Up next in Stains & Laundry (80 videos)
No matter what you spilled on your clothes or furnishings, we can tell you how to get it out.
You Will Need
- A washing machine
- Laundry detergent
- And a dryer
- Stain remover (optional) (optional)
- A toothbrush
- Fabric softener, liquid or sheets (optional) (optional)
- Some bleach
- A clothesline or drying rack (optional) (optional)
Separate your clothes into whites, light colors, delicates, and darks.
Tie ties, zip zippers, and check your pockets to make sure they don't contain anything like money, candy, or lipstick.
Check your labels to see if any of your garments need special treatment, information you'll need to know as you proceed.
To tackle stains, place a concentrated dab of detergent or stain remover on the stains and work it in with a toothbrush or by rubbing the fabric against itself.
Read the product packaging and check to see how much detergent, bleach or liquid fabric softener to add and when. Most machines dispense products automatically but if yours doesn't, the detergent should go in when the machine is full of water, the bleach after the clothes have been soaking a few minutes, and fabric softener during the rinse cycle.
Load clothes into the washing machine, making sure it's no more than three-fourths full.
Choose your cycle. Use 'regular' for very dirty clothes and heavy cottons, 'permanent press' for your average load, and 'delicates' for knits or lightweight items.
Choose your water temperature. For whites or really dirty colorfast items, use hot water. For most average loads, use warm water. For delicates, bright colors, and to prevent clothes from shrinking, use cold water.
Hit the machine's start button, and relax. The average wash cycle will take anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes.
In the meantime, check the dryer to make sure there's nothing in it and clean your lint filter by pulling it out and removing any accumulated lint.
When the washing machine finishes its cycle and turns off, transfer your clothes into the dryer, again checking the labels. Set aside any garments that say 'hang dry' or 'dry with no heat,' or any that you fear might shrink.
Add softener sheet
If you're using fabric softener sheets instead of liquid, add one sheet to the dryer.
Choose your dryer setting. The "permanent press" setting has a cool down cycle to help reduce wrinkling. The "electronic" or "automatic dry" setting lets you choose how dry you want your clothes to be. "Air fluff" is for drying garments without heat.
Fold or hang clothes
When your clothes are dry, fold them neatly or hang them immediately to prevent wrinkling -- and to save you from ironing.