New Year New You: Adulting 101

A major part of being an adult is doing your own laundry. You grew up with your parent or guardian taking care of it for you, and maybe even while you were in college you still kept all your dirty clothes and hiked them back home every month so your mom could clean it.

No more.

You are a capable adult and I believe in your ability to wash your own clothes. There’s a lot of buttons on laundry machines and there are different rules for washing things so stains go away or so that the clothes’ colors stay the way they are meant to be, but it’s not rocket science. You just follow the directions on the machine, sort colors, and use a stain fighter the way it tells you to.

I know that sounds like a lot, though, so I’m going to break it down.

1.) Sort by color

Sometimes when you mix very different colors together, like black and white, they come out funky colors in the end. In this example the white shirt might become a sad washed out grey color you don’t necessarily want. The simply rule is to sort your laundry by brights, darks, and whites.

How well that works depends a little on the colors you have- if all the clothes you own are black including your underthings, don’t bother separating them. If you are like me and don’t own enough pure white things to make a load of, you can riff a little on the theme of whites and throw in nude colored clothes, ivory, and those super pale things you have that are a color, but are really close to white. Just to be safe make sure that any brand new pale colored things you buy you soak overnight once just to make sure any extra dye is soaked out so it doesn’t spread in your laundry machine to all the other clothes- but if everything you own has been washed before go ahead and put those incredibly pale colored clothes with the different shades of white and pale nude.

If you want to go super advanced in laundry sorting you can follow this WikiHow tutorial. Mainly though I still say don’t worry about the extra details and just focus on figuring out the difference between light colors and dark colors and do your laundry accordingly. And please, by all that is holy, do not use bleach unless you are an expert at laundry and take every step of precaution or you will end up with all your red shirts coming out pink like so many poor souls before you have experienced.

Put the Delicates in a Mesh Bag

Delicates are things like bras that get beat up with the rest of your washload. The best way to wash them is to handwash. Realistically, though, ain’t nobody got time for that.

The second best way to wash them that the rest of us mere mortals do is to put them in a mesh laundry bag with the rest of the load. This cute one pictured below goes for $9 and is handmade on Etsy, so that’s always cool to support small businesses. You can find similar mesh delicates bag at any home store like Target as well, but they won’t have the cute trim.

Stain Fighters

Stain fighters are pretty easy to deal with. You buy one and use it by following the directions. If your particular stain fighter doesn’t have directions, though, basically the way most work is you spray or pat it into the stain and leave it there for a bit and then you wash it. Preferably, though, you’d wash the stain the same day so it can’t set in and become permanent and ruin your clothes forever. Want to try this yourself? You can use any conventional stain fighter but I like this stain stick because it has worked on my toughest stains. If you want a more “mainstream” stain fighter then Puracy has a pretty reliable stain fighter that will get any tough stain if you spray it right away and wash within a week. I use the stain stick though because sometimes it takes me longer than a week to get around to actually doing my laundry, I’ll admit it here.

Use the Washing Machine

The only way to explain using a washing machine is really to show you.

This video from Howcast does a pretty good job of that. Basically there should be a knob on the top or front of the machine that has different options you can turn it to, and you want to turn it so it points at “wash” or “regular load”, whatever your particular machine has as an option. And after doing that there will be a start button somewhere near there that you’ll have to push. That’s basically it.

Same thing for the dryer, you’ll have to select “regular load,” or “dry” and then hit the start button.

There are other options on both machines- delicates load, tumble dry, speed dry, air fluff, whatever- but for your first several attempts at doing laundry I suggest you stick with the basics until you are comfortable doing this and then work on increasing your skills slowly.

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