How To Properly Sort, Wash And Dry Laundry – A Step-By-Step Guide

Washing different kinds of fabric

Before you begin washing, you need to know what kind of fabric you’re going to be dealing with and what wash mode you need. You can usually find all the information on the washing label, but if you don’t see it or it has worn off after repeated washing, here are a few rules:

Cotton: wash at 30-90°C (depending on color of fabric); dry at medium temperature.

Flax: Wash at a maximum temperature of 40°C; tumble-dry at a minimum temperature.

Nylon: Wash at max. 40°C; tumble dry at medium or low temperature.

Polyester: wash at max. 40°C; tumble dry at medium or low temperature.

Silk: Delicate washing up to 40°C; cannot be tumble dried.

Wool: gentle washing at a maximum temperature of 30 °C; tumble drying prohibited.

Laundry sorting

Sorting laundry is a multi-step process. First, all laundry should be sorted into three categories: dark, light and coloured. Dark refers to deep shades such as black, red, navy blue or brown. White, beige and pastel-coloured clothes can be thrown into the light category, while the coloured category covers all brightly coloured items. How to wash multi-coloured clothes, such as a striped shirt, can be determined by a simple method: drop a drop of water on the fabric and blot it with a paper towel. If the color doesn’t wash off, you can wash the garment with light-coloured linen, following the recommendations on the labels.

The laundry should then be sorted by fabric type. For example, wool and cotton items should be washed separately because they require different water temperatures, wash times and spin speeds. Washing clothes together with bath towels is also not a good idea. The latter loses lint, which stays on the rest of the garment. Also, laundry that is heavily stained or smelly should be put in a separate pile.

Prepping your clothes

  • To ensure your laundry stays in tip-top condition, do the following before loading the machine:
  • Take everything out of the pockets and fasten the buttons and zips. This keeps the shape of the garment intact;
  • Turn clothes with embroidery, prints or jewelry (such as rhinestones) inside out. Clothes with stubborn dirt on the collar and cuffs can also be turned inside out;
  • For delicate garments, place them in a wire mesh bag. This will help protect fabrics from damage;
  • Meter the required amount of detergent or liquid detergent using the measuring cup. Put the wash capsules straight into the drum before loading.

Selecting a wash programme

When choosing a wash programme, it’s important to know the difference beforehand. You can find the right information in the washing machine’s manual. However, you can follow the general rule of thumb: the denser the fabric and the heavier the soiling, the longer the programme and the higher the water temperature should be. The basic programmes on most washing machines are similar:

  • A programme for delicate fabrics involves using cold water and spinning at a low speed. However, the water temperature and spin speed can often be adjusted;
  • A wash cycle each day usually lasts less than one hour. The water temperature does not exceed 40 °C and the spin speed is low to minimize creasing;
  • The intensive wash cycle is suitable for heavily soiled items. The programme includes a cold water presoak and a wash cycle from 60 to 90 °C;
  • The programme for bedding can include a second rinse and a high speed spin.

Draining and washing

When you’ve finished washing, try to get the laundry out of the machine as soon as possible. If you’re using a tumble dryer, choose a setting based on the type of fabric and how moist it is. When the garments are dry, proceed with ironing. Here it’s also important to choose the right temperature. Linen and cotton can take the heat and heavy steam pressure, whilst synthetics, wool and silk need lower temperatures and less steam.

Washing machine and dryer 

All domestic appliances require care. Washing and drying machines are no exception. Residues of detergent, fabric softener and junk built up in the washer-dryer can eventually give rise to mould and a musty smell. Remove any litter or pet hair after each wash. Once a month you should carry out a thorough cleaning with a special detergent.

When it comes to the dryer, you should clean the lint filter after every load, and once a month the chamber itself. The chamber is easiest to clean with a hoover. Move the dryer away from the wall from time to time so that you can easily vacuum behind and under the machine. Be sure to check the outside ventilation for leaves or debris that could block the air flow.

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Author: Lorene Mitts

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