How To Wash Your Clothing – The Basics

How To Wash Your Clothing – The Basics

How to wash your clothing

Knowing how to wash your clothing isn’t as easy as it used to be, with new washing machines and a variety of solutions, fabrics and methods, it can really make you sweat. And because I don’t want you sweating over anything other than a good wardrobe staple, I’m here to show you the ropes.


It hurts my soul when I see a fabulous frock, laundered incorrectly, turn into a tattered heap..


If you’re a ‘dry clean everything’ or ‘chuck it in the washing machine’ type of person, I have some upsetting news for you. Your clothes hate you, because you’re killing them. Knowing how to wash your clothes properly is a skill that comes with having effortless style and thanks to the internet and the wonders of youtube, we can even learn correct washing methods based on our model of washing machine or dryer!


Now, I’m not going to go into that much detail, because I really think it’s a bit of information overload and I want to keep things simple. You should know how to wash your clothing based on the fabric of the item you own, and you should be able to understand the basics of laundry products so you can treat stains when they dance across your wardrobe.


So first things first, I’m going to tell you something your mother has probably told you a bunch of times and that’s; read the care label! It’s not a decoration or something you cut off. It’s there for a reason and as more and more fabrics are becoming mixes of natural and synthetics, it’s important to know they’re not to be treated the same.


What are natural fabrics?


Natural Fabrics are fabrics made from natural sources. Natural fabrics can be protein based like wool, silk and horsehair or can be made from cellulose fibres like leaves, fruit, seeds and bast.


What are synthetic fabrics?


Synthetics, AKA man-made fabrics, are fabrics made from inorganic fibres like glass, carbon, stone wool, metal and ceramic fibres. They can also be made from natural polymers like rubber, regenerated protein or cellulose fibres (like acetate, viscose, lyocell, modal and cupro). The common synthetic fabrics you hear of are synthetic polymers like nylon, polyester, polyurethane, and polyvinyl, among others.

How to wash your clothing | Laundry tips from a personal stylist | Fabric and laundry cheat sheets and clothing care symbols.



First things first, we need to sort your laundry. You should sort your laundry by colours. Lights and darks in a common way to sort your clothing but if you really care about your clothing you’ll sort by colour groups.


White should always be washed separately to maintain their colour. Next you can put nudes, soft pinks and tan tones in the wash together, followed by orange and reds. Greens, blues and greys can be washed together. Black and dark greys can also be washed together. If you have a household, 4-5 baskets can help with sorting.




The fabrics we’ll be looking at are the basics you will find in the majority of clothing. Remember, read your care label first, if it tells you otherwise, follow the care instructions.


how to wash your clothes clothing laundry
how to wash your clothing clothes laundry
how to wash your clothing clothing laundry
how to wash your clothing clothes laundry



Machine wash in warm or cold water.

Cotton with beading or fragile embroidery should be hand washed.

It’s best not to put your cotton in the dryer, it will last longer when hung outside to dry. Excessive time in the dryer can cause shrinkage.

Iron, steam or hang to dry to remove creases.

Only bleach white garments. Don’t use fabric conditioners.


Machine wash in cold water in a lingerie bag on the delicates cycle wash option.

Best cared for when hand washed.

Don’t use your dryer, don’t wring out. Hang to dry on hanger.

Steam from a distance, inside out.

Don’t use hot water. Don’t bleach.


Machine wash in cold water.

Hand wash if delicate.

Air dry on hanger. Never put linen in the dryer, it will shrink.

Steam or iron when damp to best remove creases.

Only bleach white linen occasionally, bleaching too often can yellow garments. Never wash in hot water or put in the dryer, this will cause it to shrink.


Machine wash on cold for 15 minutes.

Best cared for when hand washed.

Dry flat in shade, not on a hanger. The heat from the dryer will damage the wool.

Steam to remove creases.

Don’t bleach or use fabric conditioner. Only use cold water to wash.


Machine wash with warm or cool water.

Can be hand washed.

Dry on the clothes line.

Steam on low heat.

Don’t bleach.


Machine washable.

Best if hand washed.

Air dry in shade.

Steam or iron on low heat.

Best dried in the shade, the sun may deteriorate the fabric faster.


Wash in cold water.

Best if machine washed.

Line dry only. Don’t wring clothing.

Steam inside out.

Do not use vinegar, or hot water. Don’t bleach.


Wash in cold water.

Best if machine washed.

Dry on line.

Iron or steam when damp.

Don’t use hot water or fabric conditioner when washing.

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time we spoke about products, what you need and what each one does so that you can learn how to wash your clothing with the right solutions!

How To Wash Your Clothing

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Fabric Softener


If you want fluffy towels and soft sheets and blankets, fabric softener is great! It works well on thicker pyjamas too. Don’t use this in your everyday load, as your everyday wears fabrics won’t be able to handle it. Only use fabric softener for non-clothing items, unless it’s pj’s, so you can get the most out of your clothing.

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Washing Powder or Liquid


Washing powder is best used for everyday washing, I use it on towels, clothing and underwear and I spot treat small stains like makeup with Preen Stain Remover prior to turning the machine on.


If you want to use the liquid, try to stick to the measurements on the bottle so you’re not getting residue inside your machine. Liquid washing detergent is best used for general food stains, it’s perfect for children’s sticky fingers.

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Stain Remover


There’s two types of stain remover, some that are for treating stains on the run and some that you use just before you wash your clothing. I use Murchison Hume Garment Groom for on-the-run stain removal and Preen Stain Remover for pre-wash stain removal.

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Spray Starch


At the supermarket, this product looks a little like spray and cook. It’s a spray you use prior to ironing or steaming and it helps garments that require a little structure, maintain their structure and stay crease free longer.

How To Wash Your Clothing



If you love a white shirt, white cotton, white sheets, Napisan is the thing you want in your laundry cupboards. It comes in a tubular container and you soak your whites in it to brighten them. Don’t ever soak dark clothing in Napisan or you’ll dull them and they won’t be as chic as they once were.

how to wash your clothing clothes laundry

Lingerie Bag


These bags are a god send! If you don’t have any, go and pick up a few. They can be purchased from the super market or any bra and underwear departments in stores like Myer, Target, David Jones or Big W. They’re great for laundering not only bras and swimwear in, but knitwear, some dry clean only products and delicate fabrics that risk catching on other clothing in the machine.

I hope you liked this weeks blog addition and learned something new about how to wash your clothing! Don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive content and as always, let me know in the comments below if there’s a topic you want covered on here! Stay stylish! x

Alarna Hope

Alarna Hope is a fashion stylist and writer based in Sydney, she's considered an expert in her field as a personal stylist and is also quite good at writing about herself in the third person. She cries during movie makeover scenes, has a jar of Nutella under her bed for safety and can tell you the synopsis of every Kath and Kim episode ever. She currently resides in Sydney with her Oscar-worthy cat, Meryl Streep.

  • camilla peffer

    October 4, 2016 at 5:05 pm Reply

    Ugh! Such good advice. If you invest in clothing, invest in getting a good quality washing detergent. Might I add that Biozet is great for getting the smell out of active wear?


      October 4, 2016 at 11:32 pm Reply

      Thanks Camillia,
      Great tip for Biozet! And I agree, it kills me to see good clothing go to waste because of someone just throwing an item in the machine without checking it. ?

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