My mom Connie is a magician with laundry. I am not kidding, just ask my sister Jody.
Seriously! She can send up some jackets or something and even after weeks, you hold it to your face, breath deep and it smells fresh and clean like her laundry soap. Jody and I cannot figure it out – it drives us crazy.
I may not be able to share mom’s amazing laundry secret because every time I ask how she does it, she just says, “I just do laundry like you do”. Uhhh, NO! However, this week’s topic is learning skills and becoming educated and competent in many areas.
One of the subjects I have run across when talking to young gals, moms and guys is the quandary of how to do laundry. It’s certainly not rocket science, nor exciting, but it is one of life’s little annoyances that must be done. So here it is…
Do you like to do the laundry? Some do….some do not. Let’s tackle it together. Maybe you’ll learn how, or a few tricks, but come on and let’s clean up, heehee!
Make a schedule of when to do your laundry
Keep your dirty laundry in one place – such as a pre-determined laundry basket – not the entire floor, hint, hint.
An idea is to have large safety pins to attach socks together just before putting them into the hamper and then when taking them out of the dryer, take off the safety pin, fold and voila! Paired and happy together.
If it is older children/teens/adults are in the home, then each with their own basket and doing their own laundry works best.
If a family with young children, a couple of centrally located hampers or baskets for everyone to toss their laundry into, is easiest to see when laundry might need to be done before the scheduled time.
Gather any dirty laundry that didn’t happen to make it into the laundry basket, such as towels and such that are still on the floor in the bathroom, towels and dish cloths in the kitchen, etc.
Remember that wet washcloths and towels need to be hung over a rack, door handle, edge of hamper, whatever, to allow them to dry so they cannot mildew or mold. Any wet item can also ruin other clothing if left wet and sitting on certain fabrics, hours, or extended amounts of time.
3. Now that you have gathered all the dirty clothing together, including towels, dish clothes, and anything else needed, let’s sort them into piles.
FIRST and VITAL! Check ALL pockets for crayons, pens, lip gloss (oohh that’s a messy one), tissue (terrible to clean out), toys, rocks (very hard on the washer and dryer) anything that is not like the others and does not belong in the wash.
Then separate into:
When you begin the actual washing process, you will have choices of water level, from extra small or small, to large or extra large; all depending on the type of washing machine you have.
The water level needs to be equal to the load of laundry you put in.
This is critical – to all kids and teens who think they are done quicker by stuffing 400 lbs of fabric into the washer and turning it on so they have ‘done their laundry faster’, understand that this is a misdemeanor in 38 states and 68 countries. So Do NOT attempt this. It is WRONG and you will be caught because your clothes will still be smelly. And it breaks the machine too.
Why you ask? I’ll tell you. Because the clothes need plenty of room in the water to bathe and become clean. Now if they only have 1/4 of a teaspoon of water for a pair of pants, or a shirt to call their very own; getting clean is NOT going to happen. So only 1/2 or less of the washer can be clothing – and that’s NOT packed in either!
Mom’s tip: Just because your washer is a 20 lb capacity be careful; twenty pounds of rocks is much different than 20 pounds of feathers . Use common sense and don’t over load the washer.
The next thing is to choose the regular or delicate cycle on the machine; and there maybe more choices also. Regular is generally acceptable, except as noted below*
There are symbols on the tag
Look inside the clothing and find the little do-hickey that either sticks out at the top of at the side seam, you need to read it, which may require some time to find the language of your choice.
Now, see if it recommends to wash in cold, warm or hot.
Also they now have little symbols that you have to decipher. Quite complicated, but that’s modernization for you. We must find humor in every day life, right!?
Here is a little video I found that explains the codes
Here’s a chart to help you out too, click HERE to print it out if you’d like
***Disclaimer – These codes and information are great helps, but also use common sense. Don’t wash pink or red socks with white items. But you do not need to wash everything separate as might be noted on the little tags. Also if an item is to be dry cleaned, ask the cleaner or check on-line with the manufacturer to see if it is something that might be washed in cold water and laid flat to dry; saving you money. It also gets the clothing cleaner in some instances – again disclaimer I am giving my own opinion and am not responsible for any damage or issues with clothing that has been washed, dry cleaned, will be laundered or will not be cleaned now until it can walk around on its own because I suggested maybe it could possibly be washed in cold versus the dry cleaner. Just sayin….
Next a bit of maintenance is important:
Undo any buttons on the shirt. The agitation and extra weight from the water may cause the button holes to tear
Pre-treat collars of men’s and boys shirts, particularly
Spot clean ANY place/thing/stuff/gunk and do NOT wait or hesitate, it will only get worse, that I can assure you, we are at war with dirt – no disclaimer
I found a pretty comprehensive stain removal chart, click HERE. There are many types of spot removers also- liquid spray, bar, solid; just using one is the key here.
My mom Connie does put about 1 cup white vinegar in every batch of laundry along with Borax to lift stains and for odor control
Jeans – In my ‘research’ (disclaimer of simply surfing the net and asking at the expensive jean store so this is not my personal counsel) here is the advice I found in caring for jeans
A few sources did say not to wash jeans for like 6 months of use to ‘save them’ —- I say eeewww and not on my watch! They can be worn a few times IF they are not smelly and icky and you wipe them off where dirt and such show.
Turn then inside out and wash up to 4 at a time in cold water; you want lots of water for those babies to swim in. And on the delicate cycle is a must
Always wash with other jeans to prevent bleeding onto other colors and to help maintain the original color also
Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of regular salt to the water before adding in the jean to help set the dye and hold the color. Another reason you need to have lots of water for those jeans to float around in.
After washing, if your jeans have lost a bit of their fit, place them in the dryer for half a cycle on the LOWEST setting, still inside out. Then take them out, hang them by the legs (not the waist band) from a pants hanger on a shower rod or somewhere high enough up.
When taking jeans from the washer it is recommended not to place them in the dryer, but to leave them inside out, hang them by the legs (not the waist hand) from a pants hanger and allow them to dry. This reduces wrinkles in the fabric (I wonder if this would work for me…hhhmmm). If they are stiff when they are dry, simply toss them into the dryer, on low heat for 5 minutes to help the fabric fibers to relax.
If washable, wash in cold and lay flat on a clean dry bath towel to dry so it can maintain it’s proper shape
*Dedicates, Undergarments and Bras
Use stain remover as needed
Place hosiery/nylons/tights in the mesh bags with a zipper. They are about $1 at the store and great to have a bunch on hand
Place each bra in a separate mesh zippered bag. Fasten the hooks first to prevent twisting and snagging.
Place slips, camisoles and other dedicates in mesh zippered bags
The reason to place these type of items in the bags is to keep the hooks, etc, from tangling and tearing, causing any damage to items in the wash
Swim Suits can be laundered in the mesh bags or by hand – depending on the manufacturers little tag’s instructions
If something is ornate or extremely delicate than you really should hand wash.
Fill your sink with warm or cool water, according to directions and pour in a tiny bit of laundry soap. Squish with hand to distribute.
Place the fabric into the water and allow the clothing to soak for for a few minutes.
Gently squeeze the sudsy water through your hands and around the fabric for a few minutes.
Now let out the water and run fresh water over the fabric gently moving the fabric from side to side until the suds are gone and it appears the item is completely rinsed.
Place on a clean towel, laying it out as flat as possible.
Roll the towel up and squeeze gently.
Unroll and use another towel if needed. If it is fairly dry, lay out flat to dry on a clean towel
Use very gentle laundry detergent such as Dreft for the first 6 months or so as a baby’s skin is extremely sensitive
Wash sheets in hot water once a week
Once every 6-12 months, or as needed/directed by manufacturer, take bed blankets to laundry mat and use the large industrial machines, or to the dry cleaners if they have regular washing machines and it will cost about the same as a self-serve. It will save a lot of wear and tear on your machine.
Tip from my mom about bedding: When loading sheets into the washer DO NOT wrap the sheets around the agitator . Fold them back and forth like an accordion and place them one by one,, side by side in the washer.
SAFETY: Use caution and care to keep detergents and especially the liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children. Also, the washer and dryer doors shut so little ones cannot accidentally fall or climb in.
Now, if I haven’t given you enough play-by-play or instructions of how to do laundry, click HERE
Run! Go do your laundry and ENJOY your day!
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2016