Some people love it, for others it’s the most loathed household task of the week. Either way, it’s worth putting in a little extra effort to your laundry to get great results. Read on to discover the Fresh Design Blog guide to perfect laundry!
Read the label
Sorry if this one sounds really obvious, but we know we’re guilty of putting lots of different things in together to ‘make the load up’! Modern fabrics and laundry detergents mean that you can clean most things efficiently at 40 degrees. Delicates will need a lower temperature than this, and household linen such as cotton sheets and towels will usually need a hotter wash (60 degrees). Items that are marked ‘hand warm only’ can still be put in the machine if you have a hand wash programme.
Not everything is suitable for slinging in the tumble dryer – for example, natural wool will shrink dramatically if dried on too hot a heat. Check that your garment has a ‘tumble dryer safe’ symbol on the label (a circle – one dot inside the circle means ‘dry on low heat’, two dots mean ‘dry on high heat’. A circle with a cross through it means ‘do not tumble dry’.
Woollen garments should be dried flat (lie them on a towel in somewhere warm, such as an airing cupboard – hanging them on the line while wet can stretch them out of shape. Everything else can be hung outside on a line or clothes airer if the weather is suitable – air-dried laundry tends to smell fresher than tumble dried!
Choose the right detergent
Washing liquids and powders basically come in three different types – biological, non-biological and specialist. Biological powders contain enzymes which can help break down biological stains such as food, but can also irritate sensitive skin. They’re suitable for use at lower temperatures as high temperatures can kill the enzymes before they have a chance to work. Non-biological powders contain strong cleaning ingredients to remove stains, and can be used at higher temperatures. Specialist detergents include specific formulas for wool and delicates, or detergent with bleach added for use with whites.
Once everything is clean and dry, then you iron whatever needs it. If you don’t have a steam iron, then try to catch the washing before it’s quite dry as you’ll get a better finish. If you do have a steam iron, it gives you more leeway! Bone-dry washing can be sprayed with a little water from a plant mister to moisten it for ironing – you can also buy scented laundry sprays to add to your mister if you like. Check the label again to see what temperature you should iron at.
Large bedlinen such as sheets and duvet covers are more manageable when ironed folded into four. Fold flat sheets once in half and once lengthways then iron each side once before folding it up properly. Folded sheets are just impossible to iron so if anyone has any tips for that we’d love to know!
Check the hot plate of the iron before you start, as any dirt on there will transfer itself to your garments. If it’s really dirty you can make a scouring paste from bicarbonate of soda and water. Apply and remove with a damp cloth – make sure you’ve got it all off before you start ironing.
Dark fabrics such as navy and black shirts are best ironed inside out, as otherwise the heat of the iron can leave a slight shiny-looking sheen. (This will disappear next time the shirt is washed, but it can look a bit odd in the meantime!)
As each garment is finished, hang it up or fold it and put it on a pile so that it doesn’t start to get creased again. We’re not saying that you’ll suddenly start to love laundry day – but at least everything will look great and be worth the trouble!
All images (c) Pixabay 2021