If you’ve had the luxury experience of using a professional laundry service, you’ll know that your clothes come back cleaner, softer and fresher than home-laundered garments, every time.
But how do the professionals do it? What are the tricks of the trade that produce such amazing results? Here, we let you in on a few secrets so that you can have immaculate, sweet-smelling laundry with every wash.
Table of contents
1. Sort carefully
We know it’s tempting to throw everything into the machine together in one load. It saves lots of time, right?
However, you need to be aware it’s bad for your clothes.
Take the time to read the care labels inside all your garments and on your bedding and towels. You’ll soon see that there’s an array of different requirements for cycle choice, temperature and drying. Sort your clothes out by their temperature and cycle requirements and you’ll probably find your one big load is now in several piles.
Is it worth washing these piles separately? Yes, definitely. Washing in the right cycle has many benefits.
- It will maximize the lifespan of your item. Their care recommendation is the result of significant testing to get the optimal cleaning results without wearing out clothes.
- You’ll get every item clean and fresh. Some items, like cotton towels or gym kits, may need a hotter wash to remove bacteria and odors. Washing at a lower temperature with other garments won’t give them the care they need.
- You’ll also avoid color run or bleaching by washing your clothes at the right temperature and in the right cycle.
The best laundry professionals can choose from at least 50 programs to get the very best results for different garments. You are not likely to have the same amount of choices, but sticking to the manufacturer’s instructions is a good place to start.
2. Pre-treat stains
The faster you address a stain, the better chance you have of getting it all out. Spot clean as soon as you notice a mark. Grease, makeup, grass and coffee are all examples of substances that can be difficult to remove. Be as gentle as possible to avoid damaging the fabric.
That said, all is not lost if you see that a stain is dried in. You still have a good chance of removing it if you treat it right. Make sure you always have good quality stain removal products at home ready to go.
A professional laundry service will always pretreat stains with the most appropriate spot cleaner before laundering. To get similar results, you should make sure you have different products to treat different stain types. To break down a grease stain, for example, requires chemicals unalike those needed for grass stains, and so on. All-purpose stain products are generally less effective.
3. Use the right, best-quality detergents
Always choose the best quality detergent you can. There are really useful independent testing organizations like Good Housekeeping and Which? that give great advice on products. The best detergents contain more active enzymes for removing dirt than budget brands so you really do get more for your money.
You’ll also need specialist detergents for delicate fabrics like silk and wool. An all-purpose detergent will be too harsh and may damage these fabrics.
And always make sure that a garment marked dry clean only goes to a professional laundry. These garments cannot withstand a regular washing machine. They need to be cleaned with specialist solvents and without water to avoid damage.
4. Use quality products in the right quantities
You also need to use the optimal quantity of detergent. Too little is ineffective but too much can leave a visible residue on your garments. Too much can be too harsh and damaging, too.
Follow the instructions on the detergent packaging, having made sure you are using the right type for your fabric. You’ll find that a quantity is recommended according to the weight of your load, how soiled it is, and your local water type (hard, medium or soft).
5. Never overload
Your laundry needs space in the drum to move freely. Water and detergent need to circulate through your clothes to get them clean. Therefore, jampacking your machine won’t offer great results.
The load weight limit will likely be displayed on your machine. If not, look it up in the manual. However, we know it’s unlikely you’ll be weighing your washing. So, as a rough visual guide, don’t fill your machine more than three-quarters full. Aim for half full for especially heavy items, like towels and other thick fabrics.
6. Ditch the dryer
Dryers are bad news for clothes and the environment. Air drying is best because it helps your clothes retain their shape and texture for longer. Plus, think of the energy saved. Always air dry if possible. What beats the smell of fresh laundry dried on a sunny, breezy day?
Many professional laundries still use tumble dryers. However, the very best are switching to unique air drying systems that offer much better results for their customers. Testing shows that garments can last 30-50% longer when air dried.
7. Steam press
Many homes and some laundries press clothes with hot plates and domestic irons. However, research shows the best way to preserve the color and texture of garments is to use steam to remove creases and wrinkles.
Steam also has the added bonus of killing germs and viruses. Your laundry will not only look great but be incredibly hygienic, too.
Sounds like too much work?
Professional laundries have the expertise, machinery and products to provide optimal cleaning for all fabrics. But you can get good results at home if you are willing to invest in good products and spend more time looking after your garments.
The average household already has to contend with several hours’ worth of sorting, washing, drying and pressing per week. To do the very best job possible adds more time pressure.
Why not use a professional clean and press service? As well as the best possible cleaning results, you can enjoy more time to do the things you enjoy. The best services collect your laundry and drop it back at your door, saving you even more time and hassle. Your clothes will look and smell amazing and will last longer, too. That’s a service well worth paying for.
Rami Shaar is co-founder and CEO of Washmen, a top-notch online dry cleaning and laundry service in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Rami has a bachelors in Commerce from Concordia University and has filled BD, product, operations, and IR roles throughout his career. He has worked at Morgan Stanley, Swicorp and Uber before co-founding Washmen.