1.0 Laundry Basics
It is important that you are familiar with the type and amount of washing that the client wants you to complete in their home. Each client will be different and expect different results. This is why you are required to follow their specific directions and ensure that you conduct the consultation correctly.
1.1 Gathering Laundry
As part of your initial 'scope' of the client's home (i.e. when you first arrive), you need to gather the washing that needs to be done.
- Gather dirty laundry from the baskets, floors, or bathrooms in the home
- Strip any bed linen that needs to be changed that day
- Take all laundry to the laundry room for sorting
1.2 Sorting Laundry
When you finish your scope make sure to take all that gathered laundry to the laundry room. You now need to sort the different clothes, linens and items that you have gathered.
Sorting clothes allows you to use different cycle types (‘delicate’ versus ‘normal’) and also allows for washing in different temperatures. Most importantly, sorting clothes decreases the chances that a garment is going to bleed onto another or be damaged through incorrect washing.
1.3 Understanding Care Labels
Every clothing item comes with a manufacture’s care label. This will tell you how the item is to be washed and dried. The instructions will either be written with symbols or just symbols. Please use the chart below to decipher the symbols.
Follow all care labels to avoid damaging items in the wash.
1.4 When in doubt, leave it out
When you are sorting a client’s laundry and come across an item that is a fine fabric or looks expensive, and aren't sure if you can wash it safely, LEAVE IT OUT.
Do not just throw everything in the wash, look at each item and determine if it can be washed without damage.
Items to leave out:
- Linen or linen blend items
- Thin knits
- Lingerie items
- Anything gauzy or fine
- Anything marked DRY CLEAN ONLY
1.5 Sorting by piles by colour
There are several distinct fabrics/piles to sort clothes into:
1.6 Different Wash Cycles per Pile
Click through the following gallery to familiarise yourself with the different washing piles that you will need to incorporate into your work.
1.7 Sorting by Fabric Weight
Colour is not the only consideration when sorting clothes. The weight of the garment should be considered as well.
For example, if you have several pairs of heavy cotton pants, then you don’t want to wash those with thin t-shirts.
Washing clothes with ‘heavy’ material can possibly tear or rip clothes that are thin and light-weight while enduring the agitation of the washer. If they are placed in the dryer together, they obviously won’t dry at the same rate since one fabric is much heavier than another. It’s best just to separate these types of garments from the start.
1.8 Stain Removal
You will need to check each item in the laundry for stains or spills. Once you have found the stain, apply stain stick or spray to the stain, rub it together, and put it in the wash pile. Always follow the instructions on the stain removal bottle before applying to a garment.
For large stains, consider soaking the item once it has been treated for the stain.
Never use bleach to treat a stain.
1.9 Water Temperature AND Applying Detergent
Using the right water temperature can have a huge effect on the outcome of your clothes washing. Your client will tell you what cycles they like to use. If they do not, use the information below as a guide.
Three factors involved in getting laundry clean are:
- agitation in the wash cycle
- water temperature
Cold Water < 40 °C
Items washed on the delicate cycle, such as pantyhose, lingerie, washable silk, wools
Items with a delicate construction, such as an antique fabric, or a lacy fabric
Any item that you think is going to bleed or the dye will run
Items that have a protein stain, such as a blood stain, dairy-based stains or bodily fluids
Items that aren’t exceptionally dirty—those that are just lightly soiled
Warm Water 41-60 °C
Items washed on permanent-press (synthetic materials, etc.)
Items that are moderately soiled
Hot Water > 61 °C
Bath towels, sheets and all other bedding
Kitchen towels, dish rags, pot holders
Heavily soiled items (sweaty work-out clothes, etc.)
Items of sturdy fabric, such as white cotton t-shirts or underwear
All cloth diapers
Cleaning rags and cloths
Any item that is stained with grease or oils
The detergent that you use will be determined by the client and their washing machine. You need to ask them during the consultation whether they have any specific requirements about their washing detergent use.
Top Loader Washing Machines
Check to see if there is a detergent catcher. If so, use this to apply detergent.
If not, make sure detergent is properly dissolved before adding clothes to the wash.
The easiest way to do this is to fill the washing machine approximately half way with water, add the detergent, then keep filling the machine.
Once full, stop the load and add items, then commence the wash.
Front Loader Washing Machines
For front loading machines, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions on where and how to load the washing detergent.
Ask your client to show you where to put the detergent and fabric softener.
Hand washing is recommended for delicate items such as lace, lingerie, wool, silk or very dark colours that may run.
When hand washing delicate articles, use lukewarm or cold water. Dissolve small amount of laundry detergent powder in 5 litres of water then add the article to be washed. Squeeze suds gently through the garment, taking care not to rub, wring or agitate any more than necessary. Squeeze out, then rinse well, using lukewarm or cold water. Use the same gentle treatment described for the washing procedure.
You can remove excess water after hand washing by rolling up the articles in a dry towel. Do not hand wring or tumble dry.
Turn your delicates inside out and hang dry as quickly as possible, avoiding strong winds and direct sunlight. Turn woollens and loosely woven or knitted articles inside out, pull them into shape, and dry flat. Cool iron if necessary.
2.0 Drying the Washing
Every client will have different ways to dry their laundry. No two houses are the same, so you must discuss drying in detail at your initial consultation.
2.1 How to Dry Items using different methods
Drying Outside on a Clothes Line
Drying in the sun gives a fresh outdoor feeling, but always turn clothes inside out to minimise fading. Give each item a brisk shake before hanging it on the line, this helps minimise wrinkles.
Whether you air-dry clothes from a clothesline inside or outside, each type of item should be hung in a particular way so it ends up looking its best.
Drying inside on an airer
Clothes dried on an indoor drying rack must be hung the same way as clothes out on a line. Make sure to use all of the available space on the rack. Some clients will have you use hangers to dry items as this takes up less space.
- Hang clothes from a rod or lay them flat on a drying rack when air-drying garments inside the home.
- Keep garments separated to allow air circulation and faster drying.
- Place clothes near a fan or a heat vent to air-dry more quickly.
- Lay sweaters and other stretchy garments flat on a drying rack to help retain their shapes; turn them at least once to help them dry evenly.
- Hang fleece garments from a rod to dry.
- Air-dry camisoles on hangers; use clothespins if the garments seem in danger of slipping off.
Using the Dryer
Drying clothes in a clothes dryer saves time, but it takes more than just shoving clothes in and turning the machine on. You must read the care labels on the clothing and know what kind of heat the fabric can take. Otherwise, you'll end up with shrunken clothes, damaged fibers, and an angry client.
1. Clean out the lint trap (or the lint screen) before you start loading the dryer. The dryer will work more efficiently, and you'll reduce any chance of fire. (Dryer lint is highly combustible!)
2. Shake out each item as you take it out of the washing machine. (It helps prevent wrinkles and cut down on drying time.)
3. Don't overload the dryer thinking that you'll save time—it'll have the opposite effect. Instead, clothes will take longer to dry and get more wrinkled because there's not enough room in the dryer for the clothes to fluff out.
4. Choose the right setting, or cycle, for your clothes:
- High heat: Towels, jeans, sweats, and other heavy fabrics
- Permanent press: Medium heat for synthetic fabrics
- Gentle: Low heat for delicate items like lingerie and workout clothes
- Air dry: No heat—great for fluffing pillows or refreshing clothes
5. Remove clothes from the dryer as soon as possible to prevent wrinkles from setting in.
Denim jeans that have been put in the dryer will shrink a bit, but if you stretch and pull them as soon as you take them out of the dryer, while they're still hot, you can generally restore them to their proper size.
3.0 Folding Basics
Please click the button below to download and read through the Folding Training. This provides you with a basic way to fold clothes in a client's home.