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Laundry Lessons

In a reoccurring series on this blog I am going to impart some of my many laundry lessons from the last few months. I’m not an expert, but these lessons helped me wash clothes more thoroughly and in a way that’s better for my machine. Apparently my laundry skills needed a lot of improvement!

Lesson One: Load Size

This is probably common sense to some people, but it wasn’t to me. I have a front-loading high efficiency washing machine and dryer and I filled my washer to the brim at every wash. When it was time for our washer’s maintenance, the repairman gave my husband some cautionary tales. My husband passed those lessons on to me. Filling the machine completely is very bad because if you’re washing heavy things (e.g. towels) it can actually throw off the drum and will eventually damage and/or break the machine. Over time the unbalanced drum grinds against the outside of the machine causing wear. We’re talking a seriously expensive repair if a repair is even possible. So don’t wash a huge load of laundry in your HE front loader (HE FL)! If you’re washing a lot of heavy items do not fill the machine more than about halfway, maybe fill it even less if you can. It’s just not worth breaking your machine or shortening its lifespan.

Another issue with washing too many clothes at one time is that HE FL machines do not use a lot of water (hence the HE part). If you put too much in the machine the items you’re washing won’t get enough water to adequately rinse out your detergent OR the grime. That means when you dry your clothes, towels, etc., they still have detergent in them and that detergent is sitting against your skin, yuck! Check your manual of your machine and determine which settings are appropriate for your wash load. All of those settings mean different things. For my machine the bulky/bedding setting seems to produce the most water, so I make sure to use that for big loads like towels or cloth diapers. I find that the “load sensing” technology on my normal setting doesn’t produce enough water to adequately clean big loads. I’ll talk more later about trying to trick your machine into using more water. The HE feature is great for money-savings, but sometimes not so great for cloth diapers which require A LOT of water to get clean.

What are some things you’ve learned about laundry that you have to share?