Laundry is one of the most monotonous tasks we have to perform every day, so it’s always great to find ways to make it easier. According to Canstar Blue’s recent survey of over 700 New Zealanders, almost one-third of us have ruined clothes in the washing process. So whether it’s making your washing faster or cleaning your clothes more thoroughly than ever, here are eight tips for making your washing day a bit less of a chore.
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Some clothing items can’t go in the washing machine at all – although a reasonable proportion of us are presumably ignorant of that fact, with 35% of Canstar Blue survey respondents admitting that they ignore care labels and wash all their clothes on the same setting. Seriously, don’t do that! Whenever you buy something new, read the clothing care label sewn on the inside. It could end up saving you quite a bit of money on otherwise-ruined clothes!
Divide and conquer
Unless you want most of your clothes to end up looking uniformly grey, the first and most fundamental thing you have to do is separate your washing into like colours. White and lights make one load, and darks make the other. It’s not rocket science! If you only have a few dark items (not enough for a load of washing), then hand wash them instead. Whatever you do, don’t throw just that one dark item into an otherwise-white wash.
Hand wash new clothes at least once
Quite often with new clothes, particularly darker colours, they will lose some of their colour in the first couple of washes. So it can be a good idea to hand wash those new items the first couple of times. Using cold water can also help reduce the risk of colour loss.
Separate by type of fabric
In addition to thinking about colour, you sometimes also need to separate clothes by type of fabric. That’s because sheets, towels and heavy-duty clothes such as jeans can tolerate a harder wash cycle than lingerie and silky clothes. You can buy special washing care bags for more delicate items, if you do wish to include them in a harder wash.
Choose the right cycle
Chances are your machine has a number of different wash cycles. Choosing the right one for the type (and level of dirtiness) of your clothes can make a big difference. Generally, the dirtier your clothes, the more intensive the wash cycle will need to be – although ensure that the cycle you use is within the care limits that the clothing can tolerate. Hot water (as opposed to cold) can also be effective at cleaning up dirt and smells.
Yes, it’s tempting, especially if there are just a couple of extra items that don’t quite fit. But overloading your washing machine means that you’re likely to end up with one large load of not-quite-clean clothes, which sort of defeats the purpose. Almost half of the Canstar Blue survey respondents do more than five loads of washing each week – so chances are, if you just put those extra one or two items aside, there’ll be an opportunity to add them into the machine in the near future.
Read the washing detergent instructions
When it comes to laundry detergent, you can definitely have too much of a good thing! Read the instruction on the container to work out the right amount of detergent for the size of your washing load.
Hang them on the line ASAP
Once your washing machine cycle has finished, get the clothes out as soon as possible and hang them on the line. If you leave them sitting in the machine for an hour or two after the cycle finishes, you’ll find that the clothes are far more wrinkled than they would otherwise be.
Sure, washing clothes is a drudge chore – but at least if you get it right the first time, it makes it (slightly) more worthwhile.