This seems like such a straight forward process, and in a lot of ways it is, but I have a fairly detailed routine that I go through when laundering my clothes to ensure minimal or zero shrinking and longevity of fabrics.
I wear a mix of clothes from really affordable stores like Old Navy and Target and also get a few special pieces from designers I really love like Rebecca Taylor or Joie. I enjoy getting dressed and treat my clothes with care so they last longer and maintain the best fit for as long as possible.
Let’s start from the top: dirty clothes.
I have a divided laundry organizer that has 3 compartments. One is for lights/whites, the other is for darks, and the last one is for “specials”. I always wash each of these separately.
Up until a few months ago, my husband’s clothes were mixed in with mine, but we shifted our chores and routines a bit and now he does all of his laundry in one basket. No sorting, no specials. . . but hey-that works for him and therefore it works for me!
In general, it takes about two weeks before I really need to wash the clothes in my laundry baskets. It’s usually intimates, socks, and workout clothes that get the most washes!
In general, I re-wear denim a number of times before washing, and a lot of times I can re-wear tops, tanks, and even blouses. I really take time to assess whether or not an item needs to be washed when I remove it at the end of the day. And if there is a spot, perhaps something that got on a top I was wearing while cooking dinner, I will spot clean it first before choosing to completely wash the entire item.
Only washing when actually necessary helps maintain the integrity of the fabrics. This is a pretty comprehensive list of fabrics most clothes are made of, and it includes how to properly launder them as well.
I wash most of my whites in cold or warm water, but never “hot”. I use Persil laundry detergent and find that they are clean and bright without the use of hot water. I generally use the “quick wash” function of my machine for whites.
I wash my darks and athletic clothes in cold water on the “quick clean” cycle.
I wash my specials, after sorting by lights/colors/darks on “gentle” in cold water.
After washing, nearly every single thing I washed is hung to dry. From denim to cotton t-shirts, to blouses, it’s hung up. For t-shirts, I do not hang it on the hanger traditionally because I do not want there to be a section pushed out in the shoulder area from the hanger. I’ll fold the shirt in half and let it hang along the bottom straight piece of the hanger.
I hang jeans the same way and will hang any tank top traditionally on the hanger since there isn’t a sleeve or shoulder part that would be pushed out while it dries.
Once my clothes are totally dry, they only require a quick 10-minute toss in the dryer to reduce wrinkles. If it’s a nicer fabric, I’ll opt to steam the wrinkles out instead.
I find that this method maintains the quality of my clothes well since dryers tend to be rough on fabrics.
A few Questions and Answers:
1. What type of washer and dryer do you have? We have a Whirlpool Cabrio that we bought second hand years ago! It’s worked perfectly until about a month ago when we needed to replace the bearing.
2. Do you have a preference for top or front loading machines? I much prefer top loading washing machines because I feel that they can fit so much more clothes. I also find front loaders that I’ve used in different houses to acquire a dingy smell much quicker than a top loader.
3. Do you regularly clean/maintain your washer and how? I don’t, but I think I should.
5. Do you wash your sports bras with darks/athletic wear or specials? I wash all my athletic clothes together with my darks, on cold, and hang a lot of it to dry!
6. Do you remove pads from bras and swimsuits before washing or keep them in the garments? No I never do, but usually something will get lost in the dryer, but it’s easy to put back in place!
7. Do you use anything besides detergent (fabric softener, dryer sheets)? I use dryer sheets when I dry or toss the clothes. Wool dryer balls are also an option for those who are not interested in using a dryer sheet.