You know to dilute the bleach and empty the lint trap, but there’s much more to the art of doing laundry. Keep reading for the top ways to protect your washer and dryer—and all the delicate items they clean.
REDUCE YOUR LOAD SIZE
The more items you cram into the washing machine, the less chance they have of moving around in there and actually getting clean. A good rule of thumb: Don’t wash a load of laundry that’s bigger than what will fit into your dryer.
USE THE RIGHT DETERGENT
Ecofriendly laundry detergent is friendly to your clothes, and to your washer.
Several of Consumer Reports’ highest ranked detergents (including offerings from Method and Seventh Generation) are affordable and easy to find at major retailers. Another solid option that’s a bit more budget-friendly is Tide Plus Bleach Alternative HE Liquid.
CLEAN THE MACHINE REGULARLY
These easy-to-follow instructions from Good Housekeeping will leave your washer sparkling: Select the largest load size, fill the tub with hot water and one cup of bleach, and run a cycle. Many newer machines have a designated self-cleaning cycle. Don’t forget to remove any components like dispensers and drawers so you can dust them off and rinse them under hot water.
REMEMBER THE BASICS
Use the regular/high-heat setting for whites, denim, towels, sheets, other linens, and items that are pre-shrunk; do not use this setting for clothes that you just washed in hot water. Use the permanent press/medium-heat setting for colored items, as this prevents fading and wrinkling; do not use this setting for delicates like undergarments and anything made of lace. Finally, use the delicate/low-heat setting for knits and all delicates—as the slower speed is gentler on these super-fragile fabrics.
LEARN TWO SNEAKY TIPS
If you’re in a rush to wear a shirt you just washed, toss a clean dry towel into the dryer with the wet clothes. It will help absorb the moisture, allowing the clothing to dry more quickly. Another trick: To get stubborn wrinkles out of your clothes without using an iron, toss them in the dryer with a clean damp towel and then let the dryer run for 15 minutes.
KNOW WHEN TO FORGO THE DRYER
Bust out your clothesline or drying rack for cottons, polyesters, silks, and fabrics that generally do not stretch. Lay items like knits and wool sweaters on a flat surface until completely dry. And if you’re not sure whether something can go in the dryer, always err on the side of caution and let it air dry—this way, you’re protecting both the dryer and the clothing.
Finally, ensure that a washer or dryer breakdown doesn’t derail your day by protecting it with a plan from SIMPLR. Not only will that cover mechanical breakdowns and wear and tear failures, but it also offers a $25 laundry cleaning service reimbursement.