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How to Wash Clothes the Right Way to Make Them Last Longer

Knowing how to wash your clothes the right way is vital. Here are some tips to help you clean your clothes effectively and efficiently.

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Washing your clothes the right way can have a huge impact on their life. For example, if you use hot water to wash your silk saree, it may end up ruining the smooth finish of your saree. To preserve the colour, shape and brightness of your garments, using the right temperature of the water and suitable method of washing is important. Read on to know how to wash clothes by hand and some useful points to remember while washing clothes in machine. 

Pre-Washing Tips

Before you start washing clothes, you must take these necessary steps to get the best results. 

There are two main points you should keep in mind while sorting your laundry: fabric and colour. You should make piles based on the colour of your garment and the fabric. Light and dark coloured clothing should never be washed together. Some fabrics, like denim, need more scrubbing and pressure. This may be disastrous for delicate fabrics like cashmere. So, it is important to sort your laundry as per the fabric. If you want the best returns on your investment in clothes, always follow the wash care label instructions. Some clothing items may need dry clean only while some may need hand washing in the water at a particular temperature. Read the care label to provide the best care to your clothes. 

It is very important to check if your clothing items are colourfast. One of the easiest ways to prevent the problem of colour transfer during the wash is to run a colour bleeding test. To test, dampen a cotton swab and rub it on the insides of your clothing item. If the swab stays white, you can be assured that the colour won’t run during the wash. 

It is very important to unbutton the shirts before washing them. If you fail to do so, you may have to deal with ripped buttonholes in your shirt. Also, fasten the zippers of your jeans and dresses. It may seem basic, but perhaps it is one of the most important pre-washing steps. Check to see if all the pockets in your jeans/dresses are empty. Coins and buttons spilling out from the pocket can damage your machine drum and cause unnecessary repair expense. 

Do not put your garment for wash without treating the stains. Remember, the earlier you treat the stains, the easier it will be to get rid of. Washing and drying your stained garment without treating the stains will result in the stain setting in more firmly in the fabric of your garment. 

How to Wash Clothes

Ingredients to keep handy

a) Laundry detergent

b) Fabric softener

c) Clothes brush

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Method 1: Using Washing Machine

  1. Step 1: Know What Temperature to Select

    Washing machines have different settings for water temperature. Some fabrics need to be washed in hot water while some fabrics need to be washed in cold water. You must decide the temperature of the water, based on the colour and fabric of your clothing items. 

    Light coloured clothes that have been heavily stained should be washed in hot water. The heat will lift the stains off the fabric. 

    Dark coloured clothes and cotton clothes should be washed in cold water. 

  2. Step 2: Know What Load Size to Select

    Do not try to stuff your machine drum with all your laundry at once. You can always run another wash cycle. Cramming your machine will affect its performance.  

  3. Step 3: Know What Cycle to Select

    As is the case with water temperature, different fabrics need different kinds of a wash cycle. 

    Select the normal wash cycle for your regular and white clothes. 

    Select a gentle wash cycle for your delicate innerwear and clothes made from fine fabrics like lace, wool etc. Also, always fasten the zips and unbutton the buttons before putting them for wash. Otherwise, the garment can get stretched in the wash.

  4. Step 4: Know What Washing Fluid to Use

    Depending on the fabric of your clothes and load of your mix, you must add a suitable washing fluid. There are 3 main types of washing fluids: Detergent, Bleaching Agents and Fabric Softener. 

    You can use a bleach (sodium hypochlorite) like Rin Ala for white clothes. It is a fabric whitener which helps brighten your white clothes and bring back their shine. Being sodium hypochlorite bleach is recommended to use on white clothes only. Do not use on coloured clothes. Check the pack to understand correct usage instructions.

    For washing your coloured clothes, we recommend Surf Excel Matic Liquid as it is specially formulated for washing machines. It leaves no residue (like powders do) as being a liquid it dissolves completely in water. It helps maintain your washing machine’s life. Check the pack to understand correct usage instructions. 

    We suggest you add a fabric conditioner during the rinse cycle. You can use Comfort Core. This fabric conditioner softens the clothes and also adds a mild fragrance to clothes.

  5. Step 5: Dry Your Clothes

    Some clothes need to be air-dried. For others, you can use the machine dryer. Use the heavy setting for white clothes and delicate for finer fabrics. 

Method 2: Hand Washing Clothes

  1. Step 1: Sort Your Laundry

    Sort your clothes by colour, separating the darks and lights to be washed in two batches.

  2. Step 2: Grab a Bucket

    Fill a bucket or the washing basin with warm water. 

  3. Step 3: Treat the Stains

    You can treat stains using either a liquid detergent like Surf Excel Matic Liquid or a detergent powder such as Surf Excel Easy Wash. Just apply it on the stain before proceeding with normal wash.

  4. Step 4: Add Detergent

    You’ll need to use the right detergent for your fabric to hand wash clothes properly as some delicate garments will need a gentle product.

  5. Step 5: Soak

    Soak each item of clothing in the water for several minutes to ensure they fully absorb the detergent.

  6. Step 6: Wash

    Start washing each item, knead and twist the clothes, so they get a thorough wash. A common mistake to avoid while hand-washing your garment is using detergent powder in excess. When you use detergent powder in excess, it may leave behind residue on your clothes after wash. Always use the right amount of detergent. Check the pack usage instructions to understand the same.

  7. Step 7: Rinse

    Rinse with warm, clean water. Run each item under the tap and wring out until all the detergent is gone.

  8. Step 8: Dry

    Leave the clothes to dry in a well-ventilated room. You can dry white clothes under direct sunlight on a clothes line. Sunlight acts as a natural whitener and disinfectant. Always dry your coloured clothes in partial shade on a clothes line. 

Has your lifestyle during the Covid-19 lockdown affected the type of stains you get on your clothes?

Keep your clothes looking bright and smelling fresh by washing them thoroughly. Pay attention to their specific needs to make them last longer. 

Flat dry your woolen clothes. Do not hang your woolen clothes on the clothesline as it can damage its shape. Spread them out on a flat surface in a shaded area. Ensure that the room is well-ventilated. 

Originally published