Laundering 101: A Beginner's Guide

If you were looking for advice on how to steal from your employer, well, hopefully you don’t work for Truman’s. We aren’t great with white-collar crime, but we can give you some tips on removing shirt-collar grime. And dad jokes. Lots of dad jokes.

Hit for the Cycle
No need to swing for the fences right away, so let’s start with the basics...cycle duration and speed + water temperature.

Cycle Time
Use shorter cycles when your clothes are only kinda dirty, or if you’re washing delicates. Add a little time for bulkier (or filthier) items.

Speed Thrills
Different settings exist with various naming structures, so remember this: fast/slow (permanent press) should be your general go-to setting. This means the wash cycle is fast and the spin cycle slow, which reduces wrinkling. Feel free to slow it down even further for those oh-so-delicates.

Chill Out
You can always use hotter water for big messes or bulkier items, but here’s an insider tip: virtually all laundry can be washed using cold water thanks to advances in machines and detergent formulas. Not heating water saves energy (and money), and it’s not as harsh on the clothing...meaning you’ll still be wearing those boot cuts for many years to come.

We’ll Tumble for Ya
With more knobs and settings than an airplane cockpit, the modern dryer would flummox our prairie-dwelling ancestors and their clotheslines (which, by the way, are a great no-energy alternative to machine drying clothes). For those of us without the patience or the space for a nice air dry, here’s a rundown of some common settings:

Regular: This is typically the highest heat setting, so make sure you’re only drying heavy items (denim, towels, etc.).

Permanent press: This is your goldilocks setting good for most articles of clothing. It’s also best for reducing wrinkling.

Delicate / Low-Heat: Use this for delicates and other shrink-prone items (linen, wool) and give it a little extra time.

Tumble: Here’s an “air dry” option for items you don’t want near heat. Play it safe with that homemade holiday sweatshirt with all of the glitter and sequins.

Tips of the Trade
Now that you know the basics of washers and dryers, here are a few helpful tips when considering taking on your first load of laundry since mom and dad kicked you out:

Sorted Thoughts: Separate your clothing by color or fabric type. This’ll save you the headache of replacing ruined clothing.

No Stain, No Pain: Pre-treat any stains with dedicated detergent before putting it in the laundry, and you’ll have a much better chance of removing it after the wash cycle.

Dig Deeper: Check those pockets. Something small, like a stick of gum, can turn into your worst laundry nightmare. Trust the author on that one.

Now that you’ve read Laundering 101, you’re ready to put on (take off) your big boy or girl pants and clean some clothes! We’re rootin' for ya, kid (or coming-of-age adult).