Look, we've all been there. Since the dawn of times, moving out of your parents' house and learning how to go about life as an actual adult is something that everyone has to deal with, sooner or later. And it's scary! Learning how to navigate what sometimes seems like an extremely hostile world isn't fun for anyone. And honestly, sometimes it might feel like the most hostile tasks are actually inside our homes.
Whether it's cooking or cleaning, we're often baffled by how some tasks that we always assumed were easy can actually become some of the absolute worst and most complicated to deal with. But fear not! Because we're going to lend you a helping hand in one of the trickiest aspects of living alone - laundry! After this, you'll feel so proud of yourself you'll even try to bake a fancy cake. Just make sure it doesn't burn!
10 Sort Your Clothes Out
It's tempting to just take every single pair of jeans, shirts, and kitchen towels and just throw everything into the washing machine. Maybe even throwing a little prayer so that everything comes out smelling like roses and exactly the same color and size it was before. But that's not how it works!
So, first things first, you have to focus on sorting your clothes into different piles. Separate light colors from darker colors in order to make sure you won't ruin your favorite white t-shirt. Plus, make sure you separate according to fabrics - thicker clothes demand different temperatures from smoother pieces, like silk.
9 Pay Attention To The Tags
Everyone knows just how annoying some of the tags that come with your clothes can be. They itch and make your skin red, so you might as well chop them off, right? Wrong! You have to think about the tags sewn onto your clothes like a small instruction manual that tells you exactly how each piece should be handled.
For instance, some of the pieces you own might require special attention, such as being dry cleaned or washed by hand. If the latter is the case, please don't put it in the washing machine! You might be looking at permanent damage, and these pieces tend to be the most expensive ones. The tags matter, remember that!
8 Pre-Treating Stains
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could just throw a stained shirt into the washer and it magically came out clean as the day you bought it? Well, for some lighter stains this is possible, but for others, not so much. So before you put certain pieces into the machine, you might want to consider pre-treating stains.
Obviously, each stain is different and demands a different amount of soaking or treatment, but a good rule of thumb is to either rub the stain with detergent and wash it ten minutes later or soak the piece for thirty minutes before putting it in the wash. This will increase your chances to get it cleaner than ever!
7 Temperature Is Key
When looking upon all the weird symbols and settings on your washing machine, you often might have found yourself wondering what all of that means. Why is it that you have different temperatures to choose from? Can't you just go with the same one at all times and call it a day? The answer here is absolutely not.
Depending on colors and fabrics, some clothes might demand higher temperatures in order to be washed to perfection. Hot water is for lighter colors since the heat thoroughly removes the stains from these particular tones, whilst cold water keeps your darker clothes from fading, and your cotton pieces from shrinking. Easy!
6 Think About The Load Size
Yet another setting that you might be unsure about when going about the whole clothes washing process if the load size. Most washing machines allowing to choose something between small, medium, and large. And as you've probably guessed by now, this concerns the number of clothes you're washing.
It's a pretty simple process! Consider the following: if your clothes fill the entire machine, go with large. If they go for around half, choose medium. Anything less than that, select small. Plus, remember to never squish everything in so you can fit a bunch of clothes! Just do more than one load in order to prevent damages to the machine or the clothes.
5 The Washing Cycle Matters
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, don't worry. There's only one final setting to go! And this time around, it's all about the washing cycle you're going to choose for your load. The washing cycles matter because it all depends on what kind of clothes your washing, very similar to what happens with temperature.
The delicate cycle concerns your most soft and delicate items. Think silk underwear, gym clothes, cashmere sweaters, and so on. Permanent press is the ideal cycle for your colorful items, while the regular cycle will be the best for your light and white pieces since it leaves them quite crisp - just the way you want them!
4 The Washing Materials
You might think that the only thing that matters when you're washing your clothes is detergent. After all, what else do clothes even need? Well, there are actually a few products to consider - detergent, bleach, and fabric softener. Of course, each one plays its own specific part!
For instance, detergent is the one thing you shouldn't skip. The amount of detergent you use will always depend on the size of your load, but thankfully, all the bottles come with a handy guide and a measuring cup! Fabric softener is the agent responsible for keeping all your clothes soft as a bunny and goes in smaller doses. Finally, bleach comes in handy when you want to get rid of stains or keep your whites looking bright.
3 The Drying Extravaganza
Once your washing machine is done with making your clothes look brand new again, it's time to move on to the drying part of the equation. Much like the washing machine, your drying machine also has a couple of settings you get to choose from.
The regular to heavy setting is best for white clothes since these are the pieces who are less likely to shrink. Therefore, they can handle the extra heat and pressure from the dryer. Permanent press is the best for your color clothes, while delicate applies to the same delicate pieces you choose for the washing cycle.
2 Attention To The Drying
When it comes to drying, be careful before you decide to follow the above step. Once again, the tags matter! While many pieces can endure the drying machine process, some weren't made for that and can be seriously damaged if put through such a violent process. For instance, some clothes need to air dry, while others need to dry flat.
And if you don't have a drying machine, worry not - pretty much every single piece of clothing can be hanged and dried normally. Pro tip - just make sure to untangle them and shake them off a bit before hanging them dry, to ensure any major wrinkles are gone.
1 The Devil Is In The Details
While this list pretty much covers everything you need to know when it comes to washing your clothes for the very first time, there are a few extra details that can ensure the process is not just smooth, but extremely successful!
These include closing the zippers from your jeans and jackets, so they don't damage other pieces, unbutton shirts, so they stay in place, and don't mix socks with regular clothing. This last one is a godsend to ensure they don't get attached to other random pieces you are washing. And now you are ready to step up your washing game!