How To Do Laundry

May 31, 2023 • Jamie Dorman

Doing your laundry may seem like a simple task—and it is—but there are some essential dos and don’ts you should know to ensure your laundry is done correctly, and your clothing comes out looking clean and smelling fresh. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown on how to do laundry to make sure you’ve got it right.

Step 1: Separate

Your first objective when preparing to do laundry is to check the care tags on all of your items. They’re usually located along a seam or neckline and provide important information about how and at what temperature your clothing should be washed.

Remove any items that indicate they require a hand wash, to be washed separately, or dry cleaning. This ensures that only machine-safe items will go into the washing machine.

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Step 2: Sort

You may be familiar with sorting laundry, but did you know that it should be sorted twice? First, sort by color. Depending on how much laundry you have, you can separate it into lights and darks, or lights, darks, brights, and whites. This prevents colors from bleeding into one another and allows you to choose the correct temperature for each wash.

Next, sort each load by fabric weight. Heavier items like towels and sweatshirts should be washed separately from lighter items like t-shirts and tank tops when possible to prevent damage to lighter fabrics.

Step 3: Load the Machine

Rather than dumping a whole basket of clothes into the washing machine, add items one by one, making sure that items aren’t balled up. Never overload the machine. An overfilled machine can be noisy or rock back and forth. Plus, clothes need space to move in the water to be cleaned correctly.

Step 4: Add Detergent

One of the most important things you can do when washing clothes is read and follow the directions on your laundry detergent. It may seem like more detergent will mean cleaner clothes, but, in actuality, using too much detergent can not only leave a film on your clothes, but it can also damage your washing machine over time. 

For most washes, you only need half of one of our best laundry detergent sheets. (But read the directions anyway!) To give your clothes a sweet scent, add our laundry scent beads, too.

Step 5: Choose Cycle

Most clothing should be washed in a cold-water cycle. This helps protect the fibers of your fabrics and minimizes the risk of colors bleeding onto other items. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule.

If items are caked in dirt, heavily stained, or exceptionally dirty, they should be washed separately, and in warm or hot water. Treat them with our stain remover for clothes to get out any stubborn stains.

Cotton underwear and bed sheets also need to be washed in hot water. These items accumulate buildups of body oil that require higher temperatures to remove. At a minimum, towels and bedsheets should be washed at the highest possible temperature every other wash, so they can be sanitized.

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Step 6: Remove Laundry

While it may seem convenient, leaving your wet laundry to sit in the washing machine after it’s done can actually cause you more work in the long run. Clothes that are left to sit can become wrinkled or even cultivate mildew. Save yourself the effort of extra ironing or rewashing and take your clothes out as quickly as possible.

Step 7: Load the Dryer

If you skipped step two and didn’t sort your items by weight before washing, take an extra moment to do that now. Heavier fabrics should be dried together, as should lightweight items. This allows you to choose the correct cycle and temperature so that all items in a load will take the same amount of time to dry.

Don’t forget to add dryer sheets to prevent static, condition fabric fibers, and keep your clothes smelling fresh.

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Now that you’re a laundry expert, check out our selection of detergents, stain removers, and scent boosters to pick up everything you need for a successful laundry experience.