So you’re out on your own and just beginning to master the tasks of being an adult -- cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, etc. You think you've got it aaaall figured out, until you notice the huge pile of laundry taking over most of your floor space. Unfortunately, that laundry isn't going to do itself.
No need to panic. Just follow our quick and easy Guy's Guide to Doing Laundry.
1. Go Shopping
Detergent is what cleans your clothes. There are liquid and powder varieties, and what you use is a personal choice. Make sure to get a color-safe kind to keep your whites white and your colors bright. These days, most detergents have fabric softeners in them, so go ahead and skip buying extra. Or, you can buy dryer sheets for extra softness.
If you’re a messy lad, grab a bottle of spray-on stain remover -- this stuff lasts forever.
2. Sort and Check
Before you get going, read the tags of any dress shirts, sweaters, dress pants, or nice clothes that you don't want to inadvertently ruin. You may have clothes that are dry clean only, and washing them with water may destroy them.
Next, sort your clothing by color. Typically, loads consist of darks, whites, or colors. Just beware of the red! Red clothing can bleed onto your other clothes, so you may opt to wash your reds with darks (or alone if you have lots of red). To keep your jeans from fading, turn them inside out before washing them.
Then, check those pockets! Yes, each and every one -- you can thank us later.
3. Size it Out
Be mindful of your load sizes. If your loads are too big, your clothes may not get as clean as they should, and loads too small may be wasteful. If a load is too big, make it two loads. If it’s too small and you won’t need these items right away, wait until you have enough to make a bigger load.
4. Start the Spaceship
Starting the washer is easy, but we'll break it down for you:
- Choose a load size. Use small if you fill 1/3 of the washer drum, medium if you fill 1/2 of the drum, large if you fill 3/4 of the drum, or extra large if you fill the drum.
- Choose a water temperature. Typically, darks should be washed in cooler water to prevent fading and shrinking, while whites should be washed in warm water. More durable fabrics such as towels can be safely washed in warm water. Again, read the tags of your clothes; most will specify the appropriate water. However, if you're not sure, you can wash everything on cold to be safe.
- Choose a cycle. You're probably safe using the "regular" cycle.
- Start the cycle.
- Measure and add your detergent. Read the detergent instructions to know how much to measure.
- Throw in the clothes.
- Close the lid.
5. Beware of the Dryer
Pay attention to what materials your clothes are made of before tossing them in the dryer -- read the tags for this information. Considerable amounts of cotton will shrink significantly, so if you don’t want it to shrink, let it hang-dry on a clothes hanger. Some delicate materials should skip the dryer altogether. As a rule of thumb, use low heat for your delicates and low medium/high heat for everything else. If you opted for dryer sheets, be sure to toss one in before turning it on!
Don't forget to clean out the lint trap before running the dryer! Also, remove clothes from the dryer as soon as they're dry. This will prevent unsightly wrinkles. Clothes still wrinkled? Iron them. Trust us, you'll look like a million bucks if you do.
How Often Do I Need to Wash My Clothes?
Here's a good rule of thumb, but if anything looks or smells dirty (or if you spill your morning coffee on it), wash right away. And yes, other people will
notice that funky smell or that huge spot.
After one wear: underwear, socks, undershirts, t-shirts, tank tops, shirts worn with no undershirt
After one to three wears: pajamas, button-downs, sweaters (Wearing undershirts will prolong time between washes. A looser sweater could be worn up to six times if undershirts are worn.)
After two to four wears: khakis, dress pants, cargo pants, shorts
After four to seven wears: jeans, unless they're selvedge (Washing selvedge denim should be put off as long as possible to allow the natural distressing process to unfold.)
After five to seven wears: blazers, jackets (You may be able to prolong time between washings by spot-cleaning and using a fabric refresher to eliminate light odors.)
Weekly to biweekly: bed sheets
And there you have it. Please share any other tips you have in the comments!