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laundry tips

Washing powder and scoop.

Needing some laundry tips, as you've been left holding the basket!

Oh no! What happened?

Well maybe you've just left home, or you are trying to remember what to do?

It can be a little daunting as you stand looking at the washing machine, pondering just how to sort your laundry...

  • Laundry Sorter
  • Garment Care - What do those symbols mean?
  • Your Washing Machine
  • Tumble Drying
  • Don't Tumble Dry? I have some guidance that may well be of use to you!

laundry sorter

First and foremost, you need to assess the work that is to be done.

I'm guessing you have a pile of clothes all jumbled together... yes?

In that case the first laundry tip would be to sort through the items.

Separate into the following piles, I usually do this along my landing or in the kitchen in front of the machine:

  • White
  • Woolen
  • Darks
  • Reds/Pinks
  • Excellent!

Well done - the next step is to look at the clothes individually.

For instance in your White pile do you have anything that you would consider delicate, such as undergarments that aren't cotton? If you do - put these separate again.

In time you will get to "just know" the next steps, but if you are unsure here lets look at the garment care...

garment care

Now as you assess each of the items of clothing, you will see little pictures that advise you on the care of that particular garment. These do all have a meaning however we firstly need to be concerned with the "Washing" ones only. The types of garments are depicted with the following symbols:

Cotton Wash. Your Cotton Wash could possibly include things like vests, t-shirts, cotton trousers, jeans, etc

Synthetics Wash. These will be items that do not fall into the Cotton category, and are not woolen.

Wool Wash. Anything that is made of wool should be washed on this category.

The next determining factor is the temperature that the garment can be washed at.

For this indicator you will find a symbol very similar to the Cotton Wash, but this will denote a number in the 'water' part of the icon.

This number represents the maximum temperature that this garment should be washed at.

Make sure your piles represent the right...

  1. garment types
  2. color types 
  3. maximum temperature.

Following these laundry tips will then mean you can see the number of 'loads' you have to do.

your washing machine

This is where I may not be able to help you too much, but I will of course try my best.

Each machine is different, but you will find with the aid of the operating manual or these general laundry tips that the programs on the machines do not really differ that much.

Pictured above, you can see the programs that are on my own machine.

I am fortunate that they really do spell it out for the operator, in that the garment icon is along-side the program name.

You therefore pick out the appropriate load of washing, place this in the machine, and select the corrulating washing program.

You will probably find the machine you intend to use has a similar profile.

Remember the numbers reflect the maximum temperature. If you can securely wash the garment at a lower temperature, you will help your carbon footprint.

tumble drying

Excellent, you now have a pile of clean, washed clothing!

You just need to dry them...

If you are fortunate to live in sunny climes, then the obvious solution is to place these outside where they will probably dry in one, one, two!

For those of us that are not fortune to have our washing dried outside, you have the dilema of what to do.

You can dry your garments on an internal washing line, or airer; which will work.

If you have gas central heating, you can place the garments on the radiators or on specialist hanging rails. However, bear in mind this will restrict the release of the heat into the house and isn't the best thing for your carbon footprint.

For you and your family, you may well use a Tumble Dryer, in which case you will need to go back to the clothing labels and look for the accurate symbols so you know what garments can tolerate the dryer. These are...

Can be Tumble Dried. These garmets you can happily place in this machine.

Can be tumble dried on a low heat. I would err caution on this, and weigh up the cost of running a tumble drier on a low heat, compared to putting these items out to dry on an airer. It is up to you, but worth a thought before action.

No Tumble Dry. They usually mean it, so don't, not even on a low heat; especially if it's a favoured garment. It could well end in tears.


A key laundry tip though: don't wash more garments than you can get dry.

Once the garments are out to dry, or in the tumble dryer, you can of course get on with the next load of washing!

Having wet clothes around will change the atmosphere, and if left, they will go moldy, make your home smell damp, and the smell will linger on your clothes for good. Promise!

So if you have more room to dry stuff, get the next load on. If not, you may wish to consider purchasing a laundry sorter, after all you've split the piles up, just need to keep it separate until you can get it out to dry.

don't tumble dry

Clothes all dried?

Ready for the next laundry tip? Ugh, the ironing...

Well it doesn't have to be that way!

If you have used an airer to dry your clothes, there is the fine art of strategic hanging! Oh! Yes, this means NO ironing.

I think I have your interest now...

Ok - quite simply, as soon as your washing is done, get it out and turn it in the right way, and fold it nicely - DO NOT accept creases, unless you want the end garment creased!

This adds a little time to this process, but you are ensuring that deep creases do not occur unless you want them.

Take your pile of nice folded clothes to the airer, and put them out - don't squash them on there, to 'make them fit'. Again be pedantic, if there is a crease on the airer, there will be in the end garment - so get rid of them.

Leave these to dry, and once done, take your items off the airer, nicely dry, nice and flat - does it really need ironing now? If followed correctly, I would err not.

...But I do need to iron it...! Oh dear, maybe next time?

For you, as with the other stages of the laundry tips, there are laundry tips for ironing also. Again refer back to your garment label, as you will need to identify the maximum heat that you are to able to iron it at.

The icons are as follows...

Cool Iron. Your iron will have a thermostate on it somewhere (unless it's from yester-year!). On the thermostate you will see symbols that match these - or state Cool, Warm and Hot - elect the most appropriate one.

Warm Iron. Put the setting to Warm, and allow for the iron to heat to the correct temperature.

Hot Iron. Be careful, especially if the hot function has an automatic 'steam' element too - as the steam could be enough to scold you.

This may go without saying to - but be careful on the garment once you have ironed with a hot item.

Studs or zips will retain the heat longer than the garment, and you may find that the garments are too hot to touch for a bit.

› Laundry Tips