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How to properly wash clothes in the washing machine: the essential guide

Do you use the same cycle to wash all your clothes? Click to learn how to properly wash clothes.


How to properly wash clothes | Washing machine cycles

Choosing the right cycle for the type of load – different fabrics tolerate different degrees of agitation. Whichever cycle you choose, use a fabric conditioner like  Comfort to leaves clothes soft, clean and fragrant.

While most of us get by with a basic knowledge of the steps needed in washing clothes, understanding how to properly wash clothes is another thing altogether. Do you know how to rinse clothes in the washing machine? Or how to choose between washing machine cycles? Keep your clothes looking better for longer by understanding more about using your washing machine well.

Here’s how to choose the right cycle for different types of loads because, after all, different fabrics tolerate different degrees of agitation. Before we give you the best tips on using the right washing machine cycles, our first suggestion is to always use a fabric conditioner like  Comfort which leaves clothes soft, clean and fragrant.

Washing machine cycles

Choosing the right cycle is one of the key steps in washing clothes. You might ask – won’t any machine cycle wash my laundry? However, many laundry disasters can be put down to using the wrong cycle, as selecting the wrong one could result in damaged or misshapen clothes.

A washing cycle has one speed at which it ‘agitates’ or tumbles the clothes, and another at which it spins the water out of the clothes. You should choose the cycle based on how much agitation and spin a load requires and can tolerate.

  • Regular or normal cycle This cycle is the longest with the most agitation – perfect for cottons, linens, jeans, towels, bedding and other sturdy fabrics which can withstand this degree of agitation.

  • Permanent press cycle The biggest mystery of them all, permanent press cycles are used primarily for synthetic fibres such as knits, polyester and rayon. These materials require the agitation of a regular cycle and the slow spin of a delicate cycle. The slow spin prevents wrinkling and reduces wear and tear.

  • Delicate cycle This cycle uses a lesser degree of agitation and a slow spin speed to gently extract water from laundry. Perfect for lingerie, sheer fabrics, embellished garments (with beads or sequins), lacy garments and loosely woven items which require extra protection in the machine. 

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Always check the care label before putting clothes into the washing machine. You might find you need to avoid the machine altogether and hand wash some garments. Use a gentle detergent designed for effective hand washing like Sunlight laundry bars and Sunlight washing powders.

How to rinse clothes in the washing machine? All washing cycles will rinse clothes with clean water to clear out any remaining detergent, before spinning them dry. It’s a quick cycle that runs automatically after most wash cycles and requires no extra input from you. The only time you’ll need to rinse clothes yourself is if you hand wash any garments.

How to put clothes in the washing machine

This may seem like a no-brainer, and you may very well be thinking – surely any way I put clothes in the machine will wash my laundry?

However, from thorough sorting to using the right amount of detergent, there is a knack to it. If you’ve ever wondered how to put clothes in the washing machine (or even if you haven’t) check out our top tips.

  1. Do you sort your laundry by colour? Laundry can also (and sometimes should) be sorted by material type, level of soiling and whether clothes require special care such as hand washing or dry cleaning.

  2. Having said that, always check whether any new garments will ‘bleed’ colour in the wash. Dampen a discreet spot then blot it with a white cloth to see if the dye bleeds. If it does, wash on its own until the colour stops running.

  3. Ensure that all pockets are empty (removing tissues from wet laundry isn’t much fun) and fasten all zips to avoid them snagging other garments. Wash shirts unbuttoned as fastening them can rip the buttonhole.

  4. Once your clothes are in the machine, add the detergent and fabric softener – an essential if you want your clothes to come out of the wash soft and fragrant. Powdered detergent can be put in the drawer or in the drum in a mesh bag. Liquid detergents and fabric softeners should go into the detergent drawer.

Quick Tips for Best Results

  • Sort laundry and ensure all zips are fastened and all pockets are empty

  • Add a suitable laundry detergent like OMO Auto Powder and a fabric softener – be careful not to add too much as it may not dissolve or rinse properly

  • Put 1 cap of fabric conditioner in your detergent drawer – do not pour directly onto clothes.

  • Choose the right cycle for the type of laundry load.

  • Hand wash when necessary – always check care labels beforehand.

For more tips such as these, visit Cleanipedia

Originally published