The washing machine is an important home appliance and the vast majority would be lost without it. We use it to keep our clothing clean and fresh and most of us will spin several washes every week, however, not many people make use of a washing machine’s full capabilities. There are usually one or two programmes that we all select, without much thought for what the other settings may be able to offer us and our clothes.
That’s why we’ve put together these useful tips and some information about settings to help you get the most out of your washing machine.
Your washing machine is likely to have a dial on the front that will allow you to control the temperature of the wash before the cycle begins. To help you decide the best temperature o select for the items of clothing you’ll be washing, check the care labels on the clothes beforehand and use this as a guide. Be aware that clothes stating they can be washed at 40°c will usually clean just as well at 30°c, unless they are very dirty or heavily stained. Choosing to wash at a lower temperature where possible will also use less energy during the cycle, meaning you’ll be reducing energy bills while minimising the risk of shrinking your favourite items of clothing.
Modern washing machines tend to have a wide selection of programmes that can tailor their settings to clean an array of fabrics and stains in the most appropriate way. Different spin speeds can be utilised by the washing machine, meaning it’s possible to perform things such as a quick wash where the cycle will tumble and drain away the water quickly, or a delicate wash where the cycle will be performed much slower to protect your clothes while they are being cleaned. Read your product manual and become familiar with the different options that are available with your washing machine model as it’ll help you get the most from your washes.
With a huge range of detergents and softeners available it can be a little overwhelming knowing which one’s to choose and how to use them with your washing machine. Here is a quick run down to help you understand them a little better:
Liquid detergents - These typically pour into a dedicated compartment in the detergent drawer, but some are also designed to be measured out (often into a cap) and placed in the drum on top of your dirty clothes.
Washing powders - These require measuring into a scoop before being poured into the correct compartment of the detergent drawer.
Washing tablets - Depending on your washing machine model, washing tablets will either be added to the detergent drawer or placed into the drum before you add the dirty clothes.
Laundry capsules - Like washing tablets, laundry capsules just need to be added to the back of the drum before the dirty clothes go in.
With detergents that need to be measured, always make sure you read the instructions for that specific product and measure out carefully and accurately. Too much detergent can damage your clothes, and too little won’t clean them as effectively.
It can be tempting to pile as much clothes into the drum as possible to get more of them cleaned in one load, but this should be avoided. If the washing machine is overloaded, the clothes won’t tumble properly during the cycle and the water won’t move around the drum enough to ensure a good clean to every item. Once the cycle has finished, don’t leave the wet clothes in the drum for too long - instead, pull them out to dry as soon as you can. This will help avoid damp smells developing and stop mould from building up.
These tips will help you get a basic grasp for what your washing machine is capable of away from the basic settings you always use, but for a more thorough understanding of your specific washing machine model spend some time reading the instruction manual. It really will help you get the most from every wash.