How to Do Laundry: A Basic 101 Guide

washing machine guide

A Quick Summary on How to Do Laundry

Time to Complete = 1.5 hrs.
  1. Sort laundry into piles of whites, colors and delicates
  2. Check labels for any specific washing/drying/dry cleaning instructions
  3. Prepare clothes by emptying pockets and closing zippers
  4. Pre-treat stains
  5. Choose your water temperature, cycle speed and load size
  6. Add your detergent and run your cycle
  7. Place clothes into the dryer on correct setting – regular for tumble dry items like cotton, medium for permanent press and low for delicates

Whether you’ve recently moved out on your own for the first time or just need a quick refresh, it’s best to learn how to use a washing machine (and dryer) properly to keep your clothes lasting longer. Don’t be intimidated by the laundry room! We’ve outlined some laundry basics below to give you confidence when washing and drying your clothes.

Check labels, sort and prepare

  1. Some of your clothing may require special washing instructions, so you should check labels before you begin. Set aside anything that is dry clean only. The tag will also tell you to use cold or hot water and instructions for drying.
  2. Sort your clothing into different piles: Whites/lights, colors and delicates.
  3. Empty all pockets, ensure zippers are closed and turn denim inside out. It’s also a good idea to turn clothing with embellishments inside out.
  4. Pre-treat any stains with stain removal (read our related article: stain removal guide)
  5. Delicates (think lace and lingerie) are best placed into a mesh bag before washing.

Water temperature, cycle speed and load size

  1. As a general rule when learning how to use a washer, select warm or hot water for whites and cold water for colors.
  2. Warm and hot water will fade clothing faster, but hot water is often best for linens, sheets, towels and other heavily soiled clothing items.
  3. Most clothing loads can be washed on the regular cycle. Sweaters, lingerie should be washed on delicate or gentle. Heavy may be best for a load of towels.
  4. Most washers allow you to choose a load size – small, medium or large. Be careful not to overfill the washer but choose your load size based on how full the washer is.

Add your detergent and turn it on

  1. Follow the instructions on the detergent box or bottle and add the appropriate amount of liquid or powder detergent.
  2. Close the lid.
  3. Turn on washer.

Drying clothes

  1. Remember that not everything should be placed in the dryer. Consult your clothing’s label to understand what items should be air dried and what can go in on tumble dry low.
  2. The hotter the drying temperature, the more likely the garment may shrink.
  3. Anything that says tumble dry can use the regular setting. Regular is best for cotton, denim, sheets and towels.
  4. Medium is best for synthetics and anything labeled as permanent press.
  5. Low is best for delicates.
  6. Use a fabric softener sheet to prevent static cling and make clothes softer.

hhgregg is your laundry partner

If you’ve learned anything from our laundry 101, remember this key takeaway – always read the label on your clothes! It will spell out for you any special washing and drying requirements. While our washing machine guide provides a basic overview of how to keep your clothes clean, be sure to read our related articles below to learn more. Plus, if you are in the market for a new set, you’ll find the best washer dryer combo machines at hhgregg.

Related resources:

Dryer Buying Guide

Washing Machine Buying Guide

Washer and Dryer Dimensions and Sizes

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