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Things You Should Know Before You Leave Home: Laundry

The stuff you need to know but nobody actually teaches you. Lesson 3: Laundry

You wouldn't believe how many people that have either gone to university or just moved out still bring home laundry for their parents to do. Seriously? You're a fully grown human being, and you're still getting your parents to do your laundry? Even if you don't have a washing machine, go to a launderette!

How To Use Your Washing Machine

To be fair, newer washing machines have so many dials, numbers and buttons that it can be a bit overwhelming if you've never used on before. But for everyday laundry, you normally only need a couple of cycles. This is based on the amount of laundry you have, the type of fabrics you're washing and how dirty it all is.

Separate colors from whites, colors don't run that much anymore, but it only takes one rogue sock to ruin the whole load, trust me.

Turn dark clothes inside out before you wash them and keep them inside out whilst you dry them. This helps prevent fading.

Put things that need to be washed on a cooler temperature together, don't risk putting them in on a hot wash or you'll end up ruining them.

Put the washing into the machine, the amount you can put in depends on the size of the drum. It should say the maximum load size somewhere on the machine itself. You don't have to get the scales out to make sure you're not overloading it, just use common sense. There should be a decent-sized gap between the top of the washing and the top of the drum. I put one clenched fist on the top of the drum and one under the other and if I am just touching the laundry, then I go with that.

Don't massively overload or under load your washing machine. Over loading it means you could damage the machine and your clothes won't be properly cleaned. Under loading it means that you could damage the bearings on the machine and you will be wasting loads of water.

Put the detergent and softener wherever they need to be, close the door and pick the cycle you need. Press start carry on with your sophisticated grown up life and wait for it to finish.

I always spin the laundry again after it has finished, it means less time in the expensive tumble dryer.

Underwires Can Break Washing Machines

If you wear an underwired bra, either wash it by hand or in a specially designed washing bag. This is because bra underwires frequently come out during the cycle and can break the washing machine. It's one of the five most common causes of a broken washing machine. It's a huge expense to get someone to come and fix it or replace the whole machine. But an underwear washing bag costs about £3.00. 

The Dryer

They're expensive to run and they significantly shorten the life of your clothes. But god damn it they are convenient. They're a little more simple than washing machines and pretty self explanatory.

Check the labels to make sure the clothes are safe to tumble dry, put them in and set it for however long you think you might need.

There's a fluff and lint filter which is normally found at the bottom of the drum but it might be somewhere else. Either way, you need to find it and empty it after every time you use it. If you don't, the fluff and lint will build up and get hotter and hotter every time you use the dryer. This is a massive fire hazard so make sure you always empty the filter.

Don't put clothes that are too wet into a dryer, this can cause the heating elements to overheat and break down. Spin them again in the washing machine or wrap them in a towel to remove the excess water before putting them in a dryer.

Line Dry Clothes Wherever Possible

If you have a washing line outside, use it as often as you can, it's cheaper, and it's better for your clothes too. Just be careful when drying brightly colored or dark clothes outside, they can fade in the sun. Drying them inside out can help prevent this, but not stop it completely.

It doesn't matter whether you're doing laundry in a launderette or in your own house. Doing it yourself and not taking it to your parents is just another step towards becoming a real life adult.

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