How to Do Laundry
A no-spin guide to washing clothes, car-seat covers, and nearly everything in between.
By Sarah Stebbins
- Wash jeans in cold water. Most denim is top-dyed, meaning only the surface of the fibers is colored. To keep jeans from fading or acquiring white streaks,
wash in small loads in cold water (with more water than clothes) with all-purpose detergent. This cuts down on abrasion, says
- Stretch the legs to prevent shrinkage. “It’s common for jeans to shrink in length” when washed, says Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Clothing Care (Fashion Media Group, $5, amazon.com). Hold them by the waistband and legs and gently stretch them vertically before drying. Dry on low or medium heat; overdrying
causes unnecessary wear and tear, so take jeans out when the legs are done but the seams and the waistband are slightly damp.
Hats and Gloves
- Wash knit hats and gloves like sweaters. Follow the same instructions based on different fabric types. Cotton blends can be machine-washed cold on delicates, wool
and cashmere on the delicate cycle with cold water, and so on.
- Spot-clean structured hats. Newsboy and baseball caps could become misshapen so its best to keep them out of the washing machine.
- Hand-wash leather-trimmed gloves. You can hand-wash gloves with small sections of leather if the leather is the same color as the knit; otherwise bleeding
may be a problem. To dry, insert the handle of a wooden spoon in one finger and set the spoon end in a vase. This will help
the glove retain its shape.
Down and Polyester Coats
- Wash adult coats in warm water. You can wash down coats in front-loading machines with a mild powder detergent and warm water on the gentle cycle. (If you
have a top-loader, take these coats to a dry cleaner; most top-loaders have agitators that can compress and displace down
filling and prevent pieces from tumbling freely.)
- Use towels for speed drying. Smaller items, like children’s jackets, whether filled with down or polyester, can go in a front- or top-loader on the gentle
cycle; tumble dry on low. Put a few clean, dry towels in the dryer to help soak up excess moisture and speed drying.