Introduction: How to Do Laundry in 16 Simple Steps

Picture of How to Do Laundry in 16 Simple Steps

Being able to use a washer and dryer will allow an individual to clean their clothes in an efficient and timely manner. These instructions will walk through the basics of cleaning your clothes using a washer and dryer.

Equipment and Material Needed

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Laundry Detergent (liquid or powder)
  • Fabric Softener
  • Dryer Sheets (if desired)
  • Hangers for any clothes you wish to be hung up after cleaning
  • Iron and Ironing Board (optional)

Step 1: Seperate Clothes

Begin by separating the clothes you need to wash into categories, typically;

  • Whites
  • Colors

Then further divide those categories into heavy materials (like cotton and wool) and lighter materials (polyester and silk). Also separate out delicates. Delicates are clothes that are made from a delicate fabrics that should be cleaned by hand.

Step 2: Select Water Temperature

Refer to the label on the article of clothing it should list a preferred temperature for both the washing and rinse cycle.

Step 3: Select Load Size

Depending on how many items you need to wash you will need to decide on a load size. If the washer is less than 1/4 full small is recommended, for 2/4 full use the medium setting, and for 3/4 full use the large setting.

Step 4: Select Load Type

Picture of Select Load Type

The washing machine usually has a dial that you can turn to select between whites and colors (sometimes called casuals). Both of these setting are further divided by weight from light to heavy.

Step 5: Start the Washer

This is usually done by pressing either a button or by gently pulling out the dial that indicates load type. Let the washer run until it is about 1/4 full then stop it.

Step 6: Add Detergent

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First open the lid of the washer, next measure the desired amount of laundry detergent (either liquid or powder). The load size generally determines the amount of detergent needed. This amount will vary based on the detergent used. Finally add the detergent to the washer, some washers may have specific place to pour the detergent. Allow the washer run for a about 10 seconds to allow the detergent to mixed in with the water.

Step 7: Add Clothes to Washer

With the lid still open, slowly add the clothes one item at a time taking care to make sure they are not tangled together.

Caution: Avoid filling the washing machine more than 3/4 full. This will allow clothes to be agitated (or moved briskly) during the washing cycle.

Step 8: Add Fabric Softener (Optional)

Picture of Add Fabric Softener (Optional)

You may also wish to add fabric softener. Fabric softeners are used to soften fibers, reduce static cling, and even add a scent to your laundry.

Caution: Avoid using fabric softeners on the following;

  • Made of microfiber
  • Athletic Sportswear
  • Flame-Retardant Clothing
  • Towels

Step 9: Select Drying Temperature

The drying temperature is usually determined by the type of fabric; Cottons should usually be set on high heat, easy care clothes (polyester blends) should usually be set on medium heat, delicates should usually be set on low heat. Some dryers also allow clothes to be fluffed with out using heat.

Step 10: Select Drying Time

Picture of Select Drying Time

Like drying temperature, drying time is also determined by fabric type. Most dryers with have several settings within the type of fabric. Most dryers also include a timed drying cycle, this allows for drying of clothes that for some reason did not dry completely or only need a small amount of drying time.

Step 11: Clean Lint Trap

DO NOT skip this step. It is very important that the lint trap, used to collect lint from clothes that have dried, be cleaned out between each use of the dryer. The lint trap is usually on the inside of the dryer just inside of the door.

Step 12: Add Clothes to Dryer

Much like adding clothes to the washer you want to take time to separate the clothes so they do not become tangled. Tangled clothes may take longer to dry.

Step 13: Add Dryer Sheet (Optional)

Picture of Add Dryer Sheet (Optional)

If you used a fabric softener during the wash cycle you DO NOT need to add a dyer sheet. A dryer sheet, like fabric softener, helps to prevent static cling and can also add a fragrance to your clothes.

Step 14: Start Dryer

After you have selected both the drying temperature and drying time close the dyer door and start the machine. Some models feature a button that needs to be pressed others may have a dial that needs to be turned and then released.

Caution: Please do not leave clothes unattended while drying. There is a potential risk of a fire hazard if a dryer is not properly maintained or is used improperly.

Step 15: Remove Clothes

Some clothes may not need the entire drying cycle. Remove items that are dry and leave any that are still damp to finish the drying cycle once you have restarted it. You may desire to hang up clothes that are more prone to getting wrinkles (like a dress shirt or dressy pants). The rest may be folded in the manner you are accustomed.

Step 16: Ironing (Optional)

Picture of Ironing (Optional)

After completion of a drying cycle some kinds of items may need to be ironed. To do this you must have an iron and an ironing board. Ironing is a process used to get wrinkles out of clothes that you desire to look neat (like a dress shirt).

  1. Make sure you have spray bottle with water handy or you are using an iron that has place for water to be added to it.
  2. Position the ironing board near an electric outlet.
  3. Plug in the iron and turn it on. Then place it so the face of the iron is perpendicular with the ironing board.
  4. Most irons have a dial that sets the temperature for the fabric you are ironing.
  5. Allow the iron time to heat up.
  6. Place the item you wish to iron flat on the ironing board so that the fabric is relatively smooth save for the wrinkles.
  7. Lightly spray the fabric, if the iron features a reservoir for water this is not necessary.
  8. Grab the iron by the handle and tilt it so that the face parallel with the ironing board.
  9. Apply firm but even pressure with the iron to the piece of clothing and move the iron along the wrinkle so that the wrinkle begins to flatten out. Be sure to continue to move the iron along the piece of clothing to prevent you from burning the article of clothing. Repeat this step as necessary to iron out (get rid of) the wrinkle.

WARNING! DO NOT leave the iron sitting face down on any surface. This may create a potential fire hazard.

Repeat the above step on the other parts of the garment until you are satisfied that you have ironed out all of the wrinkles.Hang the clothing that you just ironed up to maintain the pressed look.

Comments

tomatoskins (author)2015-05-21

Oh how I hate doing laundry. But it is a necessary evil. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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