Laundry 101 | How to Wash Clothes

We've gone over the basics of essentials you need to do laundry and how to sort your clothes, so now it's time to actually learn how to wash clothes! I should start by saying that these will be the general guidelines when it come to washing the clothes that we have already learned how to sort. This will not cover how to launder 'Dry Clean Only' items, so be sure to check labels as your are sorting your clothes, or if you're unsure if an item can be thrown in the wash. 

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How to Wash Clothes


You're going to start by selecting your settings for the wash. This will all depend on the type of load you are running, soil level (how dirty the clothes actually are) and size of the load, so start by selecting which clothes you are going to wash. I've selected a heavier weighted fabric, pants, for this particular load. Once you've determined which load you will wash, you will begin by setting your water temperature. In general, everything will be washed with cold water. Hot water can actually set stains into your clothes, so unless you are washing whites, towels or rags you use to clean stick with cold or tepid water (warm/cold). 


Water Temperatures by Load Type:

  • Towels + Wash Cloths + Microfibers - Hot (Note: if you throw white towels in with different color towels, the colors may bleed onto the white towels. Wash in cold water if you're not separating them)

  • Pants + Denim + Shorts + Sweat Pants - Cold

  • Athletic Wear + Anything Nylon - Cold

  • Cotton (Shirts, Polos, Light-weight Shorts, PJs, etc) - Cold

  • Whites - Hot, unless heavily soiled, then wash in cold.



You'll also want to select your load size. Are you washing a lot of clothes, or just a few items? If you're only washing a handful of items, you don't need to fill the entire wash bin with water. You simply need to make sure that you have enough water for the clothes to move around and not be over crowded. So, if you're washing a small to medium-sized load, select the medium size option to ensure you have enough room. 


The final setting on my washing machine is the the load type. Casual, normal or delicate are my only categories and each category has its own breakdown, some washing machines will have significantly more options. I generally stick with the 'Normal' cycle and just select the setting that is appropriate for my load. 


  • Towels + Wash Cloths + Microfibers - Super Heavy

  • Pants + Denim + Shorts + Sweat Pants - Super Heavy

  • Athletic Wear + Anything Nylon - Regular

  • Cotton - Regular

  • Whites - Regular


Super heavy loads are for items that are thicker in weight and/or heavily soiled. Regular loads are those that are normal soil level and your regular weighted fabrics. Light is for lightly soiled and light weight fabrics. Light is probably my least used setting on my washing machine, while Super Heavy and Regular are my most used. 


Adding Detergent and Clothes


Once you've selected your settings, if you have a top loading washing machine you will add your detergent and hit the start button to start filling up the basin with water. As the water is being dispensed, you will start to loosely place your clothes in the wash basin. 


You can add your detergent after you've added your clothes to the wash basin, so don't worry if you're already added your clothes. In general, adding your detergent before you add your clothes allows the detergent to more evenly disperse throughout the wash. 


If you have a front loading washing machine, you will place your clothes in the wash basin, shut the door, add the detergent to the detergent basin (typically loaded in the top or in a drawer) and start you load. 


From there, its just waiting for your load of laundry to finish its cycle and then placing the clothes in the dryer (we will go over dryer settings next). That is how to wash clothes! You'll be a master in no time. Hopefully this series is helping you feel more comfortable with doing your own laundry. If there is a specific question you have you can always pop it in the comments below!


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