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November 02, 2005

DIY: First Time Away from Home? How to Wash Your Clothes!

Today's "How to" article courtesy of English-blog contributor Kashiff M.:

Washing and Drying: A Tool that Everyone Should Know

Many college students say that they do not know how to wash their own clothes. This is unbelievable, considering how easy the process is. On top of being easy, knowing how to washing clothes is a useful tool. For those who may not be so lucky to have a butler or maid, they need to know how to wash clothes. Knowing how to wash clothes is a tool that will be very useful in the future for many people. Washing clothes can be easily taught to anyone who wants to learn . . .

. . . The first, and maybe the most vital, step in washing and drying is to sort the clothes. If the clothes are not properly sorted out, there is a great chance that they will not come out correctly. For instance, mixing a red shirt with white socks would result in pink socks. Another situation where sorting is important is when determining what detergent to use. Washing black or dark colored clothes with bleach will result in white, bleach stains. Separate clothes by putting dark colors with other dark colors, and whites with light colors. Once the sorting is complete, the next step is to sort the clothes again, this time by type.

The types of materials that clothes are made out of are very important. Types of materials range from silk and rayon, which are fragile, to wool which is strong but not as strong as polyester and cotton. Keeping like materials is important, because one article of clothing can turn out fine while the other is shredded. In contrast, washing an article in a delicate cycle may not remove deep stains. Considering the make-up of the clothing is another essential step to washing clothes. The last step before the actual washing process can occur is to determine the best detergent to use.

Choosing which type of detergent to use is the last critical step before the washing process can begin. Washing instructions are often placed on the tags of clothing. Here is where what detergent to use can be determined. If a tag says to wash with like colors, it usually means to wash with like colors, using non-bleach detergent. Bleach should only be used on white and other light colored clothing. Be sure to look for color-safe bleach also, as this will not harm colors. Now that the clothes are sorted by color, type, and the detergent is picked, the washing process can now start.

The biggest part in the washing process is actually washing. The first step before actually washing clothes is to select a cycle. Most fairly new washers have two main cycles, permanent press and delicate. Permanent press should be used for clothes with stains, or clothes that are tough like cotton and polyester. The delicate cycle is best for washing clothes that do not have stains or clothes that are fragile like silk and rayon. After the cycle is chosen, the amount of water and temperature should be determined.

The temperature and amount of water in the washer establish how the clothes will turn out. For example, hot water would be more effective in removing stains than cold water. The downside to this is hot water tends to shrink clothing while cold water does not. Switching the water amount to high might be more suitable for large loads. More water will allow the clothes to become cleaner in larger loads. More water is not necessary for small loads, because there are less articles of clothing. Once the cycle is picked, the water temperature is correct, the amount of water is decided, and the washer door is closed, the clothes are ready to be washed.

Upon completion of the washing process, the drying process may begin. When doing the drying process, sorting clothes should always be kept in mind, similar to washing. Drying clothes with a temperature too high may result in color loss or shrinkage. On the other hand, drying clothes with a temperature too low may result in damp clothes. Once the washer has stopped, the clothes should be removed and sorted similar to the process before washing.

Sorting clothes is an important rule to remember when drying, because it makes the process turn out the right way. Since the clothes should already be organized by color and type, this step should not be major. Keeping like colors is important, because color change can occur in the drying process just like in the washing process. After the clothes are grouped by color, they should be organized by material again. Now that the clothes are sorted by color and type, the drying temperature and time can be elected.

Picking a drying temperature and length are key components to the drying process. The temperature of the drying cycle determines how dry the clothes will be. A higher temperature should be selected for dark clothes. The higher the temperature, the faster the clothes will get dried. Large loads may also require high temperatures, seeing as though there are more articles that need to be dried. The length of the drying cycle also plays a major role in the drying process. The longer the clothes are in the dryer, the better they will be dried. It is important to remember not to dry the clothes too long, because they can shrink or become ruined in other ways. Light materials such as silk scarves do not need to be dried very long, because their materials absorb heat well. Once the length of the cycle is picked, the temperature is selected, the clothes are organized properly, and the dryer door is closed, the drying process can begin.

After the dryer has stopped, the process of washing and drying is complete. Through a few basic steps, washing and drying can be completed. One should not know how to wash and dry their clothes, because the process is quick, easy, and will help one maintain good personal hygiene. It is a simple process than can be completed by following the previous steps.

~Kashiff M.

*NOTE: For more English-Blog DIY or "How to . . ." articles, please click HERE!

Comments for Kashiff's article "Washing and Drying: A Tool that Everyone Should Know?" Please leave them below:

Posted by lhobbs at November 2, 2005 11:18 PM

Readers' Comments:

I'm in Montana and you can dry year round here. In the winter you have to get your load out on the line early in the day, and thick items will pbroably need a bit of additional time on a rack indoors. Sometimes I wish it weren't so dry here, but it's great for laundry ;)1. What kind of laundry detergent do you use? Is it an eco-friendly brand or traditional?I've tried a lot of things, and made my own out of that soap/washing soda/etc recipe online. It's only so-so for getting things clean so I mainly use Seventh Generation HE soap. I just use the smallest amount I can that still gets things clean. I use Ecover softener on the items that would otherwise be full of static or super scratchy. 2. Do you worry about the plastic packaging and choose cardboard packaging and powders instead?No, I have stressed about the laundry as much as I'm willing to at this point. 3. Do you have a high efficiency washer (HE)?Yes, and it's a front-loading machine as well. The downside to that is the gasket/drain hose situation. I tried all the 'green' methods to keep it clean and fresh and none of them worked. I very grumpily use the HE washing machine cleaner in it once a month. (and yes, the door is *always* left open for the machine to dry out. I can't imagine how horrific the mildew musty odor would be in a more humid climate.)4. Do you wash your clothes in cold water?Some of them. Others I wash in warm. I almost always rinse in cold, unless there's a load of something that was particularly fouled. With kids and pets you sometimes have gross messes.5. Do you ever line dry your clothes?Fairly often, except during times when I'm swamped- it takes me a lot more time to line dry except during the heat of the summer, so if I've got too much else on my plate I just use my dryer.6. Do you live in an area with a clothesline ban?No. It was one of the things on my list to avoid when we were looking at houses. It meant we got an older home but the freedom of not having an HOA has been worth it. 7. Are you happy with your laundry routine or do you wish you could do more to lower your impact in that area?For the immediate moment I'm satisfied, but I do want to look into more ways to be less-impact about it (and save money). I saw a really cool hand-crank washing machine at a living history farm, but honestly I'd rather not use something like that unless I had no alternative. ~Maeve

Posted by: Sahada at October 27, 2012 04:59 AM

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