Doing Laundry: The Complete Guide

In the 1950s, people were now able to buy luxury items, the goal was this “American Dream.” The latest appliances were a status symbol to living the dream. Most of these women could remember a time when there were women using washboards, or other crazy contraptions.

Old washing machine laundry


Oh boy, when I was 18, everything went in the wash at once….my husband’s rough Army uniforms, my undergarments, sweaters….all of it was one load of laundry. Who cares right? We scarcely had money to eat let alone feed a washing machine quarters all day long in our apartment complex.

Well, I began ruining clothes, in case you weren’t sure.

Laundry joke

Over the years I learned to separate jeans from undergarments, but it still was incorrect. There is so much more to laundry! I have since for the most part corrected my issues with how laundry is done properly.  I have done my research, and trial and error have led the way. Let me begin this article WITH THE TRUTH.

I recently thought I understood sorting laundry, but as I was researching this topic for you, I realized I have been married TEN years and am still doing it wrong.

So, in this article I am going to share with you what I know, and what I have learned.  I have two children. Both are toddlers. You know where I am going with this. Kids are messy,  kids are rough on their clothing.

Sorting Laundry

Rule 1: So first rule of thumb, put all the items that need pre-treated in one basket. It is handy to have a bottle of pre-treat spray in that laundry basket. The longer you let a stain set, the harder it seems to remove.

Rule 2: Separate darks, lights, and colors, permanent press (sheets/dress shirts and similar fabrics), and delicates.

Whites in a laundry basket

Rule 3: Once your clothing items are separated, think about the types of fabric in each pile. For example, you would never wash fine black undergarments with black jeans…just because they are black. It would tear the lingerie to shreds. Similarly, you wouldn’t to wash towels with corduroy. Think about how much lint attracts to corduroy and how much lint a single towel gives off. Don’t wash (or dry them for that matter) together.

Separate accordingly.


Rule 1: There is a reason they tell you to use a certain amount of bleach. Can you tell I learned the hard way that there are certain whites you should not bleach…and that there is such a thing as too much and it will actually make your clothing brittle? Besides, in this last year I found a lot of amazing stain removal tips.


Rule 2: When it comes to detergents, you nearly always get what you pay for. I use Persil. To be honest, I think it even outcleans Tide or any other brand.


Snow White Persil Laundry Detergent


Rule 3: Follow the laundry care tags. I had no idea what ANY of these were until today, so I will share them with you. It is a good idea to print this and hide it in your laundry room (maybe tape it to the door in a cabinet). Thank goodness for CleanMama. She has a nice printable cheat sheet on all of the laundry care symbols.

Her site has a lot of nice tips and free printables on modern housekeeping and organization.

Caring for your laundry chart

Rule 4: CLOSE YOUR BRA CLASPS, LADIES. Trust me, the snags or a bent hook is not worth it.

Rule 5: Do not over fill the washing machine. The washer will not clean your clothing properly if you over fill it. Trust me, you don’t want to come to this realization the hard way and spend three times longer doing the same task!





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