How to wash clothes with a washing machine

Written by mel frank
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How to wash clothes with a washing machine
Using a washing machine is easy. (laundry image by timur1970 from

A washing machine may seem like a simple, no-hassle way to wash clothing, but you actually need to follow a few guidelines to make the washing machine work its best to clean your clothing. Washing clothing has come a long way since the days of the old barrel and laundry scrubber, and when you are able to use a washing machine efficiently, you will quickly learn how easy it is to wash clothing with this modern technology.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Washing powder
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Pre-wash stain treatment

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  1. 1

    Read the care instructions tag on all clothing. Make sure the items are marked "Machine Washable."

  2. 2

    Separate clothing colours into two piles, one pile for white clothing and a separate pile for coloured clothing. Never mix coloured with white clothing, as one red sock will quickly ruin an entire batch of white clothing.

  3. 3

    Place one batch of clothing into the washing machine. Fill the machine no more than three-fourths full, making sure to allow room for the clothing to move freely during the wash cycle.

  4. 4

    Turn on the washing machine, and select the load setting. A few items needs only a small wash load setting, one-third full should use a medium setting and anything larger should use a large washload setting.

  5. 5

    Adjust the water temperature. Use cold water for coloured clothing to prevent fading, and also use cold water to prevent clothing from shrinking. Heavily soiled items should be washed in a hot water or warm water setting.

  6. 6

    Pour a capful of washing powder into the washing machine for a large wash load, or a half capful of detergent for small or medium loads.

  7. 7

    Pour oxygen bleach into the washing machine as well, to add a safe bleaching agent that is usable for both whites and coloured clothing. Use a capful for large loads, or a half capful for medium to small wash loads. This is a safe alternative to harsh, chlorinated bleach products.

  8. 8

    Close the lid on the washing machine, and allow the washer to complete its cycle.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray a pre-wash stain treatment onto stained clothing, and let sit 30 minutes before laundering.
  • Wash heavily soiled items separately in a small wash load. This will give a thorough washing to the items, plus prevent heavy soil from depositing onto otherwise lightly soiled garments.

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