Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Washing, drying, and ironing clothes is rarely anyone’s favourite chore. There’s a lot that can go wrong – garments being dyed a different colour than they should be, the perpetual concern of shrinkage, and so on – and it’s a task that always seems to take far longer than it should. If you’d like to revolutionise your laundry experience, and hopefully save yourself a little money in the process, then here are a few tips to keep in mind…
1) Wash according to your water type
You can check how hard your water is on this map. If you live in a “soft water” area, then you can usually wash as per the instructions on your chosen washing powder or liquid. However, if you have hard water, you’ll likely need to use more detergent to help address this issue – around 20% more than the recommended amount should be sufficient.
2) Always look for advice before tackling unusual stains or problems
It’s incredibly disheartening to wash a stained or damaged garment, remove it from the machine, and realise that the washing process has failed to dislodge the issue. To prevent such a scenario, it’s usually best to look for advice such as tips to removing chewing gum from school uniform or a how-to guide for removing red wine from a dress before washing, so that when you do put the garment through a wash cycle, you can be confident the item will be completely clean when it emerges.
3) Make use of the cold wash on your machine
Many people prefer not to use cold washes, often due to the belief that warm or hot washes are more effective. However, while it is true that heavily soiled clothes should be washed above 40°C, anything that is just lightly stained or in need of a refreshing wash can benefit from a cold wash – especially given that higher temperatures can damage clothes or cause colours to fade over time.
1) Follow drying instructions exactly
We all know to check washing instructions, but some garments have drying instructions too – such as “dry flat” or “air dry only” – so check these before choosing your drying method.
2) Choose your location carefully when drying indoors
Air drying clothes outside is usually most people’s preference, but living in the UK, it’s simply not always possible. Given that tumble dryers are expensive to run, the only suitable alternative is to dry clothes indoors on an airer or on radiators – but this can cause issues with condensation and may encourage mould growth. The key to preventing these issues is to choose your indoor drying location carefully; avoid the bathroom and kitchen (these tend to be the most humid rooms of any home anyway, so additional humidity from clothes can encourage mould growth), and the area is sufficiently ventilated by opening windows and doors.
3) Lighten the load
If you do have to use a tumble dryer, then try to keep the load as light as possible to help improve efficiency. A few items will dry relatively quickly – and thus use less energy – whereas a full load will take a long time, and some items may still be wet even after this.
1) Clean your iron before each use
Cleaning your iron before you use it helps to prevent damage – such as “rusty” water spots – from appearing on your freshly clean clothes. Thankfully, cleaning an iron is very straightforward: you can inspect the base plate before you start, and if you notice any issues, use a mix of water and bicarbonate of soda to make a paste, and then “buff” the iron clean with a cloth. You can then wipe down with a damp soft cloth, and your iron is ready to use.
2) Iron on the “wrong” side of the garment
When ironing, clothes can sometimes take on a “shiny” appearance, especially if the iron is being used on a particularly hot setting. To prevent this, always iron clothes when they are inside out; this also helps to protect logos, textures, and any add-on design elements from being damaged.
3) Let clothes cool before folding
Immediately after ironing, folding clothes can actually cause more creases. Ensure that the fabric is cool to the touch before folding or placing on hangers; keep each garment flat (spread on a table, for example) for two-to-five minutes when the ironing process is complete.
The above tips should be able to improve your laundry experience, allowing you and your family to enjoy fresh, clean, perfectly-pressed clothes in the shortest possible time.