How to do laundry

How to do laundry

From how to dose you washing powder or washing liquid to how to sort your laundry before putting it into the washing machine, you’ll find everything here on how to do laundry. If you’re unsure about what certain fabric care labels mean, how to protect your favourite garments, or even how to dry clean your clothes at home, this is your place to be.

Comprehensive guide on how to do laundry

Understanding Washing Care Symbols

They may seem like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, but washing care labels are really not that difficult to understand. Once you get to know a few of these universal washing symbols, your laundry routine will become second nature. Because different materials have different laundry needs, it's important to check your garments' fabric care labels before getting started. Knowing these symbols will help you get the best results and make your clothes last longer.

Wash: These care symbols will let you know if your piece of clothing is safe to wash in a washing machine or if it’s hand wash only and which water temperature setting you should use.

Water temperatures
Types of washing

Bleach: Not all fabric types are suited to handle bleaching agents. These laundry symbols will tell you when to use or avoid bleach.

Bleach icons

Drying: These symbols will inform you of the best route to take when it comes to drying your clothes without causing any damage to the fabric.

Drying icons

Ironing: The number of dots inside the iron represents the maximum temperature you should use to iron your clothing item.

Iron icons

Dry cleaning: These laundry symbols are intended to help you decide if your garment should be handled by a professional, and to inform the dry-cleaning service what solvent to use.

Dry cleaning icons

Follow along to learn more about washing care symbols or simply print our free washing machine symbol cheat sheet and put it on your laundry room’s wall, so you can give your clothes the best care possible.

How to Sort Laundry Like A Pro

Now that you’ve become well-versed in the world of fabric care labels, it’s time to learn how to separate laundry like a pro. Here’s a handful of sorting methods you can turn to for excellent results:

Sort ByPurpose
Colour ShadesDarker dyes can ruin lighter fabrics, so it’s important to separate your greys, blacks, navies, reds, dark purples and similar colours into one load, and your pinks, lavenders, light blues, lights greens and yellows into another load.
Fabric WeightTo protect your finer fabrics from getting damaged inside the drum, make sure to wash and dry heavier items, such as towels or bedsheets, in a different load from lighter weight garments like everyday clothes.
Fabric TypeAs different fabrics require different water temperatures, we recommend that you wash your more delicate pieces of clothing separate from your more durable clothes. The same applies to items with zips or buttons, to knitwear and lingerie.
Level of DirtinessHeavily soiled items usually need to be pre-treated and need more agitation from the machine to be properly cleaned, so wash them separately on a longer, tougher cycle.

For a more in-depth look at the matter at hand, check out our guide on sorting your laundry.

Learn How to Pre-treat Different Kinds of Stains

Pre-treating heavily stained garments is a must if you’d like to make sure that unsightly splotch of coffee you spilt over your dress disappears without a trace. Pre-treating helps loosen up the stain particles embedded deep inside the fabric of your clothes, making the job of your washing machine considerably easier. The two most popular methods when it comes to pre-treating your stained clothing items are pouring your liquid detergent right onto the stain and soaking them in a solution of laundry detergent and water.

Pour or soak

Here’s how you can pre-treat some of the most common, stubbornest stain types:

Coffee, tea, berry, or sweat stains: Pour the liquid detergent, or a solution of water and powder detergent directly on the stain. Next, work the detergent into the fibres by using a soft-bristled toothbrush or gently rubbing the fabric together, then let the garment sit like this for a couple of minutes.

Dirt or motor oil stains: Fill up your sink with water and prepare a soaking solution with Ariel liquid detergent. Let your garments soak for 30 minutes before washing.

Food grease, such as butter, margarine, and cooking oil: Rub dish detergent onto the stain, then pre-treat the stained area with Ariel liquid detergent and leave for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Protein-based stains, like blood and baby poop: After getting rid of any excess stain from the garment, treat the stain with Ariel liquid detergent, using the pre-treat cap to evenly spread the detergent.

Learn How to Dose Detergent Correctly

Pinpointing the exact amount of laundry detergent you should use can be tricky. Using too much detergent can lead to unwanted white residues dotting your garments or in the machine, while underdosing can result in poor cleaning efficiency and sub-optimal stain removal. There are three deciding factors when it comes to finding the ideal dosage: how heavily soiled are your clothes, how hard the water is in your area, and what type of washing machine are you using.

Ariel laundry detergents are available in capsule, liquid and powder form. You can find the correct dosing method printed on the package of every Ariel detergent, or check out our quick guide on dosing various Ariel detergents right here:

How to Dose Ariel PODS

Dosing has never been easier than with Ariel 3in1 PODS! Simply place one POD into the empty washing machine drum, add your clothes on top of the washing capsule, select the proper wash cycle based on the recommendation on the garment’s care label and start your wash. Ariel 3in1 PODS can be used for both top and front load automatic washing machines. Learn more about dosing Ariel 3in1 PODS here.

Dosing PODs

How to Dose Ariel Matic Liquid

You can use Ariel Matic Liquid for both types of fully automatic washing machines. Simply dose by filling the washing detergent cap, and just pour the laundry detergent into the drawer of your washing machine. Learn about dosing Ariel Matic Liquid here.

How to dose liquid

How to Dose Ariel Washing Powder

You can use Ariel Washing Powder for hand washing clothes, front and top loader washing machines, and semi-automatic washing machines. If you’re not sure how much powder detergent to use, you can just measure out the correct dose using the scoop provided with the detergent and follow the instructions on the back of the product. Learn more about dosing Ariel Washing Powder here.

How to dose powder

Find the Perfect Load Size for Your Washing Machine

Paying attention to your washer’s drum and your load size can not only lead to cleaner clothes, but it can also save you time and energy!

Perfect load size

By using the palm trick, you can decide when it’s time to stop adding more clothes into your machine, and thus ensure your clothes have enough room to tumble inside your machine’s drum.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a fully-automatic or a semi-automatic washing machine, the same method can be applied in case of both washer types: Just place your hand between the wall of the drum and your clothes:

  • If it fits between your clothes and the wall of the drum, you can close the door and start your cycle;

  • If there’s still more space, put some more clothes in;

  • If you can’t squeeze in your hand, take a few items out.

How do I know my laundry size?

  • When the drum is around ½ full, you have a medium or a regular size load. This equals to about 3 kgs.

  • When the drum is ¾ full, you’re dealing with a large load (~5 kgs).

  • If there’s just enough space for your palm to fit inside the drum, you have an extra-large load (~9 kgs).

Load size recommendations

How to Choose the Proper Wash Cycle

Your fabric care label will also help you decide which cycle and what temperature you should wash your clothes with to achieve the best results:

Use the Right Wash Cycle

CycleWhen to use itHow it cleans
CottonsTo remove dirt and stains for durable fabric. i.e. sheets, towels, whites, heavily soiled items, cotton underwear and socks.• High agitation wash • High-speed spin cycle • Adjustable temperature
DelicateGentle cleaning for delicate items. i.e. lingerie, silk, wool, knits, and other delicate fabrics.• Low agitation wash • Low-speed spin cycle
SyntheticsEveryday washing for synthetic garments with medium soiling. i.e. blended and synthetic fabrics, like polyester, jeans, and jumpers.• Medium agitation wash • Low-speed spin cycle • Warm-to-cool temperature
Quick WashEveryday washing that needs to be done quickly, with minimal soiling, but not for delicate garments.• Shortened wash cycle • High-speed spin cycle
Hand WashGentle cleaning for very delicate, ‘hand wash only’ garments.• Low speeds of agitation • Low-speed spins

Do you have a semi-auto washing machine? Here’s which settings you should wash your clothes on:

  • Gentle wash: Delicate fabrics such as wool and silk.

  • Normal wash: Regular and colour clothes.

  • Strong wash: Heavier, dirtier items.

As for determining the length of the cycle, the general rule of thumb is that the more soiled your load is, the longer you should set the machine’s spin timer.

Use the Correct Wash Temperature

Having problems selecting the right wash temperature for your garments? Worry not, Ariel is here to save you from fading colours, bleeding dyes and shrinking fabrics in the form of this easy-to-understand wash temperature table:

Wash temperatureWhen to use itPurpose
Cold Wash (30°C or below)Wash lightly to moderately soiled items from your daily laundry load on low temperaturesWashing on a cold-water setting will not only save you energy, it also gives your clothes a gentle clean
Warm Wash (40°C)Wash items that have been in contact with body fluids, such as underwear, on 40°CProvides you with an efficient clean while protecting against fading or shrinking
Hot Wash (60°C and above)Use to remove the toughest stains and clean clothes worn by someone who has been sick. Use a powder detergent for the best resultsGives your tough-stain items a deep clean

How to Dry Clothes

After the wash cycle has run its course, but before you fold your garments and place them neatly in your closet, there’s still one thing left for you to do: and that is to dry them. Regardless if you’re planning on drying your laundry items on a clothesline or inside a tumble dryer, make sure to remove them from the washing machine as soon as possible. The less time your garments spend in the dark and damp environment of your washer’s drum, the lower the chance they will develop musty smells.

To decide whether you should put your items inside the dryer or hang them on a drying rack, see what the care labels have to say on the matter:

How to dry clothes

Additional Tips for Achieving a Clean Laundry

How to Hand Wash Your Clothes

No washing machine in your household? No problem! You can still achieve squeaky-clean laundry results with Ariel by following these few simple steps:

  1. Pick the right detergent. Choose Ariel's hand wash or semi-automatic washing powder for outstanding stain removal in 1 wash.

  2. Sort clothes. Separate the darks and colours from the whites before washing. Start by washing the whites and then move onto the darker colours. If you have a new item that’s dyed, wash it completely separately at first.

  3. Fill two tubs with water. Use deep, wide tubs or a tub and a sink, and fill each tub 3/4 full of water. The temperature should be around 29˚C, a temperature that’s still comfortable to touch. Too cold, and the stains may not get removed, too hot, and dyes can bleed.

  4. Add detergent to one tub. Follow the dosing instructions on the package of the powder detergent.

  5. Wash clothes. Put the clothes in the tub with the detergent until they’re fully submerged. Use your hands to move the clothes around in a swishing motion to get the dirt out. You should do this for around three minutes or until the clothes are clean. Don’t scrub, twist or rub clothes in the water as this can damage the fabric.

  6. Rinse clothes. Transfer the clothes into the tub of clean water and pull them in and out of the water for two to three minutes to remove any left-over detergent. If you notice the clothes are still soapy, change the water and rinse them again until they’re free from suds.

  7. Let the clothes drip & lay flat to dry. Do not wring the clothes out as this can damage the fabric, instead you’ll want to lift them up above the water and let them drip into the tub, bath or basin. When most of the water is gone, place the clothes on a rack or a clean towel or bed and leave them to dry flat.

How to hand wash your clothes?

How to Sanitise Your Clothes

Sanitising your clothes properly is now more important than ever. The good news is that you can achieve a superb clean and reduce the number of bacteria present in the fabric of your clothes to a safe level at the same time.

Here are a few tips on how to decrease the chance of germs spreading from soiled laundry:

  • Count to 20 seconds when washing your hands after handling soiled laundry. Always use soap and warm water.

  • When you come back home after a trip outside, change your clothes and take off the clothes that may have gotten exposed.

  • Take off your clothes in a room that has hard surfaces that are easy-to-disinfect instead of piling your dirty laundry on your bed. Place dirty garment in the laundry bag directly.

  • Clean your laundry bag regularly. If it’s made of fabric, wash it, and if it’s plastic, wipe it with a disinfecting wipe.

  • Always match the amount of laundry detergent to the size and soil level of your load.

  • Don’t overload your washing machine.

  • Dry items thoroughly on the highest heat cycle recommended by the care label.

Ariel logo

FAQs on How to Do Laundry

Do you still have a few blind spots with regards to the art of doing laundry? Find the answers to the most common questions on how to wash clothes!