It is the day that everyone dreads, Laundry day. On average we spend nine months of our lifetime during our laundry and surprisingly enough, according to a survey done by Minijob Centre, laundry was listed as the most popular household chore. Who knew?
Unfortunately, laundry can get a bit more complex than we think. Have you wondered what those symbols on your labels mean? How about which detergent to use for which fabric or colour? We have a simple guide to demystify the laundry and get it done the right way.
Deciphering the mysterious laundry symbols:
At first glance, the various symbols on your clothing labels can be overwhelming. The ironing symbol is easy understand, but have you ever wondered what the triangle, circle and other symbols mean? Here is an outline to understand all those symbols and squiggles on your favourite garments.
To handwash or to machine wash:
The washing basin symbol means that chucking it in the machine is allowed and the crossed out basin means, you guessed it, no washing is required. The number in the basin represents the maximum temperature in celsius and a hand in the basin means that the clothing can only be hand washed.
To bleach or not to bleach? :
The triangle symbol indicates that the clothing is allowed for both chlorine and non-chlorine bleach. If the triangle has two oblique lines, non-chlorine bleach can be used when needed. If the triangle is striked out, this means that the clothing must not be bleached.
The machine dryer is represented by a circle in a square. One dot represents drying at a reduced temperature, two dots means drying at normal temperature. If the dryer symbol is crossed out, the clothing does not tolerate being in a dryer.
The circle indicates the need of professional or specific cleaning methods. The various letters in the circle represents different solvents. The letter “F” represents fabrics that can be dry cleaned with hydrocarbon solvent only, “P” represents dry cleaning with tetrachloroethylene only and “W” represents professional wet cleaning with aqueous base solvents.
Searching for the right detergent:
Now that you’ve got the jist of all the symbols, you can decipher the best course of actions. Don’t forget to sort your clothes by colors and if possible, by materials before dumping them into the washing machine. But wait, which detergent is the right one?!
1. The basic detergent
Basic detergent typically ranges from three types of detergents; heavy-duty, color wash and mild.
Heavy-duty detergent cleans any fabric that’s in need of a deep clean and can be used for all washing programs. Note that this type of detergent contains washing powder in addition to bleach, optical brighteners and enzymes that may cause discoloration in non-white clothing.
For colored clothing, it is recommended to use color detergent that does not contain bleach. Set the temperature to 60 ° C to ensure that the color does not come off. Some color detergents contain optical brighteners, which can also alter the colour of your garment, so make sure that your detergent does not contain these substances.
With the delicacy of wool, it’s important to be aware of the detergents you use so as not to ruin your favourite clothes! The enzymes in normal detergents can be detrimental to those woolies garment, therefore we recommend a mild detergent to be safe.
2. Laundry detergent powder or liquid?
Liquid detergents contain no bleaching agents because they don’t function well together. However, the selection of an agent also depends on how dirty your clothes are. Light stains can easily be removed with liquid detergent but powder detergent is preferable for stronger stains.
Have you ever wondered where the white residues on your newly washed clothing come from? This occurs because the powder detergent contain insoluble zeolites that are missing in liquid detergent. So, although the washing performance is reduced with liquid detergent, white spots do not appear.
3. Select the correct temperature
Note that temperatures above 60 degrees destroy enzymes in the detergent, making the washing ineffective. Not only that, but it uses up to 90% additional energy than your normal wash from the heating up of the water! In fact, the perfect temperature to kill most germs is around 30 degrees. Basically a longer wash cycle at low a temperature not only saves a lot of energy, but also allows the detergent more time to react.
4. Do laundry softeners really matter?
Softener make our clothes and towels feel luxuriously soft and provide a pleasant scent. However, they are particularly harmful to the environment and make textiles less absorbent. This is because the fabric softener is released only in the final rinse of the laundry, and is absorbed in the fibers rather than rinsed out.
5. DIY detergent
Done with your laundry? Lay your clothes out for a few hours and let the cleaning power of the sun kill the rest of the germs and stains.