Laundry is one of life's constants (along with taxes), which makes knowing how to do it more efficiently so important. Do you feel overwhelmed when you have to select the proper settings for your favourite sweater, or, perhaps, you’re worried that the cup of cardamom tea you spilt on your blouse will leave a permanent mark? Let Ariel’s comprehensive laundry guide help you learn the ins and outs of how to wash clothes in a washing machine from decoding washing instruction symbols and sorting to choosing the right wash cycle, and become a big-league laundry expert in just 7 steps!
Ariel’s Step-by-Step Guide on How to Wash Clothes
Additional Tips for Achieving a Clean Laundry
Additional Tips for Achieving a Clean 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.
Bleach: Not all fabric types are suited to handle bleaching agents. These laundry symbols will tell you when to use or avoid bleach.
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.
Ironing: The number of dots inside the iron represents the maximum temperature you should use to iron your clothing item.
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.
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:
|Colour Shades||Darker 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 Weight||To 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 Type||As 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 Dirtiness||Heavily 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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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).
Find out more about loading your washing machine here.
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
|Cycle||When to use it||How it cleans|
|Cottons||To 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
|Delicate||Gentle cleaning for delicate items. i.e. lingerie, silk, wool, knits, and other delicate fabrics.||• Low agitation wash |
• Low-speed spin cycle
|Synthetics||Everyday 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 Wash||Everyday washing that needs to be done quickly, with minimal soiling, but not for delicate garments.||• Shortened wash cycle |
• High-speed spin cycle
|Hand Wash||Gentle 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 temperature||When to use it||Purpose|
|Cold Wash (30ºC or below)||Wash lightly to moderately soiled items from your daily laundry load on low temperatures||Washing on a cold-water setting will not only save you energy, it also gives your clothes a gentle clean|
|Warm Wash (40ºC)||Wash items that have been in contact with body fluids, such as underwear, on 40°C||Provides you with an efficient clean while protecting against fading or shrinking|
|Hot Wash (60ºC 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 results||Gives 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:
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:
- Pick the right detergent. Choose Ariel's hand wash or semi-automatic washing powder for outstanding stain removal in 1 wash.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add detergent to one tub. Follow the dosing instructions on the package of the powder detergent.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 by washing them with Ariel Anti-Germ Matic Detergent Powder!
Additionally, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions 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!
Is washing clothes by hand better?
Hand washing is the way to go when it comes to cleaning delicate clothing articles made of cashmere, wool, silk, raw denim and embellished items, as it prevents the garments from getting damaged during the wash cycle.
Can you hand wash all your clothes?
Washing your clothes by hand is a safe, albeit a bit bothersome way of getting virtually all your fabrics cleaned. Before immersing your piece of garment inside the detergent solution, be sure to test an unnoticeable area of the clothing.
How long should I wash my clothes in the washing machine?
Typically, a normal wash cycle will last for 50 to 60 minutes, but it can be shorter or longer depending on your load size and the cycles you’ve selected.
Is it better to do smaller loads of laundry?
We would advise against doing smaller loads of laundry, as running one large load instead of several small ones will not only save you time, but energy as well. If you do need to do a smaller load, make sure to select the appropriate size setting on your washer.
Is grey light or dark for laundry?
Grey is considered a dark colour when doing laundry, and should be washed together with blacks, navies and reds.
What colours to wash together?
You should separate your clothes into three piles: bright and pastel coloured clothes go in one batch, whites in another, while the third pile is for darks.
How do you soak clothes?
Pre-soaking your clothes can do wonders when it comes to getting rid of stubborn stains from the fabrics. You can do this by filling a sink, a bucket or a tub with lukewarm water, adding a bit of detergent, then submerging your garments. Before doing so, however, make sure to check if your clothes are colourfast and if they’re suited for prolonged soaking. Leather, wool and silk items are typically no-goes.
What happens if you use too much detergent?
Using too much detergent in your laundry will lead to excess sudsing inside the drum and unsightly detergent residue on your clothes.
Which slot to put the detergent in?
Most washing machines have three compartments inside its detergent tray, each one with its own symbol. You pour the powder or liquid detergent inside the slot marked with “II”. The small compartment labelled by a star (*) or a flower is where you should put your fabric softener in, while the medium-sized slot featuring the “I” symbol is called the pre-wash compartment.
Is it ok to put detergent directly on clothes?
Whether you’re washing with a powder or liquid detergent, or Ariel’s innovative 3in1 PODS, you should never put the detergent directly on top of the clothes. Pour the powder or liquid into the detergent compartment or place the POD at the back of the drum before adding your clothes.
Should you put the detergent directly to the drum?
Yes, but only if you’re using a washing capsule such as Ariel 3in1 PODS. Add one laundry pac at the back of the drum, then place your clothes on top of the detergent.