Is your washing machine really harder on your clothes than hand-washing? Is one better than the other for the environment and/or for your utility bills? In the distant past, you might have gone down to the nearest stream and beat your clothes against rocks to clean them. Do you really want to go back there? The washing machine revolutionized the world and freed up time for you to do what you enjoy, all in clean clothes. Still, some rumors persist that hand-washing is better for clothes, or that it saves water and electricity. The truth is, if you know how to use your washing machine to its fullest potential, you need never hand wash your clothing again.
Find the Right Cycle
In order to use a washing machine for delicate or specialty items, you first must find the appropriate cycle. Any given washing cycle has a speed at which it agitates the clothes and a speed at which it spins the water out. The cycle you choose should be based on the amount of agitation and spin the items can tolerate. For example, the “fast/slow” that may be displayed on your machine settings means the cycle will produce a fast, agitating wash cycle and a slow spin cycle. For items you suspect should be hand washed, select the delicate cycle and a cold water temperature for the wash and rinse. Adjust the setting to reflect the size of the load, to minimize the water and power used to complete the cycle. For extremely delicate items, zip them into a mesh lingerie bag for washing. This will prevent them from snagging or stretching during the wash.
Which Detergent to Use?
Your choice of detergent is as important as your choice of cycle and water temperature. For delicate clothing items, you need a mild detergent such as Woolite or any “green” detergent that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. Regular formula detergents have chemical additives that can damage delicate fibers. Although some self-proclaimed laundry experts recommend making your own delicate laundry detergent, this is a recipe for disaster. You run the risk of ruining both your delicate laundry and your washing machine.
The last thing you need to remember is that a well-maintained washing machine will take the best care of all of your clothes, regardless of whether they are delicate or not. So, what’s the best way to maintain your washing machine? First, don’t overload it. The owner’s manual has instructions for load size. Ensure that the machine is level to keep it from “walking” around and banging into the dryer. If your laundry room shakes when your washer runs, you need to level out the machine. Using the right amount of detergent is equally imperative. Follow the owner’s manual and product directions to ensure best results. Have the hot and cold water hoses inspected for wear and tear a few times a year. Any cracks or blisters in the hoses mean that failure, and major household flooding, is imminent.
If you live in the Salt Lake City Area, contact the professionals at Complete Appliance Repair to inspect and maintain your appliances. They will help keep your laundry machines in tip-top shape, so you won’t be forced to choose hand washing instead of your trusty washing machine.