Sew Guide » Simple steps I use to wash clothes in a Washing Machine

Simple steps I use to wash clothes in a Washing Machine

Read this article yourself to know that even the world’s greatest consider – Washing Machine The Greatest Invention Of The Industrial Revolution . Yes ,they are bad for the environment, but think of what it does for women’s (and men’s ) work load – more time for reading, more time for sewing, more time for sleeping and more time for more work.

The back breaking hand washing of clothes (loads and loads of them) is now done easily by this super cool machine . Let us see the simple steps you can follow to make the work even more effective than it already does

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Washing Laundry in a washing machine 

Step 1 Prepare clothes for wash 

First and foremost I empty the pockets of all clothes – this is a necessity as most of the time my kids’ pockets are filled with paper – I donot know how all those paper fills these tiny pockets. Or maybe the paper seem enormous after they have had a wash and are shredded to tiny bits all over the washed clothes.

I also zip up the zippers  and hook up the bra hooks .

Another necessary thing I do is to turn the clothes inside out, especially if they are dark in colour. This will prevent lint on the face of the garment

I also look at the care label in the garment ( Which you find  on the side seams in the inside of the garment) for specific instructions for wash and dry

Step 2 Remove dried dirt from clothes

If you have a soiled dress with dried up dirt use a brush to gently brush off the dirt from the surface. Be very gentle if the fabric of your garment is silk, wool  or made of delicate fibers or had embroidery or bead work.

If the dried up dirt proves to be very stubborn you can use a blunt knife to scrape off the dirt. 

Step 3 Treat stains

If you see any stains before washing, this is the best time to remove them. You can spot clean the stain.

If it is a simple stain made from natural secretions / solutions like blood, urine, milk , egg etc you can simply soak them in cold water ( Never use warm or hot water to treat these stains;  the stains will set permanently) . Apply a little laundry detergent and rub the stained area a few times against each other.

If the stain has been set for some days apply the cleaning solution ( laundry detergent or stain removing product) in the area of the stain. You can also soak the area in the cleaning solution. I soak a small piece of cotton in the cleaning liquid and dab it on the stain.Follow the directions in the bottle.

Gently rub the area together with your hands, this will penetrate the cleaning solution better into the fibers and remove the stains better. 

Take it out and see if the stain is gone; if not use a stronger solution or more soaking duration ( considering the label in the bottle ofcourse)

If the stain is made from beverages like coffee, tea etc you may have to soak the stain for 15-20 minutes in diluted  laundry detergent solution. Most stains will be removed by this soaking.

If the stain is made from oil or anything greasy you may have to use commercial stain removing products. You can try removing the stain by soaking the fabric in laundry detergent for 30  minutes and see whether the satin is gone or not. If not proceed with the professional cleaner or take to a dry cleaner .

Do follow the labels in the product to the T and also check the care label in your garment. Some clothes donot take bleach very well so don’t forget that step.

Never use bleach on  silk, wool leather or spandex. Donot use chlorine bleach on dark clothes . Oxygen bleach is better on dark clothes, if you have to use , that is. 

Step 4 Sort the garments.

I sort the clothes for laundry into two segments – coloured dresses and whites. Then coloured clothes should be sorted – dark clothes and lighter clothes.

I always laundry black clothes together. Just the thought of lint on my pure black clothes gives me the jitters. Checkout the ways to prevent lint on clothes.  

Sort the clothes according to the type of fabric it is made of. My delicate white lace top is definitely NOT going into the washing machine with my  jeans. 

I also keep towels separate from clothes to be laundered separately. They are very fluffy and give off lint like anything. 

Lingerie is some thing I donot put together with my other clothes. I keep all the bras inside the laundry bag and wash them with other undergarments . You may have your own way of doing it. Checkout the tutorial to make a simple laundry bag. 

Step 5  Set Water temperature and the cycle

Water temperature – I always wash clothes in cold water. But there are many who prefer a hot wash for their clothes.

I rarely use hot water though. Heat makes the fibers of the clothes shrink. And colour also fades.

If the cloth is very soiled like a hand towel which has not seen detergent for a long time you may want to wash in warm water. If it is a diaper nothing like a hot wash to clean the stains and destroy germs. Kitchen towels also warranties a hot wash.

Cycle – This is as per your machine . The cycle represents the agitation given by the washing machine. Everything will be written in detail on your washing machine.

Old washing  machines have fewer cycles but the newer models have many many settings appropriate for the fabric you have. In my machine there is even a sari settings – though I have never used it , I know many who would be happy with it. I like to hand wash most of the clothes which are delicate or have embroidery work on them  . Checkout this post on the proper way to hand wash clothes

As is common sense the heavier agitation is reserved for sturdy fabric and very dirty clothes

Cottons clothes, synthetics and all clothes which are not heavily dirty all gets put in the washing machine

Step 6 Detergent

I prefer to use liquid detergent for washing clothes. They are the best for washing clothes, suitably gentle on the fibers but effectively cleaning clothes. 

When I used the  powder detergent and I used to put the washing powder through the compartment specially provided in the machine. But after sometime it got clogged with powder. The washing machine in my mother’s house even developed a problem with the clogging. So I started to put the powder manually after the water was filled, though it was slightly inconvenient . 

One thing I have learned after owning both a top loading washing machine and a front loading machine  is to use specially formulated washing machine for the front loading machine and nothing else.

The foam leaking out of the machine is a common problems with front loading machine with the regular washing powders. This is because the regular washing machines produce lots of soap suds/ foam. You should be buying the washing powder which is marked for your particular model . 

Step 7 Washing

Washing machines come in many types – Front/Top Load, Automatic/Semi Automatic. Use the machine settings as per your particular washing machine.

Use fabric softener in the final rinse cycle if you want to, especially if you are using a dryer to fully dry the clothes. I have noticed that the softener makes my clothes less wrinkly. That is enough for me to make me a fan. But I donot use them always – especially when the natural bug hits me – which is getting too frequent as I age

Some prefer to add some tablespoons of vinegar ( 2-3) in the final rinse water for removing all the soap residue from the clothes.It is a good alternative to fabric softener.  Vinegar sure doesnot give you the heavy perfume that fabric softeners but they also donot leave all the chemicals that fabric softeners do.It really does soften clothes

Step 8 Dry

I hang the clothes to dry on a clothesline the old fashioned way, getting all the sunlight and wind the natural way. All that is left for you is to fold up those freshly done laundry. 

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