1. Get the Temp Right
Cold is for fine fabrics, items that might shrink, and sensitive dark colors. Warm is for moderately soiled stuff and man-made fabrics. Hot is for whites, really dirty clothes, and colorfast items.
2. Keep Whites Bright
When your whites start going gray (or yellow), it could be because the water temps might be too low. Or, you could be piling in really dirty clothes that make the mildly soiled clothes dirtier!
3. Prevent Fading
Turn dark-colored clothes inside out before washing to avoid abraision and dulling.
4. Prevent Shrinking 5. Avoid Bleeding
The best way to avoid turning your large shirt into a small is using a cold water setting and either hanging the item to dry or turning the dryer down to its lowest setting.
Keep whites separate so dark dyes don't ruin them. To find out if something is colorfast, drop a little water on an inside corner or seam, and see if the dye runs.
6. Do the Delicates
Toss bras in a mesh lingerie bag and use the delicate cycle. Or fill the sink with cool water, add a capful of Woolite, swish it around, and let it soak 10 minutes.
7. Limit the Detergent
Too many suds at one time can trap soil, redepositing it on clothes. Escape from a sudsy overflow by running a short rinse and spin cycle without detergent.
8. Find the Right Detergent
Powder works for general loads; liquid detergents are good for pretreating stains and removing food.
9. Keep Stains From Setting
Act now! Rinse or soak the garment in cold water, apply a stain remover, and get it to the washer. Stain still there? Pretreat, wash, and repeat.
10. Nix Static Cling
Throw in a softener sheet to sedate the sparks and select the lowest temperature setting possible that will still get the job done.
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