You may well have been washing clothes for decades, but are still be completely baffled by those million and one clothes labels; you may also be using all the wrong programmes for the wrong items. What’s more you might even be damaging your clothes and shortening their lifespan significantly by opting for drying processes that are anything but helpful for clothes and items that may be delicate.
So here we dispel some washing label-related confusion and debunk plenty of laundry related myths.
Step One: Checking those labels
Those little symbols found on your clothing labels may very well seem like some sort of cleaning test, however, with a little knowledge of the four main symbols you can overcome 90% of them.
- The Washing Machine symbol will denote the ideal temperature to wash the garment at.
- The Bleach symbol will show you whether or not you can use bleach on the item, if not then it will be crossed out.
- The Tumble Dry symbol shows you how you can dry the garment. A circle shows you that you can use heat; a dot shows you that it must be dried at a low temperature, with two dots meaning normal temperature and three dots meaning high temperature.
- The Dry Clean symbol will show you whether the item in question is dry clean only.
Step Two: Separating up your garments
Step Two should see you separating your laundry, and you may be surprised to learn that this stage actually consists of four piles in total, with these being: whites, lights, darks and delicates.
Step Three: The final check over
Now it’s time to make sure nothing is entering the wash that shouldn’t be. So check all of those pockets and zipper compartments.
Step Four: Deciding upon the temperature (Cold washes)
Deciding which temperature to wash at may very well be defined by the labels of the clothing that you’re washing, however generally speaking cool washes are perfect for fabrics and delicates as well as sweaters, denim and clothes that are prone to shrinkage. What’s more colder temperatures also protect the vibrancy of dark or brightly coloured clothing.
Step Five: Deciding upon the temperature (Warm washes)
Warmer temperatures are better for whites and lights as they are necessary to working out stains and marks whilst also killing bacteria.
Step Six: Deciding upon the temperature (Hot washes)
Hot washes are necessary for clothing that may be heavily stained, or items such as towels or baby garments that require serious bacterial cleansing.
The exceptions to the rule(s) are the excellent Samsung Ecobubble machines which deliver warm wash results at much lower temperatures. You can find out more about the Ecobubble range here.
Step Seven: Talking about detergents
- Colour safe bleach can be used on all clothes, although it doesn’t have the same disinfecting properties as standard bleach.
- Many people boil or treat their whites with chlorine bleach, however you should never use this for coloured clothing.
- Fabric softener doesn’t just make your towels fluffy… it also extends the life of your clothes.
Step Eight: Getting your drying cycle right
Drying cycles may be high, medium or low, with these being suitable for:
- High heat drying can be used on jeans, towels, sheets and linens. This setting should not, however, be used on clothes that have gone through a hot wash.
- Medium heat drying can be used on clothes that may otherwise be subject to fading. It should not, however, be used on delicate garments.
- Low heat drying is suitable for delicates and choosing a slower speed will you take better care of particularly delicate items.