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Washing Machine Tips

Are there any special tips for loading the washing machine

Loading an automatic washer to capacity saves time and energy, but overloading causes poor cleaning because the clothes will not swish around.  Do not pack them down, say the experts; drop them loosely into the basket.  Permanent press clothes especially will retain their shade better if they are not crammed together.  Clothes also get cleaner when you have a mix of large and small items.  But be sure to load evenly. Do not, for instance put all the towels on one side and all the underwear on the other.

Should I use hot water or cold water

Cold water is fine for the average wash so long as your tap water is around 70 degrees.  Some liquid detergents will do okay at lower temperatures, but powdered detergents need warm water to dissolve completely.  Hot water is unnecessary unless you are disinfecting diapers and bedding or washing whites.  Rinse water can always be cold - it actually keeps the clothes from wrinkling.

Which items require special care

Plastic items
Pants, bibs - should be washed on a short cycle for about 4 minutes and tumbled in the dryer without heat.  The same thing applies to vinyl-backed soaker pants.

Woolen blankets 
These should be soaked in detergent water for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Then water should be drained out of the washer and the usual rinse cycle should be used.  Dry for 10-15 minutes in the dryer.  While the blankets are still damp, take them out and spread them on a flat surface to finish drying.

Flame-retardant sleepwear should not be washed with soap because it leaves residue which interferes with the flame-retardent properties.

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