A first-timer’s guide to nailing laundry

So, you’ve recently moved out of home and are left on your lonesome with all those household chores your parents typically took care of. Doing laundry is often high on the list of things to grapple with as a blossoming adult, but once you’ve got the basics down, this common task will become second-nature.

To help you through the early transition phase, these tips can see you grow from a laundry novice to a confident and capable washing powerhouse. 

Stock up on the necessary supplies

First things first: you need the right supplies. Ordering reputable products such as Fab laundry powder online can be a smart way to avoid overwhelming yourself with the laundry aisle at the supermarket (because who has time to agonise over biological versus hypoallergenic detergents?). 

For reference, the main staples you’ll need in your laundry cupboard are simply a laundry detergent and pre-treatment stain remover. Fabric softeners can be a nice add-on if you’re super concerned about static cling, but they’re certainly not a necessity for keeping your clothes clean.   

Choose your weapon

Speaking of supplies, it can help to know the difference between the many, many options out there. First, make sure the detergent you buy is compatible with your machine. This will depend on whether you’re working with a front loader (where the door is at the front of the machine) or a top loader (where you operate a lid on top of the machine). Thankfully, detergent containers clearly specify on their labels whether they are for a front loader or top loader machine.  

Next, work out what type of detergent will best suit you and your lifestyle. Here’s a rough breakdown of the different types, including their relevant pros and cons. 

  • Powder: Arguably the most common type, powder detergents are cheap and come in recyclable cardboard containers. On the flip side, you have to measure the powder out yourself (although the packet will contain instructions and a little cup for doing so).
  • Liquid: These detergents dissolve better than powder and come in different options for colours, whites and darks, however they’re more expensive and again, require you to measure the amount yourself. 
  • Pods: For a pre-measured and mess-free detergent, laundry pods are super convenient. However, they are generally the most expensive option on the market. 
  • Tablets: These are highly similar to pods and therefore come with the same benefits. The main difference is that they’re more powdery (think of a dishwasher tablet).
  • Balls: As an increasingly popular product, laundry balls or eggs are an eco-friendly, toxin-free and zero-waste option. They’re also super convenient – simply pop into the washing machine along with your clothes and you’re good to go. 

Know how (and why) you should sort your laundry

We’ve all seen the sitcom where the load of white washing comes out pale pink thanks to a sneaky red sock making its way into the washing machine. It’s certainly true that throwing everything into the same load can result in dye transfer, along with pilling, lint, and even snags, therefore it’s a good idea to get into the habit of sorting your washing.

Invest in a multi-compartment hamper and divide your washing according to colours and fabric types. Keep lights and darks separate, designate a load specifically for towels, and keep your underwear in a lingerie bag for protection. 

Choosing the right cycle

The final thing to knuckle down before you get that first load on is knowing which button to push! There certainly is a ream of mystique around washing machine settings, so it can help to briefly break down their meanings.

  • Normal: This is pretty much your go-to, failsafe option for most loads, including your weekly clothes wash. 
  • Heavy: Choose this whenever you’re washing bedding, towels or a big load of heavily soiled clothes. 
  • Delicate/gentle: If you’re worried about wear and tear of certain materials (such as lingerie, gym clothes or stockings), a delicate or gentle cycle is your best bet. 
  • Fast: Whether you’ve left your washing to the last minute or you’ve accidently left a load of wet clothes in the machine overnight, this setting is a good way to freshen up garments. Bear in mind it can only cope with a small amount (approximately one pair of jeans and two shirts), and won’t work to remove stains. 
  • Synthetics/permanent press: Think of this setting as a cross between a normal cycle and a delicate cycle. It’s best for dress shirts and pants that can wrinkle easily.
  • Wool: As the name suggests, this setting is designed for all your woollen garments and blankets. If you’re not sure whether an item is made from wool, check the tag.