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Laundry Basics

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Laundry is an never ending job around the home. Following basic steps and tips make it an easier task and final results will be satisfactory. This is the time of year when college students are going back to school and for some this may be their first experience of doing laundry on their own. These tips will help make laundry simple.

Sorting items can sometimes be the biggest task. Sort clothes by:

Color ...First and most importantly, sorting should be by color. Separate: White or white-background prints that are colorfast; colorfast pastels in solids and prints; medium and bright colors, both solids and prints;and dark colors.

Size... Try to mix large and small items in each machine load for better washing action. A typical mix for a regular capacity washer might include one or two sheets (twin or full size), several pillowcases, two to four shirts and blouses, with the balance of the load made up of underwear and other small items. Wash large items (blankets, bedspreads, rugs, mattress pads, etc.) separately, adding a few towels, if necessary, to balance the load for proper spinning action. Generally, two twin-sized bedspreads or blankets can be washed together, but be sure the bulk does not overload the washer above the recommended level.

To prepare clothes for washing:

Take a minute before loading each item into the washer to:

* Close zippers and other fasteners to prevent snagging. Tie strings and sashes loosely to avoid tangling.

* Empty pockets. Brush dirt and lint out of cuffs.

* Remove unwashable belts, trimmings, ornaments and pins.

* Mend rips and tears.

* Treat spots, stains and heavily soiled areas.

When loading the washer:

First, put the measured amount of detergent and additives such as detergent booster or water softener in the washer tub, following manufacturer's instructions. Then, add clothes and start the washer. Check the washer instruction book for a recommended maximum or optimum load weight and/or a list of items that might be included in a sample load. Use this as a guide. Remember bulk counts more than weight. Fill the tub loosely so clothes have room to move freely, and mix items of different sizes. Don't wind large items around the agitator or the tub, they will become tangled.

When drying clothes in a dryer, be careful not to over load. Also clean the lint filter between drying, this will speed up the drying process and dry better. To keep clothes from wrinkling remove as soon as they are dry. Do not over dry.

Take time to follow these simple steps and your laundry task will not be overwhelming.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated August 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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