These days, your washing machine can clean almost anything you throw at it, and they’re much more efficient than their predecessors — but how do you know you’re getting everything right when you’re doing your laundry?
Choosing the right inputs to care for your clothes falls into three categories: load size, water temperature, and the cycle. Read on to learn how to make the right decision for each when cleaning your clothes at home or in a laundromat.
Adding too many clothes (or too little) can affect how well your washing machine agitates and cleans your laundry. That’s why selecting the proper load size is important: too much water and everything will be too wet for dryer, too little and you may not have clean clothes.
When selecting a load size for your washer, base your input on these guidelines:
- Super Large — Your washer is at full capacity
- Large — More than half of the washer is full
- Medium — Roughly half of the washer is full
- Small — About one-quarter of the washer is full
Your next consideration should be the temperature you wash your fabrics at. This area is a common way to inadvertently damage clothing, or even leave them under-cleaned and soiled. Remember the following guidelines when selecting water temperatures:
- Hot — Select this option for white, cotton clothes that are worn close to the body. This also includes sheets. You can also use hot water when cleanliness is more important than color, as it’s better for removing stains.
- Warm — Warm water is good for most synthetic fabrics and is typically used with the permanent press or other wrinkle-minimizing cycle choices. Also ideal for removing stains on colorful clothes.
- Cold — Use this option for delicate fabrics and dark clothes, or anything with minimal soil levels. This option causes the least amount of harm to all fabrics and will help save you money as well.
Last but not least, you have to select a washing cycle that properly cleans and cares for your clothes. Many homes leave their washer in a single setting, but this may not be cleaning everything as it should. Here’s what you should do:
- Permanent Press (or similar) — This cycle is meant to help prevent wrinkles in everyday wear, casual clothes, or darker fabrics. It’s good for synthetics and fabric blends as well.
- Normal — Use the “normal” setting on your washer for cotton clothes, or if you have a fabric blend that needs extra washing power.
- Heavy Duty — This setting is meant for tougher, sturdier fabrics found in jeans or towels, but can also be used to provide an extra lift on tough stains.
Now that you know more about the different options on a modern washer, you’re better prepared to take care of your clothes and keep them in better shape, longer.