HINT: Wash underwire bras in the shower at night. When having your shower, rinse the bra under the warm water and use a gentle soap (like Dove) to wash the underwire and the strap that goes under your arm. Hang wet over the top of the shower door.
Woollens are a tricky item to wash as they tend to lose their shape easily and can shrink if washed on the incorrect setting. Always wash your woollens in cold water with a wool wash. We have a great recipe on how to make wool wash at home if you don’t have any.
Woollens need to be washed on the ‘woollens’ setting if you machine has one, or delicate if it does not. As soon as your machine is finished, remove your woollens and lay them out flat on a clean dry towel in an airy place out of direct sunlight to dry. Allowing them to dry this way ensures they keep their shape.
Most of your day to day washing will be coloured clothing. Look over the clothing first to check for any obvious stains (especially if you are washing children’s clothing) and give a good spray with stain remover just before placing into the machine. If you have an insane amount of washing, you can sort them further into reds, blacks etc.
Check the washing instructions on any new items of clothing you haven’t washed before and wash on a normal setting with warm water. Hang out of direct sunlight if you can or remove them from the sun as soon as they are dry to prevent fading etc.
6. Sheets, Beddings
Bedding should be washed weekly in hot to very hot water. Hot water ensures you kill off any dust mites that will have accumulated in the bedding over the week. You should also wash your bedding if your family have been wormed or if headlice has been treated. Don’t forget to include your pillowcase.
Latex pillows can be machine washed when required. Try to only wash them twice yearly and hang them in direct sunlight until totally dry.
7. Jeans, Heavy Duty Clothing, Workwear
Jeans should always be washed inside out to keep the colour from fading. Always wash jeans separately to your colours and whites as they do tend to bleed colour and can be very rough on other clothing. Workwear should be washed with your jeans – spray any stains with a good stain remover first. Wash in cold water on a normal cycle.
If the workwear has grease staining, wash them separate to the jeans. To remove grease, add a tiny dollop of washing up liquid on the grease mark. Use a bit of warm water to make it ‘lather up’ a little before washing as usual. The washing up liquid will dissolve the grease in the wash.
Hang jeans and workwear out of direct sunlight. Peg your jeans at the feet end to prevent obvious ‘peg marks’ along the waist line.
We also have a few great laundry related posts such as: