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Laundry 101: Fundamentals Facts for Cleaner Clothes
Proper laundry care can save time and headaches. The Coin Laundry Association
(CLA) recommends these handy tips to combat wrinkles, fabric bleeding and other
common laundry nuisances.
ALWAYS read the care label instructions on clothes first. Those instructions take
precedence over all other laundry tips. When in doubt, always follow the label.
Avoid mixing lint generators such as towels, sweatshirts and flannel with lint magnets
such as corduroy, velvet and permanent press items. When in doubt, turn lint magnet
To minimize fabric discoloration and excessive lint, group like items together in the
- Delicate fabrics
- Towels and bath linens
- Sheets (can be combined with towels)
- Permanent press (i.e. dress shirts)
- Red items or new, colored garments
- Other dark colors
- Light color
To test garments for colorfastness, dampen with water in a discreet spot and blot with
an old white cloth. If the color transfers, the item will bleed and should be washed
separately. Wash an old white handkerchief with these items until it comes out clear—
then the other items can safely be washed with like colors.
Secure zippers, buttons, snaps and buckles to prevent snagging. Tie drawstrings and
unroll shirt cuffs to prevent tangling and crumpling.
Choose the appropriate water temperature for the load:
- Hot water – whites, towels, very soiled items and oily, greasy dirt
- Warm water – most light and dark colored clothes, permanent press items
- Cold water – delicates, dyes that may bleed or lightly soiled item
Don’t overstuff your washing machine—it will prevent clothes from moving freely and
result in less effective cleaning.
Don’t use too much detergent. Contrary to popular opinion, more suds do not get your
clothes cleaner and can actually trap dirt in the fabric.
Wash colored garments inside-out to prevent fading and pilling.
For gentle-care items, such as bras and swimsuits use a mild detergent, dish-soap can
Check for remaining stains or discoloration/bleeding from another garment when
transferring laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. These items will need to be
re-washed, or the dryer heat will set the stain.
To minimize wrinkling, shake out items before drying to prevent them from balling up
and wrinkling. Don’t overload the dryer, as it prevents proper tumbling and causes
clothes to dry slowly and wrinkle. Be careful to avoid over-drying—excess heat can set
wrinkles (and shrink clothes). Fold or hang up clothes immediately after drying.
Use a dryer sheet to prevent static cling when drying clothes.
The 3 P's of Laundry
Most stains can eventually be removed by following these procedures. However, some
stains are stubborn and may only be lightened.
- Promptness – Treat stains as quickly as possible before laundering. Age and washing prior to retreating can set some stains.
- Patience – If the garment is worth saving, it’s worth extra effort and time to follow stain removal procedures.
- Persistence – Because some stains are difficult to remove, it may be necessary to repeat a procedure several times.
- Any material which has been used with cleaning solvents – or is saturated with flammable liquids, solids, vegetable oil or animal fats – should not be placed in the washer or dryer until all traces of the stain and fumes have been removed. These highly flammable stains can cause fires when the residue coexists with heat generated in the laundering process.
- Do not mix or combine stain removal products, especially ammonia and chlorine bleach; noxious fumes may result.
- Read instructions on all stain removal products and keep them out of children’s reach.
Successful Stain Removal
- Some stains are not easily seen when the fabric is wet. Air dry items to be sure that the stain has been removed. Machine drying might set the stain permanently.
- Work on stains from the reverse side to prevent them from spreading.
Soaking garments with either laundry detergent or a special presoak product (Biz, Clorox 2 or Snowy*) will aid stain removal. Soak protein stains (blood, grass or egg) in cold water. Soak oily stains in warm water. 30 minutes or less should be sufficient.
Use a liquid laundry detergent, a paste of granular detergent and water or a special pretreat product (Clorox Spray Out, Spray & Wash or Shout*). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Brand names include Carbona, Energine, De-Solv-It and Whink Wash Away*. Use carefully and follow manufacturer’s instructions. After applying, rinse thoroughly before laundering.
- Chlorine – Identify by the word “hypochlorite.” This type of bleach may be used on all fabrics except silk, wool, spandex and non-colorfast fabrics. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Nonchlorine – Identify by the words “all-fabric.” This type of bleach may be used on all fabrics and colors. Follow the instructions on the label. To achieve maximum effectiveness, use regularly in warm or hot water with an extended soak or wash time.
Granular detergents work best on mud and clay types of soil and are more effective in hard water. Liquids are good for cold water washing, pretreating and removing greasy, oily stains. Some detergents contain enzymes or bleach to provide additional stain removal benefits (this will be indicated on the label).
*Product names are trademarks of the respective manufacturers.
How to Remove a Crayon Stain
- Place stained surface down on a pad of paper towels.
- Spray with WD-40* (available at hardware stores) and let stand for a few minutes.
- Turn fabric and spray the other side, let stand.
- Apply liquid hand dish washing detergent and work into stain until removed.
- Use a paper towel to absorb the stain.
- Hand wash the item in detergent thoroughly, making sure the WD-40 odor is removed.
- Launder as usual.
Bedroom Linen Care Tips
When summer winds down and temperatures begin to drop, it is the perfect time to
remake the bed with warm comforters and cozy quilts. Bedding can be an expensive
investment. The following guidelines from the Coin Laundry Association will help extend
- Be kind to your bedding. Wash and dry in large-capacity machines. Most household washers can hold between 10- to 12-pounds of laundry. This is not large enough for a queen-size comforter. Commercial-grade washers, such as those found at your coin laundry, can handle up to 75 pounds of wash and are best for cleaning bedding. Using larger machines will not only extend the life of your comforter, but also your home washer and dryer.
- Wash colored bedding in a mild detergent. Whites should be followed up with an oxygenated-bleach. Avoid chlorine bleaches, which leave a residue that is hard to clean and can cause discoloration over time.
- When drying your bedding, use a fabric-softening sheet as opposed to a liquid softener. Fabrics, such as down, have a tendency to absorb the liquid unevenly.
- Contrary to popular opinion, you can wash down-filled bedding. Be sure to read the care instructions, but most down comforters and pillows can be laundered. Use a mild detergent to wash and when drying put some clean tennis balls into the dryer to help fluff and distribute the down. • Wash and dry flannel sheets separately. Flannel has a tendency to deposit lint in the dryer. Perhaps the most important care instruction for flannel is not to over-dry. Over-drying can cause wrinkles to set and colors to fade.
- Wool blankets can be washed and dried! Use cold water on a gentle cycle and fluff dry. Add some towels to help absorb moisture and cut down on drying time.
- Save time and use a coin laundry’s convenient wash-dry-fold service, all you have to do is drop the bedding off and pick it up the next day. Some stores will even pick-up and drop-off for an additional charge.
- Always read the care-labels! Laundering comforters and bedspreads at the coin laundry saves a considerable amount of money over dry cleaning, but certain fabrics, such as satin, cannot be washed and should be taken to a professional dry cleaner.
How to Remove Cosmetic Stains
- Pretreat stain and launder in hottest water safe for fabric.
- Use chlorine bleach if safe for fabric.
- If a grease stain remains, soak in warm water with a pre-treat product.
- Rinse thoroughly and re-launder the garment.