Wash Right: The Complete Guide to Doing Laundry
When you can’t avoid doing laundry any longer, the key is to wash right, with the right detergent, technique and temperature – treating the textiles the way they deserve. Because washing in the wrong way is one of the biggest reasons why clothes lose their beauty.
Step 1: Sorting Colors Properly
Don’t trust people who claim it’s unnecessary to color-sort your laundry (who knows what else they’re wrong about?). It’s a must to prevent light-colored clothes and whites from becoming grey-ish.
We recommend five piles:
- One for dark clothes (navy, blacks, browns and similar)
- One for light colored textiles (beige, light grey and other muted tones)
- A separate one for whites (and whites only!)
- One with delicate items (they should also be washed in a laundry bag)
- We would also recommend a separate pile for red and pink clothes, as their color can darken in an unflattering way if their washed with dark colors
Always store your dirty laundry in a breathable laundry bag, that lets air flow through. Otherwise you’re at risk of inviting funky smells and mildew.
Step 2: How to Choose the Right Laundry Detergent
Choosing a fitting detergent for your clothes is important. Using the wrong detergent can actually destroy your garments – especially if they are made of silk or wool. Remember to never overdose, using too much won’t make your clothes cleaner.
Minimum, you need three different types of laundry detergent:
- one for colors
- one for whites
- one for delicate garments
Actually, you can benefit from using a laundry detergent customized for the type of clothes you are washing. Research has come a long way, and different detergents contain different combinations of enzymes and surfactants – the active ingredients that make clothes clean and fresh. Don’t fear being a little nerdy!
Step 3: Choosing the Right Laundry Program
Washing Wool and Silk
Silk and wool are made from animal protein and must be washed with an enzyme-free Delicate Laundry Detergent. A regular detergent will destroy the fibres, and after as little as two washes your garments may be full of small holes. Our Delicate Laundry Detergent contains lanolin that rehydrates the fibres in any type of natural material and prolongs their lifespan. When washing wool, wool blends or silk clothes, always choose the Wool Program. This is a gentle program with a short spin cycle is suitable for delicate clothes. If possible, use a laundry bag to protect the clothes.
Your gym-clothes or other active wear are most certainly made of some synthetic blend fabric. They must be washed in low temperatures (max 30ºC); problem is that this can make funky smells linger. Choose an Odor Control Laundry Detergent,
developed to target the bacteria that cause odors. For clothes that reek of a pungent smell (when you’ve forgotten your used gym-outfit in the bag until the next workout session) we recommend you let the clothes soak at least an hour in water and Odor Control Laundry Detergent before washing.
Choose a short program and spin cycle (30 degrees ºC max) to save water and energy. Remember gym clothes rarely get dirty – just sweaty. Our Odor Control Detergent is also great for washing cotton textiles; towels, bed linen and all your garments made of cotton.
Washing Down Jackets
Down jackets must not be washed too often, since frequent washing makes the down lose its fluffiness. Instead, make a habit of hanging it outdoors and let it air and spray it with Clothing Mist once in a while. Choose a Delicate Laundry Detergent. Using an enzyme-based detergent when you wash will dissolve the natural oils and the jacket will lose some of its insulation abilities.
Rinse out all detergent residues thoroughly (we recommend an extra rinsing-cycle) and tumble dry, inside out, on low temperature. Add three or more clean tennis balls to the tumble dryer and let the program run until your jacket has dried completely. Pause to shake the jacket once in a while, you want the down to spread evenly throughout the garment. The jacket is done – and ready to be worn – when it’s completely dry and smells fresh.
Washing Everyday Cotton Clothes and Fabrics
Cotton clothes can withstand higher temperatures. However, colors will fade if you constantly wash your clothes in 60ºC, so make 30ºC – 40ºC your standard option for colored textiles. Crisp white 100% cotton garments can often be washed in 60ºC, this will actually prevent them for becoming grey-ish. Choose our Dark Laundry Detergent for blacks, navy or brown clothes, our Color Laundry Detergent for any colored textiles. If your whites are to stay white over time, you need to wash them in a White Laundry Detergent.
How to Hand Wash
Machine washing is a harsh clothing care process. It is not only the fact that clothes are soaked in water and later on dried that have an impact on clothing appearance. The movements, twisting, centrifugation etc, manipulate fibers, seams and trimmings which may result in damage. By handwashing you have total control of the items being washed and can adjust your method using your hands. For example, when removing stains, you can focus on these spots only when the rest of the garment sometimes doesn’t need to be washed at all.
Note that all items you personally define as delicate items (clothes that are dear to you) will last longer if being hand washed. However, the easiest way to define if clothes should be hand washed or not you will find on the care label. Normally washable high fashion items, delicate silk, wool, cashmere and merino wool (especially fine knits) meet the qualification for hand washing.
How to Pick the Right Temperature
The general rule is to always wash in as cold water as possible. A modern laundry detergent contains a mix of enzymes and surfactants that will make your laundry clean even in 30ºC.
30ºC: For all clothes and fabrics that aren’t heavily soiled, sports clothes, clothes made of synthetic blends and all delicate items. Make this your standard option.
40ºC: Heavily stained clothes made of cotton.
60ºC: Kitchen towels, bed linen, white sheets and towels.
These are just general guidelines. Always glance at the care label to learn the specific instructions for the garments you’re washing.
Caring Drying Techniques
There are many ways of drying your laundry. These are the most common methods:
Most garments will last longer and keep their shape if you let them slowly dry on a drying rack or on a hanger. Make sure to straighten hems and creases as much as possible, this will save you time for when you want to steam the dry clothes.
Tumble drying is not only bad from an energy consumption perspective. The tumble dryer will also shrink your clothes and destroy the fibers. The only time where tumble drying is needed is when you’re drying down jackets, cushions or blankets. It’s convenient to tumble dry bed linen, sheets and towels – their size makes hang-drying more impractical – but the tumble dryer will also make your towels softer, and that’s actually pretty nice. Note that the everything you tumble dry will age prematurely. And if you do tumble dry – please use Tumble Dryer Balls to shorten the drying time.
A common advice is to always dry your knits lying flat. However, if you can spin-dry your woollen clothes after washing – in a machine on a gentle wool program or by hand – we recommend spin-drying on a short 800 RPM-cycle. The spin cycle will remove all excess water and you can safely hang-dry your knits without having them lose their shape. If you can’t access a washing machine, you can flat dry your wool clothes on a towel or flat on top of a drying rack. If you’re drying them on a drying rack it’s sensible to use a towel as a base, this prevents creases. Don’t forget to flip the garment once in a while.
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