Your Ultimate Guide to the Confusing World of Laundry

Your Ultimate Guide to the Confusing World of Laundry

Do you know which colors should be washed together and what temperature of water they should be washed in? How often does everything need to be washed? And what do all those crazy symbols on tags mean anyway? In this article we’ll break down the sometimes confusing world of laundry, and even explain how to get some common stains out of clothing! 🙂

To begin, here’s a diagram explaining the laundry symbols:

For more information, a breakdown of how to read symbol meanings, and a downloadable pdf symbol guide, check out this link:

Separate Laundry By:

Color Shades:

Clothes with deep colors are more likely to bleed dye when washed. To avoid damaging other clothing, sort laundry according to color, separating lights from darks.

Fabric Weight:

Wash and dry heavier items, like towels, separately from lighter weight clothes to prevent damage to finer fabrics and ensure even drying.

Amount Of Dirt:

Very dirty or stained laundry should be washed separately on a longer, heavy-duty cycle. This provides the agitation necessary to get rid of heavy dirt.

How Often You Need To Wash Everything:

Every Wear:

  • Tights
  • Shirts
  • Blouses

Every 3 Wears:

  • Pajamas
  • Bath Towels
  • Bras And Slips
  • Camisoles
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Jeans
  • Dress Pants

Every Day:

  • Hand Towels
  • Dish Towels
  • Washcloths

Every Week:

  • Sheets
  • Pillowcases
  • Bath Mats

Every Month:

  • Bathrobe
  • Mattress Pad
  • Pillow Liners

Every 3 Months:

  • Shower Curtains
  • Throw Blankets
  • Throw Rugs
  • Outerwear

Every 6 Months:

  • Comforter
  • Pillows

Common Stains And How To Get Them Out:

Tea, Berry, Or Sweat Stains:

Pour detergent directly on the stain. Then gently rub the fabric together or use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help work the detergent into the fibers, then leave it on for a few minutes.


Soak in cold water mixed with two tablespoons of salt or ammonia.


Rinse from the reverse side with cold water. Rub in some dish soap and leave it to sit for 5 minutes, then soak for 15 minutes in cold water.


Mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar with 2 cups of water and apply to the stain with a sponge.


Sprinkle baking soda onto the crayon marks and rub with a cloth.

Ink (Ballpoint):

Dab a little non-gel toothpaste over the affected area and rub gently. Wash off with soap. Repeat if necessary.


Pre-treat stain with white vinegar or dish soap.


Allow the mud to dry completely. Remove as much of the mud as you can then rub dish soap into the area with a damp cloth.

Dirt Or Motor Oil:

Prepare a soaking solution with detergent. Let these garments soak for about 30 minutes before washing.

Chewing Gum Stains:

Soak the item in hot vinegar for 1-3 minutes, but always test for colorfastness first. You can do this by applying a small amount of vinegar to an inconspicuous area of the garment. After a few minutes, blot with a paper towel, and if no color comes off on the towel, your garment is colorfast, and you can continue to pre-treat.

Butter Or Margarine:

Rub dish detergent onto the stain to loosen it before pre-treating.


Sprinkle baking soda on the stain to soak up any excess grease. Rub the stain with liquid dish soap and wash in the hottest water suitable for garment.

Red Wine:

Sprinkle salt on the area to absorb as much of the stain as possible. Rinse from the reverse side of the stain with boiling water and wash immediately.

How To Load A Washer:

To get the most out of your wash (and save time and energy), pay attention to the size of your washer’s drum and your load size. Give your clothes enough room to tumble, without wasting water, by applying the palm trick to avoid overloading. Just place your hand into the drum, and if your hand fits between your clothes and the wall of the drum, then you have the perfect load size. It’s as easy as that.

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