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Expert advice

Jenny Mcfarlane reveals how to get the basics right when washing



If you cram clothes too tightly in the machine, water won’t have room to properly circulate, leading to wrinkles and limited stain removal. The items shouldn’t fill the washer more than three quarters full and be evenly and loosely spread out.

‘Imagine how heavy the load will be once it’s soaking wet,’ says Lara Brittain, category director at Currys. ‘Too much weight can unbalance the machine and affect its performanc­e over time.’

Front loading machines should have clothes piled no higher than the top of the door. Avoid loading top-loaders past the agitator. If you’re washing duvets, blankets and rugs, put them in separately, adding a few towels for proper spinning action.

Evan Brody, chief marketing officer for Tide, suggests: ‘Place your hand into the drum. If it fits between your clothes and the wall of the drum, you have the perfect load size. If not, remove an item.’


Check loading instructio­ns for your washer so you prevent excessive suds and potential fabric damage. The most common load order is detergent, then clothes. Set the right temperatur­e and cycle to start the machine.


If the detergent dosage is wrong, you’ll have semi-unwashed clothes to deal with at the end of the cycle. Using washing pods is easiest.

If you’re washing a half load, put less detergent in to prevent residue build-up in your machine, making your next load dingy.

In hard water areas, manufactur­ers recommend using slightly more detergent than normal. To check if your water is hard, pour some into a clear glass container, squeeze in about 10 drops of liquid soap and shake.

If a thick foam forms above clear water, it’s soft. If it’s thin suds and cloudy water, it’s hard.

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