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Doing your laundry the right way

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Yes, you can be an expert at doing your laundry the right way

A teenager heads off to college and before long he realizes, oops, I donít know how to do laundry. Staring at a heaping mound of dirty, stinky laundry has turned the light bulb on.  Mom (or dad) has been doing it all along. It was taken for granted. Who wants to do it if they donít have to? Well, now the student has to particularly if he is far from home and doesnít get back there regularly. This is what you need to know about doing laundry the right way.


You will need a laundry basket or bag to haul your clothing in. Get a good detergent, such as Tide. Purchase fabric softener or dryer sheets. Take some hangers with you so you can hang your newly washed clothing. A rolling clothes rack will make the process of removing clothes from the dryer and ironing much more organized.


When you get to the Laundromat (or are doing your laundry in your own apartment) separate (sort) your clothing. Separate the whites from the darks. If you wash whites with darks they donít stay white very long and may even turn a peculiar color.

Here is an easy way to sort: Put light colored clothing in one pile. Wash these items in cold water.

Put your dark colored colors in another pile. Dark colored clothing often consists of jeans, socks and dark shirts. These items can be washed in warm or hot water because they donít shrink, although you may have some dark colored clothes that can shrink. In that case, put them in the dark-colored/color water pile.


Take the time to read the tags in your clothing. Some items have to be washed in cold water; others donít. Some need to be washed on gentle cycle. Some clothing shrinks so if you wash it in hot water and dry it on high heat itís going to fix your four year old brother instead of you.


Some clothing can NOT be washed. Look at the label. If it says dry-clean only, it means it. You can try to hand wash it but you may not like the results.


Underwear, such as bras, should be washed on delicate settings. You may want to put your bras and panties into a mesh lingerie bag before washing. This prevents the hooks on the bras from snagging other items and keeps the hooks from getting bent. When they're bent, you can't hook your bra.


If there is an obvious stain on your clothing, pre-treat it with a stain remover before you toss it into the washing machine. Some Ďexpertsí suggest that you pre-treat shirt collars every time because collars can get quite soiled from body oil. Once they build up on the collar they are difficult if not impossible to remove. Clothing that is considered permanent-press tends to hold dirt because it has been treated with retain, which help the item maintain its shape. These clothes should be pre-treated with spot remover.


Ideally, you should button your shirts and sweaters before washing them because if left unbuttoned the button holes may tear.

If there is a permanent press setting on the washing machine, use it for your permanent press shirts because this cycle is easier on the clothing than the regular wash cycle. Once again, make sure you read the label. If your clothing is knit and made of synthetics, cotton or blends you can wash them in the washing machine on gentle cycle. Use warm or cold water.

However, to avoid wrinkling, dry the knits for 10 minutes in the dryer on low and then put them on a sweater rack that is made of mesh or on a flat towel to dry further.

To avoid losing socks, pin the pairs together before you toss them into the washing pin. (Note to self: Buy safety pins.)


It works beautifully on soiled white clothing but you don't want to put it on silks or other delicate fabrics. If you get bleach on your dark clothing, you are going to ruin them - they will be full of white spots and splash marks.

Be careful when you use bleach.


If you get in a bind and arenít sure how to wash a particular item, call your mom or dad or whoever is the head honcho of laundry at your home of origin. Theyíll be glad to help you. They were probably in the same situation when they went off to college.

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