Washing Machines – Tips and Tricks
Do you just shovel your clothes into washing machines, hit Start, and walk away hoping for the best? Are you sure that you're using the right techniques for the right clothes? Here are a few tips for those tough cases that might give you some trouble.
Comforters and bedspreads
As with any item, check the label to be sure you should be washing it at all. Comforters filled with real down should be dry cleaned instead, not put into washing machines, as should some synthetic-down ones. If your comforter or bedspread is washable, it should be the only item in your load. Usually, comforters and bedspreads are bulky enough that nothing else should be washed in the same load. You may also want to plan on running your dryer twice to dry your comforter thoroughly, or using a mixture of air drying and dryer tumbling. Wash comforters when you won't need them, or plan on using extra blankets to stay comfortable at night.
Heavily stained items
Use a good spray-detergent like Shout to pre-treat heavily stained clothes. Then wash them in cold—yes, cold—water. Check to see if the stains are still there. If they are gone, you can pop the clothes in the dryer (assuming the label says it's ok). If they're still there, pre-treat again before using any washing machines. If they're not fading at all, you might have to retire that garment, but most stains will be vanquished after a second pre-treat and wash.
Wool or silk knits
Really, you should dry clean these. But if you must wash them, do handwashing or the gentlest possible cycle on your washing machine, preferably enclosed in their own mesh bag so that they don't get tangled up or stretched out by tumbling with other clothes. Use a very gentle detergent, like Woolite, for handwashing or using washing machines on these items. Never put wool or silk knits in the dryer; instead, lay them flat to dry, reshaping as you go.
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