It sure can be tempting just to throw the contents of your laundry basket into the washing machine, select the same programme your always do, then shut the door and hope for the best. The truth is that this approach is probably not getting the best out of your machine and is certainly not best for your clothes. Luckily, this guide is here to show you the best way to load your washer, both for the best cleaning results and for the best care of your clothes.
Get it sorted
Throwing in a red sock with a load of whites is the classic laundry faux pas, but it does serve to illustrate the importance of sorting your clothes before throwing them in the machine. At the most basic level, be sure you separate your laundry into whites (predominantly white or light grey garments), colours (lighter pastel colours) and darks (dark grey, navy, deep red, brown, black). Washing these garments together will help preserve their colour and will stop darker colours bleeding into lighter items.
But if you really want to keep your clothes in tip top condition, take a look at their care labels, which provide a set of symbols indicating how to wash and dry the item. The table below gives a brief overview of these, and a suggested washing cycle to match.
Here is what each symbol stands for:
- Machine wash
- Machine wash, permanent press
- Machine wash, delicate
- Do not wash
- Hand wash
- Do not wring
- & 13. Water temperature 30 °C or 80 °F
- & 14. Water temperature 40 °C or 105 °F
- & 15. Water temperature 50 °C or 120 °F
- & 16. Water temperature 60 °C or 140 °F
- & 17. Water temperature 70 °C or 160 °F
- & 18. Water temperature 95 °C or 200 °F
Don’t give into the temptation of stuffing everything you can into your washing machine – overloading reduced cleaning performance and can even damage clothes because they don’t have the room to move around freely. Not only that, it can also damage your appliance, and let’s face it, calling out an engineer is much more hassle than doing an extra load of laundry.
Likewise, underloading the machine isn’t good news either, as it greatly reduces the efficiency of a cycle. The appliance will use just as much water and energy to wash a drum that’s 1/3 loaded as one that optimally loaded.
Take a look at this guide if you want to know exactly how much laundry you should be putting in your washing machine, but a good rule of thumb to follow is to fill the drum to about 80% without compacting items down (this only applies to normal cotton cycles – the amount of laundry you can put in for special programmes will vary, so check your appliance’s user manual).
When it comes to actually putting your laundry into the machine, put items in one by one, or at least make sure they’re not tangled. Close any zips, and check all pocket for thinks like pens and coins – not just for the sake of your clothes, but your washing machine too! It’s also worth having another quick glance at the care label too, as these will provide any special instructions, like turning the item inside out. If you’re pre-treating stains, follow the instructions of the particular product your using.
Get the dose right
It’s all well and good sorting your laundry and loading the machine properly, but if you use too much or too little detergent, it’ll all be for nothing.
Dosing will depend on a number of factors – the type of detergent you use, water hardness, how soiled your clothes are, and how big the load is. Most liquid and powder detergents provide measurements for light, medium and heavy loads, and pod packages will suggest when you might want to use more than one pod.
The best advice we can give about dosing is our AutoDose washing machines. They dose the detergent automatically depending on the load and the selected programme. It is one of the most efficient ways of using a washing machine and can run up to a month on one refill.
While it might seem a little daunting at first, get these habits into your laundry routine, and your clothes and washing machine will thank you.