10 easy steps how to wash a load of laundry

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Laundry 101

If you're looking into how to do a load of laundry for the first time, then you've come to the right spot. It might seem like an intimidating task with all the different fabrics, detergents, machines and whatnots. And even if you think you are bound to mess it up, here are 10 basic steps how to wash a load of laundry to help you out.

How to wash a load of laundry with these 10 easy steps

1. Read the laundry labels

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The easiest way is to read the care labels on all your clothes. It will tell you first off if the garment can be machine washed or not. In fact, all labels will tell you how best to care for your clothes. You will need to set aside clothes that are labelled "wash separately”, “hand wash” and “dry clean only” otherwise they might end up damaged.

2. Sort by colour

Yes, you do need to sort out the dark from your light coloured clothes in the laundry pile. Light coloured clothes include whites, pastels, light greys and prints with a white background. Dark coloured clothes like black, red, navy, brown, dark grey or any other dark colour
that run the risk of running in the wash should be washed separately. You will also need to set aside clothes that are stained or require some scrubbing.

3. Sort by fabric

For example, in the whites pile, you need to separate towels and sheets from apparel. Unless of course, you want a lot of lint ending up on your clothes. Likewise, for the dark colours pile, you will need to separate t-shirts and jeans from lighter clothes like blouses and dress shirts.

The reason for this so that you can use the right water temperature if your washing machine has this function and to optimize drying cycles. However, if you're in a rush and your machine is barely even full, you can still wash it together. Just be sure to use the right cycle for the most delicate garment in that load and to keep whites and darks separate.

4. Pick the right detergent

You can pretty much use any all-purpose laundry detergent unless you're washing delicates will require a detergent that is milder. Always read the directions. It will tell you how much detergent you need for the size of your current wash load.

For clothes with stains, spray on some pre-wash solution as soon as you can so that the stains do not set in. You can also apply a stain remover or rub in a bit of laundry detergent to the said area before adding it to the wash.

Tip: Always add the detergent into the drum or dispenser with some water before loading it so that there won't be any residue on your clothing.

5. Set the water temperature and cycle

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How to wash a load of laundry especially when it comes to the right temperature? Unless you took a nose dive into the mud with your clothes, washing in cold water would suffice.

Only cotton underwear and bed sheets require high-temperature hot water to get rid of body oil. Towels should also be washed using the highest recommended temperature on their labels to sanitize them. Rinsing should always be with cold water.

The most common cycle you would use on a daily basis would be the "normal" cycle. However, you might also have your own presets as well as "delicate" settings for certain garments.  Reserve the "heavy duty" cycles for jeans and towels.

6. Final check

When loading the washer, do a double check to make sure that the laundry is sorted out correctly. One stray garment that runs could very well ruin your entire load and none of us wants that!

Check that all pockets are empty - no stray name cards, cash, coins, tissues or any other pieces of paper. We all know what sort of disaster that would cause. Remove all accessories like pins, belts and jewellery. Zip up all the zippers, do up the buttons and make sure there are no lose hooks that would catch on to other garments.

7. Load your washing machine

Load your clothes into the washing machine one at a time making sure to loosen them up in the machine. Never overload and cram too many clothes into the washing machine at once. There should be room for the garments to move about in the water.

Other tips on how to wash a load of laundry especially when you don't want them to fade, is to turn them inside out. You can also use laundry netting to protect fabric finishes as well.

8. Unload your washing machine

Unload your wet laundry as soon as your washing machine is done to prevent the build-up of wrinkles and mildew. Hang your laundry to dry or you can load them into the dryer too.

9. Load your dryer

Dry all lightweight items together and heavy fabric separately. Refer to labels and choose the correct temperature for each. This is to prevent your clothes from shrinking and damage.

While having a dryer is convenient, use only when necessary. Hanging your laundry to dry saves energy. is less damaging to your clothes and far more cost-effective.

10. Fold/hang and put your laundry away

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Don't leave your clothes in the dryer or you might have to iron all the wrinkles away. When taking your dry laundry out, smooth them out flat then fold or hang them before putting everything away neatly.

Try not to stress too much about how to wash a load of laundry. Mistakes can still happen to the best of us. But if you follow these simple steps on how to wash a load of laundry, you can make it so much easier.

Read also: 13 Laundry tips during the monsoon