How To Do Laundry
Easy Steps to Understanding and Restoring Your Fabrics
Beginner or veteran, young or old, chances are you are confused, uncertain or simply don’t know what you don’t know. Understanding laundry tools and fabrics assures safe and proper restoration of fabrics hence enhancing the look and feel while reducing the laundry budget.
One of the most important processes in cleaning fabric is mechanical action. Mechanical action is the physical process which engages the fabric absorbed by lubricants a\k\a detergents, water and soil. Years ago mechanical action was applied by working the fabric against a boulder at the rivers edge which was succeeded by the soap bucket and washboard. The invention of the washing machine is less physically demanding and provides greater cleaning ability. Not overloading the washing machine will allow for proper mechanical action hence satisfactory cleaning results.
In order to assist the mechanical action (agitation) and water with the removal of soil, we add lubricants a\k\a laundry detergent. Detergent and soaps are essential for the removal of oily and organic type stains\soil. Detergents and soaps contain surfactants which reduce the water’s surface tension. “Think of it like this…Surfactants are like a broker succeeding in a deal which both water and oil agree to mix for a little while” – Gary Shif, President of Best Cleaners in Orlando. By succeeding in such “deal” we are able to dispose of the soil during the rinse cycle.
Today’s detergents include more than just surfactants, they also include bleaches, enzymes, alkalis and fragrance to improve cleaning while penetrating a spectrum of stains\soil types.
Fabric is a product of weaving or networking natural or artificial fibers. How the fabric is constructed and\or dyed dictates how we will care for it. Example, loose weaved wool fabric has the tendency to shrink more so than a tight weaved synthetic fabric. Unless preshrunk, natural fibers like cotton and linen will likely shrink in hot water while polyester is found to be more durable. While water temperature is a factor it is not the only factor in caring for fabrics. Dye, Ph. Level and Yarn create many variables in which need to be considered prior to washing or restoring fabrics. We recommend following manufacturers cleaning instructions. The latter is due to FTC laws and the assumption that the manufacturer and its garment engineers developed a satisfactory product.
Sorting is a most critical step as proper sorting will prevent dye bleeding, shrinking and improve cleaning and restoration of your fabrics. In general, there are three main wash groups:
Lights (Whites, Tan, Beige, Cream, Silver etc.)
Darks a\k\a Deep Colors (Red, Navy, Green, Black etc.)
Mediums a\k\a Pastels (Pink, Mint Green, Yellow etc.)
NOTE: Each group should be separated in to sub-groups e.g. dark hand washables, light delicates and even light household (sheets, towels, pillow cases etc.)
After removing all foreign matters from pockets:
1 - Load the proper group into wash wheel. Always be aware that overloading the wash wheel will reduce the cleaning ability and life of your washing machine (for load capacity refer to Owner’s Manual).
2 - Choose the proper wash cycle. Most fabrics may be restored by washing and rinsing in cold water. However, household items should be washed in hot water for proper sanitation while rinsed in cold water.
NOTE: Rinsing in anything but cold water is simply a waste of energy.
3 – Detergent should be added according to your water type, size of load and degree of soil. In most cases, an over the counter detergent will work fine if used according to instructions.
NEVER: Apply detergent directly to fabric. Use dispenser or allow machine to fill with water prior to adding detergent.
- When in doubt read garment label.
- Check pockets.
- Sort in to groups.
- Always run full loads but don’t overload machine.
- Wash only household in hot water and always rinse in cold water.
- Never place detergent directly on fabric.
- Never leave wet fabrics in washer as they will sour and mold.
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Doing laundry can be loads of fun