Have you ever woken up in the morning and realized that your clothes were still dirty from last night? Or have you ever started your laundry at night and when you wake up, found out that the clothes only got so clean and it was better to just redo them?
This doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. Sometimes the stains are just too much for one washing cycle. Well, that may or may not be your fault (cough-eating-while-watching-Netflix). And then there’s always those times where we start our laundry late at night and forget about it…
Well, AbbotCrafts have compiled a list of steps on how to get perfectly clean clothes every time:
1. Determine what the stain is. Is it oil, dirt, or rust?
Oil stains are some of the toughest to get out. You’ll want to pre-treat these, which means you should treat it before washing. A trick for this is to put all your clothes in one wash cycle and then detergent over everything else (including the loads that don’t have oil stains).
2. Treat your laundry machine correctly.
A few months ago I came home to find my mom with no less than three pairs of jeans balled up in her washer while water slowly poured onto our floor (it’s called an agitator washer; if yours doesn’t have anything like this you shouldn’t worry). It seems like common sense but I’m throwing it out anyway: only put your clothes in the washer when there is enough water to get them wet.
Then pre-treat or wash right away with soap and water to remove any excess dirt. If you wait, the dirt acts like little rocks to help grind away at your expensive clothes (and damage other stuff).
3. Put your clothes in the dryer immediately after washing (for 1 cycle).
This is one of the best ways to make sure that all your laundry comes out clean; if he clothes are still damp after washing, they will never fully dry in the dryer. Plus, this reduces static cling! And who wants to deal with static Static can be an amazing pain.
4. Add water to your cap if you’re using powdered detergent or fabric softener, don’t pour it in!
You’ll waste a ton of product if you do this. Plus, this also helps you avoid spilling stuff on the floor (even more common sense).
5. Use the correct temperatures for every piece of laundry.
If you have something really delicate (like silk), make sure to wash it at a lower temperature than usual and skip the dryer completely (that’s right; hang them up to dry… unless they’re too wrinkly then iron them). Also, warmer waters won’t necessarily get your clothes cleaner; hot water is actually better for killing bacteria and getting rid of stains but it doesn’t do anything for the dirt particles.
6. Shrink your clothes in cold water or with ice cubes (get creative)
Warm water is perfect for making cotton shrink but it’s not very good at cleaning clothes. If you wash your clothes with ice cubes, you’ll get rid of dirt and bacteria that normal washing can’t touch… along with their colors! So if you want to keep certain pieces looking nice, wash them in cold water instead of warm/hot/cold/ice cube-water.
7. Use a laundry mat only as a last resort
After reading this article you won’t have to ever use one of those laundromats ever again! Just kidding they’re still great places to wash your clothes if…
a. Your machine doesn’t have a built-in agitator (where the water is) or it’s broken
You know, like my mom’s. Yes, I’ve already mentioned this but there are still people out there who don’t know about this feature! And now you can save them from all that sadness and heartbreak… unless they’re just lazy b. They live in an apartment with really old machines that use cold water only
There’s nothing wrong with using cold water to wash clothes; you’ll save tons of energy and money by doing so! But washing clothes at high temperatures for extra cleaning power is often necessary (especially when dealing with oil stains).
8. Use soap sparingly.
I know it’s tempting but don’t drench your clothes in soap; mix the right amount with water first, then put some (but not too much) into your machine and add your clothes after. This reduces residue build-up inside the washer and keeps your clothes cleaner longer (that’s why you should let laundry sit for at least 30 minutes before washing).
9. If you want whiter whites without bleach, add vinegar to the wash cycle (not the rinse cycle!)
Vinegar is a natural product that helps keep colors looking bright and clean without staining like bleach does. What’s great about this is you can use it in both hot and cold water! Just make sure to only add it to the wash cycle and not the rinse cycle.
10. Use a water softener if your clothes are coming out looking gray
You know how sometimes you wear clothes and they come out looking gray? It might be because of the minerals in your tap water. Don’t worry, there’s an easy solution! All we need to do is get our white again without using bleach (just make sure not too much vinegar).
11. If you use powder detergent, simply pour it directly onto clothes
If you really want to save time and energy (which saves money), skip the cap! Just make sure to only put enough on clothes so that they’re fully coated; this keeps your laundry looking fresh and clean for longer periods of time (and reduces static cling even more).
And if all else fails… shop smart. More importantly, read labels carefully before buying anything. You wouldn’t believe how many products are created specifically for hard-to-clean fabrics like silk or suede; make sure to take advantage of them!
12. The Drying
Some items, such as nylon and silk, can’t be dried in the dryer unless you’re sure that there is no residual lint. To check for lint, place a clean white cloth over the fabric in question and run your hand against it in a downward motion . If anything comes off onto the cloth, then you should line-dry or hang-dry instead. Otherwise, toss your clothes into the dryer on low heat with medium tumble time to prevent shrinking. Now let the machine do its work!
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about how to get your clothes clean – even if they’re really messy. Just remember to follow the tips and tricks we outlined above, and your clothes will be looking (and smelling) great in no time!