Laundry 101

Fundamental Facts for Cleaner Clothes

Proper laundry care can save time and headaches. The Coin Laundry Association (CLA) recommends these handy tips to combat wrinkles, fabric bleeding and other common laundry nuisances.

Girl and dad doing laundry


  • ALWAYS read the care label instructions on clothes first. Those instructions take precedence over all other laundry tips. When in doubt, always follow the label.
  • Avoid mixing lint generators such as towels, sweatshirts and flannel with lint magnets such as corduroy, velvet and permanent press items. When in doubt, turn lint magnet items inside-out.
  • To minimize fabric discoloration and excessive lint, group like items together in the following categories:

-Delicate fabrics

-Towels and bath linens

-Sheets (can be combined with towels)

-Whites

-Permanent press (i.e. dress shirts)

-Red items or new, colored garment

-Other dark colors

-Light colors

laundry sorting


  • To test garments for colorfastness, dampen with water in a discreet spot and blot with an old white cloth. If the color transfers, the item will bleed and should be washed separately. Wash an old white handkerchief with these items until it comes out clear—then the other items can safely be washed with like colors.
  • Secure zippers, buttons, snaps and buckles to prevent snagging. Tie drawstrings and unroll shirt cuffs to prevent tangling and crumpling.
  • Choose the appropriate water temperature for theload:

-Hot water – whites, towels, very soiled items and oily, greasy dirt

-Warm water – most light and dark colored clothes, permanent press items

-Cold water – delicates, dyes that may bleed or lightly soiled items


Laundry CARE label guide

Man doing laundry


  • Don’t overstuff your washing machine—it will prevent clothes from moving freely and result in less effective cleaning.
  • Don’t use too much detergent. Contrary to popular opinion, more suds do not get your clothes cleaner and can actually trap dirt in the fabric.
  • Wash colored garments inside-out to prevent fading and pilling.
  • For gentle-care items, such as bras and swimsuits use a mild detergent, dish soap can substituted. 
  • Check for remaining stains or discoloration/bleeding from another garment when transferring laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. These items will need to be re-washed, or the dryer heat will set the stain.
  • To minimize wrinkling, shake out items before drying to prevent them from balling up and wrinkling. Don’t overload the dryer, as it prevents proper tumbling and causes clothes to dry slowly and wrinkle. Be careful to avoid over-drying; excess heat can set wrinkles (and shrink clothes). Fold or hang up clothes immediately after drying.
  • Use a dryer sheet to prevent static cling when drying clothes.