But now thats I have this cheat sheet…. what nobs and buttons do I push to do it correctly?
The washer in my building has 6 options. Some are easy to understand. Whites, and colors. Then theres the questionable ones. Bright colors, permanent press, woolens, delicates and knits.
More code? I understand bright colors to a point, but why is it separated from colors? Its gotta be important if theres another setting. Delicate and knits? I understand the meaning of delicate but I don’t really think I wear delicate things, or do I? And specifically what constitutes a knit? And I understand the words “permanent” and “press”, but together makes me imagine fossilized footprints in dried mud. What does it all really mean? Lets go through it.
Whites: Easy. Put whites in. They’re washed in hot water to get out stains and using a regular agitation. Great for germ elimination too. So you might want to throw your boxers or briefs or combo thereof in on this setting. But you may want to think about doing 2 white loads. One for dirty things like sweat socks and undies. And one for white white items. The reason, the dirt on the soiled items may settle on the nice white items causing graying or dinginess.
And since I mentioned dinginess, I don’t want to talk about cleaning products here too much, but I’d like to say, I don’t use bleach. In fact I hate it. Because of the smell and the damage it causes other clothes. But theres no denying its whitening ability. I do like Oxyclean. I use that to whiten and it works wonders and doesn’t damage other clothes. I’ve been reminded that there are non chlorine bleaches available on the market that I may like. But because its got the word bleach in the title, I cringe. One day I may face my fears and try it. But I may have to watch the outcome from someone else’s laundry first. Read directions before using any of those products.
Colors: Also easy. T-shirts and jeans, sweats and other basic fabrics. Uses warm water with regular agitation. Also will work for things needing a stronger wash. Extra dirty stuff, camping/fishing clothes/mechanic/farming/etc clothes. I sometime turn my favorite items inside out to reduce the wear and tear on the outside of the garment while its agitating. It helps keep it looking newer longer. Its probably a good practice to do that to all of my items, but I’ll admit, sometimes I forget.
Bright colors: Garments in this cycle are washed in cold water with regular agitation. I use this setting most often but its title is confusing to me. Does it mean vibrant colors? Or light colors such as light blue or light green? Why shouldn’t these go with the dark colors? And what about reds? I like red clothes but they’re dangerous to other garments if you wash them in the wrong group. My solution to these unanswered questions is to separate this group into brights/vibrants and pastel like colors. This will minimize color dye in the vibrants from transferring to pastels. You may want to turn them inside out as well to further aid in preventing color loss. Any new items (especially reds) I hand wash the first 4-5 times to minimize the colors bleeding into other clothes.
Permanent Press: What a misnomer. From what I’ve found online, these types of clothes need little or no ironing as they’ve been treated chemically to resist wrinkles. I emphasize resist as I’ve managed to get wrinkles in these items. None the less, this wash cycle is for light-weight colored items. Think dressy clothes that can be machine washed. Knits, flannels, polyesters, dress socks, chinos, polo shirts. They’re washed using a basic warm wash and rinses with cool water using a delicate spin. It agitates more gently than regular washes and keeps those items that easily wrinkle from wrinkling as the spin cycle doesn’t create creases because of a less aggressive spin.
Woolens: Used for wool items. Its a cold water short wash/soak in a gentle cycle. So your woolens aren’t shocked into shrinking and aren’t stretched from extreme agitation. This cycle scares the shit out of me. I like my wools. In fact I actually LOVE my wools. As most of them are awesome sweaters and great socks that always get complimented upon. I usually follow the instructions on my wool garment tags in this scenario. Most of them say hand wash and flat dry. And thats what I do. I know there are resources you can find online that can inform you what exact wools you can put in on this wash cycle. But by the time you figure out and decipher it all, you would have been finished washing them all by hand.
Delicates and Knits: If it seems dainty or delicate, this is its setting. Works on a low agitation and delicate spin cycle with a short wash/soak. Linens, silks, your lady’s lace items, baby clothes, “sweat absorbing workout” stretchy fabrics, etc. Also keeps wrinkles down in those items because of the delicate spin cycle. And the answer as best I can find to, “What is a knit?”…. Its a stretchy fabric. If the wash is too aggressive, your knits may stretch and become misshapen. Hence the washing machine setting. But I’d rather they call this setting “Delicates and Stretchy’s”.
Hand Washing. This is obvious. I do this by hand. But check your garment tag, you may need gentle detergent for some items. And some ask that you do NOT wring it.
My dryer has 3 settings.
Whites & Colors, Permanent Press and Delicates.
White & Colors: is the highest temperature setting. Towels, gym sweats, some socks. I rarely use this setting out of fear. Fear of damaging or hastening damage to my clothes. But for towels, it rocks. As it dries in one go, thats a $1 on my machine. On the permanent press setting, towels dry for $1.50. But since I don’t have a ton of towels, I throw them in with the rest of my clothes, that extra $.50 is better than a second cycle just for towels at $1. But I do check at that first 50 minutes and most often pull out my more delicate clothes as they don’t need the extra dry time, keeping those more delicates lasting longer.
Permanent Press: for things that wrinkle easily. Also for man made fabrics (polyester, nylon) Its a low heat dry and cools down in the last stages. This is my goto setting for most of my clothes. Use this for anything marked tumble dry or tumble dry medium or permanent press. Which again, is most of my clothes.
Delicate: is for things that are thin and delicate and expensive sweaters. I don’t have too many delicates. So this is not a normal setting for me. I’d like to know what regular mens clothing items use this setting. Please offer tips if you have them.
With all this said, I try not to dry too many things that I LOVE in the dryer. I like to hang dry most of my button down shirts and ALL my jeans. This tends to keep their colors longer. Although this does create a day of dangling clothes on my back patio and throughout my apartment. I’ve recently invested in a hanging clothes line from Ikea. Perhaps that will help. I flat dry my sweaters. I hate this because of the space it takes up on my all flat surfaces. I live in an apartment that doesn’t have much of that. But I like my sweaters more, so I deal with it.
Dry Cleaners. I don’t like them in general. Perhaps because, like the bank, I leave feel like a number. More accurately, I feel like I’m a slip with a number that says “We don’t want to see you before this specific time. Thanks for your patronage” That and most people at dry cleaners look grumpy. They rarely smile. And I’m always tentative to leave precious things with people who wear a facial expression resembling a general “contempt for life.” Uncharacteristically, this makes me act a bit more like an easily agitated guy who “can turn into an asshole if you fuck up my clothes; but if everything goes smoothly, I we’re cool” while I’m standing in front of them. I’m hoping they’re reading this energy that I’m exuding. Because I would think, nobody likes dealing with an asshole on any level. But in retrospect, I’m probably kidding myself. They just want to see me leave. But with all that said, I still use them. As little as possible. And I rotate to a different one every time I feel like the experience was shitty.
Additionally, I know there’s some controversy regarding whats the most effective way to dry clean. And I’m not quite sure if theres a more effective method in regards to dry cleaning my garments with a green dry cleaner versus a conventional one. But since I see benefits to the environment if a company runs green, and the idea of business in general running greener, why not support the efforts of those that do?
Your thoughts are welcome on this topic. As I’m still on the fence of this. But again, why not go green if you can?
But here are some possible helpful links I’ve found online to find a green dry cleaner near you…
Green Cleaners Council
Green Earth Cleaning