Everyday tips for washing clothes

Washing machines are perhaps one of the most important labour saving devices in the home. They have developed into quite sophisticated devices with a sometimes bewildering array of buttons and options. Many even have delicate settings for clothes like silk and woollens that would have previously had to be washed by hand. There has also been an increase in the number of washing products available to suit sensitive skin and different types of clothes. Modern detergents and the machines themselves can wash at lower temperatures, which is better for the environment but can lead to problems.

With our busy lives, it can be all too easy to simply throw everything in the washing machine, perhaps even breaking the old rules and mixing whites and colours, using a colour run catcher sheet. But over time, the clothes' fibres can be damaged, colours can fade and whites can become grey.

Some washing products can affect sensitive skin

General tips

So, there are some general principles that you should follow to get the best results:

  • Do read (and follow) the garment car label on clothes. Shrunk clothes are no fun and whites that have gone grey don't give the best impression.
  • Try to wash in 'loads' ie similar fabrics and colours. Always wash whites with other whites. Consider hotter washes for whites as this helps keep them white and helps kill germs and bacteria in the machine.
  • Use the correct wash product dosage. Too much wastes money and can result in build up; not enough and your clothes won't be clean.
  • Don't overload the washing machine. Water and detergent won't be able to circulate and dirt will get trapped.
  • Do try some of the non-standard wash cycles, including 'handwash' for delicates. 
  • Use an appropriate wash product if family members have skin sensitivities. Non-bio detergents and an extra rinse cycle may be the answer but sometimes products like Liquid Soap Flakes, which contain no fragrances or known allergens may be even 'kinder' to the skin.
  • Clean and descale the machine (including the drawer) if and when necessary.
  • Check the filter assembly (usually bottom right) regularly for build up.