Introduction: How to Do Laundry
We all have laundry. Some of us do the laundy and some of have the laundry done for us.
This instructable will show you how to do the laundry, with ideas for making the job easier and ideas for making it more environmentally friendly.
(This instructable is dedicated to LinuxH4x0r, may he learn to do his laundry, sooner rather than later....GASP, did I say that.)
Step 1: Planning the Wash
If you're the typical individual wearing blue jeans and t-shirts, or polos and khakis, odds are sorting the laundry is a thing of the past. Tossing them all in together makes the job easier.
BUT, here are a few exceptions:
If you have greasy clothes (i.e. garage/mechanic work clothes), wash them separately to prevent grease staining your "good" clothes. Use a paper toweling or clean rag to wipe down the washer afterwards to clean up any residual grease that may have remained. Residual grease in the washer is a disaster waiting to happen.....consider yourself warned!
If you have delicates (i.e. fancy laces and silks), hand wash or use a special bag for them in a gentle cycle.
If you have a lot of heavy items, multiple pairs of jeans, or bath towels, wash them together.
If you are doing family laundry, it may be easier to do each individuals separately as it makes putting the clothes away easier. No guessing--and no one complaining their Hanes are too tight!
If you have any inkling something will bleed or fade, hand wash it. If it doesn't bleed dye when you hand wash it, toss it in the washer the next time around. Remember, most fabrics and dyes are colorfast nowadays.......
Step 2: Prep the Wash
Prepping the wash is an important step. These tasks will result in cleaner laundry and no mishaps in the wash. (My personal worst was missing some crayons and markers in a pocket!)
Check all pockets to make sure they are empty.
Look for stains and pretreat by pouring a small amount of detergent directly on the stain.
A small amount of detergent, scrubbed in with a toothbrush, works great on ring around the collar.
Snap snaps, zip zippers. (Don't bother with buttons--to time consuming?)
Step 3: Load and Set the Machine
Actually this step is combined with the previous, for it is simplest to prep and toss clothes into the machine one by one.
Simply, take each piece of laundry out of the basket, check for stains, empty pockets , zip and snap and then toss it into the machine.
When all of your clothes are loaded, add your detergent. Good quality generics are ofter cheaper and work just as well. Unless you have very dirty laundry, save cost and product (remember REDUCE, reuse, recycle) by using only 1/2 to 3/4 of the recommended amount of detergent. (THEY WANT YOU TO USE MORE SO YOU BUY MORE!)
Set your water level. May I suggest doing full loads of laundry to save energy and water.
Select water temperature and cycle. (Most can be done using the warm and regular settings). Start the machine and let it do it's work.
Step 4: Drying Your Clothes
The most environmentally friendly way to dry your clothes is outdoors on a clothesline.
This requires some pre-thought.
Choose to do the laundry early in the day.
Monitor the forecast and do laundry accordingly. (That is pick a clear, sunny day.)
Line should be in a sunny locale, although remember you might want a small bit in a shady area for those clothes that are susceptible to fading in the sun. (Using trees to suspend the rope works well for this.)
Shake clothing to remove wrinkles before hanging. Smooth hem lines and button plackets between your fingers to prevent wrinkling.
Allow nature to do its thing. Smile, enjoy the breeze and pat yourself on the back for helping the environment!
Remove clothes from line. Fold, sort and put away.
Step 5: If You Use a Dryer.......
Set dryer time (typically 30-40 minutes for an average load). Remove anything you fear will shrink and line dry it. Allow dryer to do its thing. (During this time think about how using a clothesline would be a small step towards reducing your energy consumption).
Remove clothes as soon as possible. Pull out dress shirts a bit early to prevent wrinkling and avoid ironing. Sort, fold and store.
Step 6: Tips for Reducing Laundry Loads
Remember, clothes can be worn more than once! Use hook and hangers to keep them wrinkle free and look good for a second (and third wear). DON'T TOSS THEM IN A HEAP!
Have a set of "dirty" clothes for working in the garden, garage, barn. etc.
Use aprons or smocks when cooking or doing crafts such as painting to prevent stains and spills.
Consider washing delicates such as bras and underwear during your shower. CONSERVE THAT WATER!
Step 7: Brighter Brights and Whiter Whites......
Alas, LinuxH4x0r was unavailable for pictures this time.
None-the-less, thanks to LinuxH4x0r for not asking for brighter brights and whiter whites. Thanks to Tuxgirl for keeping her school uniforms neat and clean so she can wear them more than once. Finally, thanks to the Head of the Household for hanging the line and keeping it taut! Can't wait to do your guys' laundry!