Think you know how to do laundry? You'd be surprised! When it comes to doing the washing, 'a one size fits all approach' isn't always going to work, and if you're experiencing dull whites, colour runs, shrinking and pulls, it's probably time to revamp your routine. No matter if you're a novice or a pro, founder of Wilton London and laundry enthusiast, Sam's goof-proof guide is sure to provide all the know-how necessary for you to get the best results out of your washing machine.
Laundry Sorting Tips
We've all learnt (and usually the hard way!) to sort our loads into whites, darks and colours before washing, but if you want to protect your laundry from additional wear and tear, consider further dividing these piles into heavy and lightweight items. Make this tedious chore a cinch by investing in a divided laundry basket so you can sort your clothes as you shed them, instead of collecting your dirties in one humongous heap.
Next, check for marks that might need pretreating before going in the wash, as fresh stains are far easier to tackle than old ones. If you've got a particularly filthy bundle, think muddy football kits or grimy dishrags, consider giving them a head start by using the 'pre-soak' cycle, rather than putting them through twice.
Want a life-changing tip to prevent stray tissue disasters? Always pull out pockets; that way you can see in a glance the garments you haven't double-checked. Also, remember to do up zips and clasps to prevent exposed teeth from snagging other items, and unbutton buttons to stop pulls and breakages.
Which Laundry Detergent Works Best?
There's really only one rule here. Avoid capsules at all costs! While they may be convenient, you can’t control the dosage and the squishy casing can clog-up your machine and leave its gooey remnants all over your laundry.
After that, whether you opt for powder or a liquid detergent comes down to personal preference. While powders tend to be cheaper, they can be messy and usually have rather uninspiring scents. At Wilton London, we chose to create our laundry solution as a liquid so you can add as little or as much detergent as the wash requires, plus it allows us to add essential oils that make your laundry smell luscious, naturally.
Do follow the instructions on the bottle though, as using too much detergent doesn’t make your clothes any cleaner and a deluge of bubbling suds can damage your washer.
Using the Washing Machine Detergent Drawer
Drum or drawer? Knowing which is best for what can be a real head-scratcher, but my advice is to stick with the drawer as the washer knows precisely the right moment to release the detergent to give your laundry the best clean possible. In general, most washing machine drawers have several compartments, one for the detergent (marked by the 'II' symbol), one for the pre-wash liquid used to soak heavily soiled items (bearing the 'I' symbol) and one for the fabric softener (denoted by a flower icon), although some machines also have separate areas for liquid and powder detergents.
Picking the Perfect Washing Machine Cycle
'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' tends to be the common adage when it comes to washing machine settings, although the truth is swapping cycles could solve many of your laundry dilemmas. First, ignore hot washes, as thanks to modern technology, most machines and detergents are designed to wash laundry just as well in cold water which makes for a greener clean.
And while you should always check the care label before popping an item in the wash, the 'Delicate' setting makes a great go-to because it's gentler on your laundry, giving your garments a longer life and causing fewer microfibers to escape and pollute our waterways.
How to Stop a Washing Machine Smelling
Washing machines are dark, dank places that germs love to hide out in, and while a build-up of mould and bacteria makes bad pongs all too common, you can banish them in a flash by giving your appliance a little regular TLC.
A cup of white vinegar in the detergent drawer followed by an empty hot wash works wonders at getting your drum spic and span. Afterwards, give the rubber seal a good wipe round too, using an old toothbrush to get in all those hard-to-reach crevices. And, while the phone ringing, the postman knocking and your kids having a melt-down might make it tricky to get your laundry out of the machine as quickly as you'd wish, half a cup of white vinegar also does a super job at getting damp smells out of wet washing that's been left to linger.
Thanks, Sam, these tips have saved our laundry and our sanity! Let us know of any handy hints you use to make washday more of a breeze, we love hearing from you.