How To Do Laundry

How To Do Laundry (Comprehensive Guide)

Learning how to do laundry is not difficult, thanks to modern fabrics, detergents, and machines. By following these 10 basic steps and laundry hacks, you can ensure clean clothes every time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Follow these 10 basic steps and laundry hacks for clean clothes every time.
  • Check the care labels on your garments and linens before doing laundry.
  • Sort your laundry by color and fabric type for optimal cleaning.
  • Choose the right laundry detergent based on your washer load size.
  • Consider the water temperature that best suits your garments.

Understanding Laundry Labels and Fabric Care

When it comes to doing laundry, understanding the care labels on your garments and linens is crucial. These labels provide important information about how to properly clean and care for each item. By following the washing instructions, you can ensure that your clothes and fabrics stay in excellent condition for longer.

One of the key things to look out for on laundry labels is whether an item is labeled as “dry-clean only” or if it can be machine washed. Items that require dry cleaning should be taken to a professional cleaner to ensure proper care. For machine-washable items, pay attention to any specific instructions such as washing separately or hand washing. Separating items and washing them according to their specific requirements will help prevent color bleeding and damage.

“Washing instructions on laundry labels are like a roadmap for garment care. They guide you in choosing the right cleaning method to keep your clothes looking their best,” says Theresa Chiechi from The Spruce.

Here are a few common care symbols you may encounter on laundry labels:

Symbol Description
Machine wash Machine washable
Hand wash Hand wash only
Dry clean Dry clean only
Iron Iron at specified temperature
Bleach Do not bleach

By taking the time to understand laundry labels and following the recommended care instructions, you can ensure that your clothes and fabrics receive the proper treatment they need for longevity and continued wearability.

Sorting and Preparing Your Laundry

One of the first steps in doing laundry is sorting your clothes. By sorting them properly, you can ensure that each load gets the right treatment and your clothes come out clean and well-maintained.

Sorting by Color and Fabric Type

Start by separating your laundry into different color groups. Whites, pastels, and light grays should be washed separately from dark-colored clothes like black, red, navy, and dark gray. This helps prevent color bleeding and keeps your whites looking bright.

Within each color group, further sort your clothing by fabric type. Separate towels and sheets from apparel to reduce lint and ensure better cleaning results. This also allows you to use different water temperatures and choose the appropriate washer cycle for each type of fabric, preserving their quality and extending their lifespan.

Dealing with Heavily Soiled Clothes

If you have heavily soiled clothes, it’s best to wash them separately. This allows for more targeted stain removal and ensures that the dirt and grime from these items don’t transfer onto other garments. By giving them special attention, you can effectively clean heavily soiled clothes and prevent any damage to the rest of your laundry.

Color Group Fabric Type
Whites, Pastels, Light Grays Towels, Sheets
Whites, Pastels, Light Grays Apparel
Dark Colors Towels, Sheets
Dark Colors Apparel

By following these sorting guidelines and preparing your laundry correctly, you can optimize your washing machine’s performance and ensure that your clothes come out clean and well-maintained after every cycle.

Choosing the Right Laundry Detergent

When it comes to doing laundry, selecting the right laundry detergent is crucial for achieving clean and fresh-smelling clothes. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs. Let’s explore some essential factors to consider when making your decision.

An all-purpose laundry detergent is a versatile option that can handle most types of fabrics and stains. Look for a detergent that is suitable for both top-loading and front-loading washers, as well as high-efficiency machines. Check the packaging for recommended usage amounts based on the size of your washer load.

If you have clothes with stubborn stains, it’s a good idea to pre-treat them before washing. You can apply a stain remover directly to the affected area or rub in a bit of laundry detergent. This will help to break down and remove the stains more effectively, ensuring that your clothes come out looking clean and fresh.

“Choosing the right laundry detergent is crucial for achieving clean and fresh-smelling clothes.”

Benefits of using the right laundry detergent:
Efficiently cleans various types of fabrics
Effectively removes stains and odors
Gentle on clothes, preserving their quality
Compatible with different types of washing machines

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using laundry detergent. Using too much detergent can leave residue on your clothes, while using too little may not effectively clean them. Finding the right balance will ensure that your laundry comes out clean, fresh, and free from any lingering stains or odors.

By choosing the right laundry detergent and taking the time to pre-treat stains, you can achieve excellent results and keep your clothes looking their best for longer.

Setting the Right Water Temperature

When it comes to doing laundry, one important factor to consider is the water temperature. Different fabrics and items require specific water temperatures to ensure proper cleaning and care. Let’s explore the recommended water temperatures for various types of laundry.

Cotton Underwear and Bed Linens

For items like cotton underwear and bed linens, it’s best to use hot water. Hot water helps to remove body oils and sanitize these items effectively. By washing them in hot water, you can ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned and maintain proper hygiene.

Towels and Bed Linens

When it comes to towels and bed linens, it’s important to give them a deep clean to remove any lingering bacteria or odors. Therefore, it is recommended to wash them at the highest recommended temperature every other wash. This ensures that they are properly sanitized and free from any residue or buildup.

Despite the need for hot water in certain cases, washing your laundry in cold water for most loads is a smart choice. Cold water conserves energy and is less taxing on textiles, helping to prolong their lifespan. Additionally, rinsing in cold water prevents color bleeding, keeping your clothes vibrant and looking their best.

Laundry Item Recommended Water Temperature
Cotton Underwear Hot water
Bed Linens Hot water for deep cleaning, highest recommended temperature every other wash
Towels Hot water for deep cleaning, highest recommended temperature every other wash

By understanding the proper water temperature for different laundry items, you can ensure that your clothes are clean, fresh, and well-maintained. Remember to always check the care labels on your garments and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best washing results.

Understanding Washer Cycle Options

When it comes to doing laundry, choosing the right washer cycle is essential for achieving optimal cleaning results. Different fabrics and levels of soiling require different treatment in the washing machine. Here are some common washer cycle options to consider:

Normal Cycle

The normal cycle is suitable for most everyday laundry items, such as shirts, socks, and underwear. It typically uses a medium water temperature and a moderate spin speed. This cycle is effective at removing light to moderate dirt and stains, while still being gentle enough for most fabrics.

Delicate Cycle

The delicate cycle is designed for delicate fabrics, such as silk, lace, and chiffon. It uses a gentle agitation and lower water temperature to prevent damage to these more fragile materials. When washing delicate items, be sure to place them in a mesh laundry bag for added protection.

Permanent Press Cycle

The permanent press cycle is ideal for garments that tend to wrinkle easily, such as dress shirts, pants, and skirts. It uses a cool or warm water temperature and a slower spin speed to minimize wrinkles. This cycle also includes a longer rinse to ensure thorough removal of detergent residue.

Heavy-Duty Cycle

The heavy-duty cycle is perfect for heavily soiled items, like jeans, towels, and bedding. It involves a higher water level, longer washing time, and a more vigorous agitation to tackle tough stains and dirt. This cycle is best for durable fabrics that can withstand a more intense washing process.

By selecting the appropriate washer cycle for your laundry, you can ensure that each item is cleaned effectively while also preserving the integrity of the fabric. Experiment with different cycles to find the best settings for your specific garments and enjoy fresh, clean clothes every time.

Washer Cycle Water Temperature Spin Speed Best For
Normal Cycle Medium Moderate Everyday laundry items
Delicate Cycle Cool or Warm Gentle Delicate fabrics
Permanent Press Cycle Cool or Warm Slower Garments prone to wrinkling
Heavy-Duty Cycle Hot Vigorous Heavily soiled items

Preparing Laundry for the Washer

Before loading your laundry into the washer, it’s important to take a few preparatory steps to ensure the best results. Here are some essential tips:

Stain Removal

Check each garment for any stains and treat them before washing. You can use a stain remover or apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to work the cleaner into the stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Checking Pockets and Removing Accessories

Before washing, make sure to check all pockets of your clothing items. Remove any loose change, tissues, or other small items that may be left behind. It’s also a good idea to remove accessories such as belts, jewelry, or removable buttons to prevent them from getting tangled or damaged during the wash cycle.

Closing Zippers and Turning Garments Inside Out

Ensure that all zippers are securely closed before placing your garments in the washer. This will prevent them from snagging on other clothes or the drum of the machine. Additionally, for delicate fabrics or items with embellishments, it’s recommended to turn them inside out. This helps to protect the fabric finishes, prevent excessive friction, and maintain the garment’s overall appearance.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your laundry is properly prepared for the washing machine, promoting effective cleaning and preserving the quality of your clothes.

Stain Removal Tips Checking Pockets and Removing Accessories Closing Zippers and Turning Garments Inside Out
– Apply stain remover or laundry detergent directly to stains – Check all pockets for loose items – Ensure all zippers are closed
– Gently rub fabric together to work in the cleaner – Remove accessories like belts and jewelry – Turn delicate or embellished items inside out
– Allow stain remover to sit for a few minutes

Properly Loading the Washer

When it comes to loading your washer, it’s important to follow a few key steps to ensure effective cleaning and protect your garments. Avoiding overcrowding and protecting fabric finishes are essential for achieving the best results.

Firstly, make sure not to cramp your items in the washer. It’s important to give them enough room to move about in the water for proper cleaning. Overcrowding can lead to inefficient cleaning and increase the chances of wrinkling. If you have delicate items like lingerie or sweaters, consider turning them inside out and using a mesh laundry bag for added protection.

Secondly, pay attention to fabric finishes when loading the washer. Turn knitted items, corduroy, textured fabrics, and dark colors inside out to protect their finishes. This simple step can help preserve the quality and appearance of your clothes in the long run.

Avoiding Overcrowding

To avoid overcrowding, follow these tips:

  • Load the washer with a reasonable amount of laundry based on its capacity.
  • Leave enough space for garments to move freely in the water.
  • If you’re uncertain about the load size, refer to your washer’s user manual for guidance.

By properly loading your washer and taking care to avoid overcrowding, you can ensure that your clothes come out clean and fresh, while also preventing any damage to the fabric.

Table: Tips for Properly Loading the Washer
1. Avoid overcrowding the washer.
2. Provide enough room for garments to move freely.
3. Consider using a mesh laundry bag for delicate items.
4. Turn knitted items, corduroy, textured fabrics, and dark colors inside out.

Drying Your Laundry

After successfully washing your clothes, it’s time to move on to the drying process. Properly drying your laundry is crucial to prevent wrinkles and maintain the freshness of your garments. Whether you choose to air dry or use a dryer, selecting the right method and settings will ensure the best results.

Air Drying

Air drying is an energy-saving option that is gentle on your clothes and reduces the risk of shrinking or fabric damage. Hang or lay your items flat in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This method is particularly suitable for delicate or lightweight fabrics, such as lingerie, silk, or wool. Keep in mind that it may take longer for thicker fabrics like denim or towels to dry naturally.

Line Drying

If you have access to outdoor space and favorable weather conditions, line drying can provide an excellent alternative. Hang your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack, making sure to space them out for proper air circulation. Line drying can be especially beneficial for items that you want to preserve in their original shape, like sweaters or dresses. Plus, the fresh outdoor scent adds an extra touch of cleanliness to your laundry!

Dryer Settings

If you prefer using a dryer, it’s essential to choose the appropriate settings to avoid damaging your clothes. Start by separating lightweight items from heavier fabrics. Use a low heat or delicate cycle for delicate fabrics, such as lingerie or silk, to prevent shrinking or warping. For heavier fabrics like jeans or towels, opt for a medium heat or regular cycle. Always check the care labels on your garments for any specific drying instructions.

Table: Drying Methods and Their Benefits

Drying Method Benefits
Air Drying Energy-saving
– Gentle on clothes
– Reduces risk of shrinking
– Suitable for delicate fabrics
Line Drying – Preserves original shape
– Adds fresh outdoor scent
– Suitable for various garments
– Saves energy
Dryer – Faster drying time
– Convenient for busy lifestyles
– Offers various heat settings
– Suitable for a wide range of fabrics

Hanging vs. Folding: Choosing the Right Method

When it comes to organizing your freshly washed clothes, deciding whether to hang or fold can make a big difference in preserving their fabric and maximizing space. Consider the fabric type and available storage options to determine the best method for each garment.

  • Hanging clothes: Hanging is ideal for garments made of delicate fabrics, such as sheer fabrics, silk, and linen. Hanging these items helps prevent wrinkles and maintains their shape. Additionally, dress slacks and formal attire should be hung to avoid creases.
  • Folding clothes: Folding is suitable for items like jeans, sweaters, and t-shirts. jeans and sweaters can be folded to maintain their shape, while t-shirts can be hung or folded, depending on personal preference and the amount of available space.

By using a combination of hanging and folding, you can effectively organize your wardrobe while preserving the quality and lifespan of your clothes.

“Properly organizing your clothes can not only save space but also prevent unnecessary wear and tear on fabrics. By choosing the right method, you can extend the life of your favorite garments and keep your closet neat and tidy.”
– Laundry expert

Hanging vs. Folding: A Fabric Type Guide

Consider the fabric type to determine whether hanging or folding is the best method:

Fabric Type Best Method
Sheer fabrics Hanging
Silk Hanging
Linen Hanging
Dress slacks Hanging
Jeans Folding
Sweaters Folding
T-shirts Folding or hanging

Taking Care of Your Laundry Machines

Proper maintenance of your laundry machines is crucial to ensure their optimal performance and longevity. Neglecting regular care can not only result in inefficient cleaning but also pose safety hazards. Here are some essential tips for maintaining your washer and dryer:

Clean the Lint Filter

The lint filter in your dryer should be cleaned after every use to prevent lint buildup, which can increase the risk of dryer fires. Simply remove the filter and clear away any lint accumulated on the screen. This simple step keeps your dryer running smoothly and safely.

Clean the Exhaust Vent

The exhaust vent of your dryer is another area that requires regular cleaning. Over time, lint can accumulate in the vent, affecting the dryer’s performance and posing a fire hazard. Use a vent brush or vacuum attachment to remove any lint buildup. It’s advisable to have a professional inspect and clean the vent periodically for thorough maintenance.

Avoid Overloading the Dryer

While it may be tempting to stuff your dryer with as much laundry as possible, overloading can lead to inefficient drying and potential damage to the machine. Be mindful of the recommended capacity for your dryer and avoid exceeding it. Overloading can strain the motor, affect the drying efficiency, and cause premature wear and tear.

Common Washer and Dryer Maintenance Tips
Regularly wipe down the exterior surfaces of your washer and dryer to keep them clean and free from dust and dirt.
Inspect the water hoses and connections of your washer for any leaks or damage. Replace them as needed to prevent flooding or water wastage.
Ensure your washer is level to prevent excessive vibration and noise during operation. Use a leveling tool and adjust the legs if necessary.
For front-loading washers, keep the door ajar after use to allow air circulation and prevent mold or mildew growth.
If you notice any unusual noises, vibrations, or performance issues with your washer or dryer, consult the manufacturer’s manual or contact a professional technician for assistance.

By following these maintenance practices, you can ensure the efficient operation of your laundry machines and prolong their lifespan, saving you from costly repairs or replacements. Regular care and attention not only keep your washer and dryer running smoothly but also provide peace of mind for a safe and effective laundry experience.

The Importance of Hand-Washing

While most laundry can be done using a washing machine, there are certain garments that require special care and attention. Hand-washing is the ideal method for delicate fabrics such as silk, lace, and cashmere, as it allows for gentle cleaning without the risk of damage. By hand-washing these garments, you can extend their lifespan and preserve their beauty.

Hand-washing also comes in handy when it comes to deodorizing clothes. Some garments, especially those made from natural fibers like cotton or linen, can hold onto odors even after being laundered. By hand-washing these clothes with a gentle detergent, you can effectively remove any lingering smells and refresh the fabric.

Hand-washing offers a more energy-saving alternative to using a washing machine for small loads. By avoiding the use of electricity and water that would have been consumed during a machine cycle, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save on utility bills.

Proper Hand-Washing Technique

To ensure the best results when hand-washing your garments, follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a clean basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle detergent.
  2. Gently agitate the water to create suds.
  3. Submerge the garment into the water and gently swirl it around, ensuring that all areas are thoroughly soaked.
  4. Gently rub any soiled areas or stains with your fingers to remove dirt.
  5. Allow the garment to soak for a few minutes to allow the detergent to penetrate the fibers.
  6. Drain the soapy water and refill the basin or sink with clean, lukewarm water.
  7. Rinse the garment by gently swishing it around in the clean water.
  8. Repeat the rinse process if necessary until all detergent residue is gone.
  9. Gently squeeze out excess water from the garment, avoiding wringing or twisting.
  10. Lay the garment flat on a clean towel and gently roll it up to remove additional moisture.
  11. Reshape the garment and lay it flat to air dry.

Hand-washing may require a bit more time and effort than using a washing machine, but it is well worth it for delicate fabrics and special care garments. By following proper hand-washing techniques and using a gentle detergent, you can ensure that your garments remain clean, fresh, and in excellent condition for years to come.

Hand-Washing Tips Benefits
Use a gentle detergent specifically designed for hand-washing. Preserves delicate fabrics.
Avoid scrubbing or wringing the garment to prevent damage. Extends the lifespan of garments.
Always air dry delicate fabrics flat to maintain their shape. Removes odors and refreshes fabric.
Check the care label for any specific hand-washing instructions. Energy-saving alternative to using a washing machine.


Doing laundry may initially seem overwhelming, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it can become a straightforward and efficient task. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can master the art of doing laundry and ensure clean, fresh clothes every time.

Remember to always check the fabric labels on your garments and linens for specific care instructions. Sorting your laundry properly by color and fabric type will help you choose the right water temperature and washing machine cycle. Selecting the appropriate laundry detergent and pre-treating stains before washing will ensure optimal cleaning results.

Additionally, take care of your laundry machines by regularly cleaning the lint filter and exhaust vent, and avoid overloading the dryer. If needed, hand-wash delicate fabrics or garments that require special care to maintain their quality. By implementing these laundry tips and instructions, you can transform laundry day from a dreaded chore into a breeze.

So, next time you’re faced with a pile of dirty laundry, remember to refer back to this comprehensive guide. With these helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a laundry expert in no time. Happy laundering!


How should I check the care labels on my garments and linens?

Look for instructions on whether an item can be machine washed or if it requires special care like hand washing or dry cleaning. Take note of any specific washing instructions and separate items that need to be washed separately or hand washed.

How should I sort my laundry?

Start by sorting your laundry by color. Separate whites, pastels, and light grays from deep colored clothes like black, red, navy, and dark gray. Heavily soiled clothes should be washed separately. Within each color group, further sort by fabric type.

What type of laundry detergent should I use?

Select an all-purpose laundry detergent based on the size of your washer load. Read the directions on the detergent packaging for the recommended amount to use. If your clothes have stains, pre-treat them before washing by applying a stain remover or rubbing in a bit of laundry detergent.

What water temperature should I use for laundry?

In most cases, washing in cold water will serve your needs and prevent laundry disasters. However, for cotton underwear and bed linens, hot water is recommended to remove body oil and sanitize the items. Bed linens and towels should be washed at the highest recommended temperature every other wash. Always rinse in cold water to prevent color bleeding.

How do I choose the right washer cycle?

When choosing a washer cycle, consider the fabric type and soiling level. The “normal” cycle is suitable for most loads, but you may need to use the “permanent press” or “delicate” cycle for certain fabrics. The “heavy-duty” cycle is ideal for articles like jeans and towels.

What should I do before loading the washer?

Before loading the washer, remove any stains with appropriate stain removal techniques. Check that all pockets are empty and remove accessories such as belts and jewelry. Close zippers, VELCRO, and buttons to prevent them from catching on fabrics. Turn knitted items, corduroy, textured fabric, and dark colors inside out to protect fabric finishes.

How should I load items into the washer?

When loading items into the washer, ensure they are not crammed and have enough room to move about in the water. Overcrowding can lead to inefficient cleaning and wrinkling. For delicate items, turn them inside out and use a mesh laundry bag for added protection.

What is the best way to dry laundry?

Promptly remove wet laundry from the washer to prevent wrinkles and mildew. Hang or lay items flat to air dry, or place them in the dryer. If you have multiple loads of laundry, separate lightweight items from heavy fabric items and choose the right dryer cycle for each to prevent shrinking and protect your clothing. Consider line drying your laundry to save energy and prevent damage to your clothes, if space and weather permit.

Should I hang or fold my clothing?

When it comes to deciding whether to hang or fold your clothing, consider the fabric type and available space. Sheer fabrics, linen, and dress slacks should be hung to avoid wrinkling. Jeans and sweaters can be folded to maintain their shape. T-shirts and jeans can be hung or folded depending on personal preference and space availability.

How do I take care of my laundry machines?

Proper maintenance of your laundry machines is essential to ensure their optimal performance and prevent accidents. Clean the lint filter after every use to prevent dryer fires. Regularly clean the exhaust vent to prevent lint buildup. Avoid overloading the dryer, as it can lead to ineffective drying and potential damage to the machine.

When should I hand-wash my garments?

There are times when hand-washing is the best choice for certain garments, especially those made from delicate fabrics or those with special care requirements. Hand-washing can also be useful for deodorizing and brightening whites and saving energy. Make sure to follow proper hand-washing techniques and use a gentle detergent.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *