Skip to main content
noneHow to Do Laundry

Comprehensive Guide on How to Do Laundry

Discover the complete guide on how to do your laundry with Dettol UK, from stain removal to choosing the right detergent and effective washing techniques.

The Complete Guide on How to Do Laundry

Doing laundry is a necessary chore that most of us tackle with little thought. However,  knowing how to do laundry properly ensures that your clothes remain clean, fresh, and well-maintained. 

This easy how-to guide will teach you brilliant hacks for doing your laundry, from sorting to washing and drying your clothes. By following these strategies, you can consistently get clean laundry and increase the longevity of your clothes!


Let’s dive into the process of doing laundry:

Step 1: Sorting your laundry

The first step in how to wash clothes is sorting them. Which involves separating them based on colour, fabric type, and level of dirtiness. By sorting your laundry, you prevent colour bleeding and maintain the quality of your clothes. 

Start by sorting your clothes into different piles: whites, lights, and darks. Then, sort delicate fabrics such as linen or silk clothes separately from the primary washes as they may not be suitable for the washing machine. 


Step 2: Washing Your Clothes

Once your laundry is sorted, it's time to start washing! Here’s what you need to do:

Read the care labels: Check the care label for specific instructions before putting them in the wash. This includes information about water temperature, recommended washing cycle, and any special care requirements. 

Pre-treat stains: If you have any stains on your clothes, it's best to pre-treat them before washing them to stop them from ruining the fabric. Apply a stain remover or a mixture of detergent and water directly to the stained area. Gently rub the fabric together to loosen the stain. For more information on pre-treating different stains, skip to the next section below. 

Use the right detergent: Choose a high-quality laundry detergent for your clothes. Different detergents cater to specific fabric types and washing machine types. Follow the instructions on the detergent packaging for the correct amount to use.

Load the washing machine: Place your sorted clothes into the washing machine, ensuring not to overload it. Overloading can lead to ineffective cleaning and increased wear on your clothes and the appliance. 

Choose the proper wash cycle: Select the appropriate wash cycle based on the fabric type and level of dirtiness. Opt for a gentle or hand-wash cycle for delicate fabrics to prevent damage.

Add fabric softener: What does fabric softener do exactly? While it’s not an essential product for your wash, adding fabric softener helps make your clothes feel soft, reduces static, and adds a fresh scent.

Add Dettol Laundry Sanitiser: When you wash below 40oC, add Dettol Laundry Sanitiser to kill 99.9% of germs*.

*including bacteria. Use disinfectants safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Start the washing cycle: Once you’ve adjusted the settings, start the washing cycle and let the machine do its job. Ensure you use the recommended water temperature for the best cleaning and to avoid shrinkage. White loads can be washed at a higher temperature than dark loads. 

How to wash linen clothes

Some fabrics, like linen, will need some extra attention to prevent them from being damaged in the wash. Here’s what you should do when washing linen:

  1. Read the care instructions: Check the label for specific washing instructions.
  2. Pre-treat stains: Treat stains with a remover or gentle detergent before washing.
  3. Select the proper water temperature: Use lukewarm or cold water to prevent shrinkage; the label should tell you what’s best. 
  4. Choose a gentle detergent: Opt for a mild, eco-friendly detergent for delicate fabrics.
  5. Use a gentle cycle: Select a gentle or delicate cycle to protect the material, such as the handwash cycle and wash at cooler temperatures.
  6. Avoid overloading the machine: Give your linen clothes space to move freely.
  7. Skip fabric softener: Add a small amount of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  8. Air dry: Hang or lay flat to air dry, While linen can be tumble dried, it’s best to do so on a low heat setting. 


Step 3: Drying Your Clothes

After the washing cycle is complete, it's time to dry your clothes:

  1. Check the care labels: Just like before washing, check the care labels for specific drying instructions. Some clothes may need to be air-dried or tumble-dried at a particular temperature.

  2. Separate clothes for drying: Separate your clothes into different piles based on how they need to dry.

  3. Hang to dry: Hang delicate items, such as linen clothes or those prone to shrinking, on a washing line or drying rack to air dry. This helps maintain the fabric's quality and prevents damage.

  4. Tumble dry: Place clothes suitable for drying in the tumble dryer and a softener sheet or dryer balls to reduce static. Follow the recommended drying temperature for the best results.


How to Get Stains Out of Clothes

Stains are annoying, but with the proper techniques, you can virtually remove any stain from your clothes! According to Better homes and gardens, here’s how: 

  1. Act quickly: The sooner you tackle a stain, the easier it is to remove. Blot or scrape off any excess substance before treating the stain.

  2. Identify the stain type: Different stains require specific treatment methods. Common stain types include food, oil, ink, grass, and blood stains. We dive more into this a bit later.

  3. Pre-treat the stain: Pre-treat the stain using an appropriate stain remover or a homemade solution before washing. Apply the stain remover directly to the affected area and gently rub it in. Let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate the stain.

  4. Wash as usual: After pre-treating the stain, wash the item following the care instructions on the label. Use the recommended water temperature and a suitable detergent for the fabric.

  5. Check if the stain is removed: After washing, inspect the fabric to check if the stain has been completely removed. If the stain persists, avoid drying it in the dryer, as heat can set the colour. Repeat the pre-treatment and washing process until the stain is gone.

  6. Air dry or tumble dry: Air dry the garment once the stain is removed. If using a dryer, make sure that the stain is completely gone before tumble drying. The heat from the dryer can make the stain more challenging to remove.

Different fabrics may need specific treatments. Always read the care labels on your clothes.

How to remove food stains:

  1. Start by scraping off any solid residue.
  2. Rinse the stain with cold water from the back of the fabric.
  3. Apply a small amount of washing-up liquid or a stain remover directly to the stain.
  4. Gently rub the fabric together to work in the soap.
  5. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash as usual.

How to remove oil stains: 

Keep in mind that oil stains can be quite challenging to remove.

  1. Blot the stain with a light colour paper towel to absorb the oil.
  2. Sprinkle on baking soda to help absorb the oil. 
  3. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then brush off the powder. 
  4. Apply a small amount of dish soap, and wash the garment in the hottest water suitable for the fabric.

How to remove ink stains:

  1. Place a clean cloth underneath the stained area to prevent it from spreading to other fabric parts. 
  2. Dab the stain gently with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol or an ink stain remover. 
  3. Continue blotting until the stain is gone.
  4. Rinse the fabric and wash it following the care instructions as usual.

How to remove grass stains: 

Grass stains can be particularly stubborn so they may need some extra elbow grease.

  1. Start by applying liquid laundry detergent directly onto the stain.
  2. Gently rub the fabric together to work on the product. 
  3. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the garment using the warmest water recommended for the fabric. 
  4. Check if the stain is gone before drying. If not, repeat the process or use a mixture of equal vinegar and water.

Blood Stains:
Remember to act quickly for blood stains.

  1. Rinse the stained area with cold water as soon as possible.
  2. Don't use hot water, as it can set the stain permanently. If the stain is fresh, gently rub the fabric together to loosen the blood.
  3. Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the stain and let it foam.
  4. Rinse with cold water and wash the garment using an enzyme-based detergent.

If you’re wondering how to get stains out of white clothes, you can still follow the above instructions for each stain type and the practical methods below.

Practical Techniques for washing white clothes

White clothes can quickly become dull and stained over time, but with the proper techniques, you can keep them looking brighter for longer. This section will teach you how to wash white clothes and restore their brilliance - washing whites often requires more love and attention than darker fabrics. 

  1. Sort the whites: Before washing, separate your white clothes from coloured items to prevent colour bleeding and maintain whiteness. This sorting step ensures that your whites stay crisp and vibrant.
  1. Choose laundry detergent designed for white clothes: Opt for a high-quality laundry detergent that’s made for white clothes as they contain brightening agents that enhance the whiteness and remove stains.
  1. Select the correct water temperature: Check the care labels on your white clothes to determine the recommended water temperature. Hot water is generally better for removing stains and sanitising, but always follow the instructions for the best results.
  1. Pre-treat stains: Before washing, take the time to pre-treat any stains on your white clothes. White clothes should be washed at a higher temperature, which can set the stain if not properly pre-treated. 
  1. Use the right washing cycle: Choose the appropriate setting based on the fabric type. For delicate fabrics, opt for a hand-wash or delicate cycle to avoid damage, while heavily soiled items may require a longer and more vigorous cycle.
  1. Brightening agents: You can use whitening boosters designed specially for white clothes or natural alternatives like baking soda or lemon juice. These agents help to remove yellowing and keep your whites looking crisp.
  1. Drying and sunlight: After washing, consider air-drying your white clothes in direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun's natural bleaching properties can help brighten your whites and eliminate any remaining stains. Choose a low or medium heat setting to prevent shrinking or damage if using a dryer.
  1. Ironing: To give your white clothes a polished look, once your white clothes are dry, iron them on the appropriate heat setting to remove any wrinkles. Take care not to scorch delicate fabrics, and use a pressing cloth.

How to get whites white again

To restore the whiteness of your clothes, try the following hacks:

Vinegar soak: Fill a bath or sink with lukewarm water and a cup of white vinegar. Submerge the items in the solution and let them soak for 1-2 hours. The acidity of vinegar helps remove yellowing and brightens the fabric. After soaking, wash the clothes as usual.

Baking Soda: Baking soda acts as a natural whitening agent, helping to lift stains and brighten the fabric. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the washing machine drawer alongside the laundry detergent.

Lemon juice: Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon juice onto your white clothes' stains or yellowed areas. Rub the liquid into the fabric and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before washing. Lemon juice has natural bleaching effects that can restore whiteness.

Sunlight: Hang your white clothes outside in direct sunlight after washing. Leave the clothes to air dry in the sun for a few hours, and you may notice a significant improvement in their whiteness.

Avoid overloading your washing machine: When washing white clothes, avoid overcrowding the device, as it can prevent proper rinsing. Give your white clothes enough space to move freely during the wash cycle.

Always check the care labels of your white clothes before using any whitening methods to ensure they are suitable for the fabric. 


Source, the

Common laundry mistakes to avoid

According to Martha Stewart, avoiding common mistakes when doing laundry can help preserve the quality and appearance of your clothes. Here are some errors to watch out for:

Overloading the washing machine: Stuffing too many clothes into the machine prevents proper cleaning and leads to inefficient rinsing. It's essential to follow the machine's capacity guidelines. Overloading the machine can also cause it to break. 

Neglecting to sort laundry: Sorting clothes by colour, fabric type, and level of dirtiness, prevent colour bleeding, fabric damage, and ineffective cleaning. Take the time to separate your laundry correctly.

Using too much detergent: Using more detergent than necessary can leave residue on your clothes and contribute to fabric deterioration. Follow the recommended amount on the packaging.

Ignoring care labels: Care labels provide instructions for washing and drying specific garments. Ignoring these labels can lead to shrinkage, fading, or even irreversible damage.

Using hot water for all loads: While hot water can be adequate for specific items, it can cause colours to fade and shrink fabrics unsuitable for high temperatures. Check the care label and use the appropriate water temperature.

Not turning clothes inside out: If you have clothes with graphics or prints, turn them inside out before loading them into the machine. This preserves the quality of the design. 

Neglecting to clean the washing machine: A clean device ensures better cleaning and helps prevent mould. Regularly clean the drum, detergent dispenser, and filter as per the manufacturer's instructions. Check out this article on how to deep clean your washing machine. 

Overlooking stain treatment: Promptly treating stains is crucial for successful removal. Delaying this can make it harder to remove them later. Use stain removers or pre-treatments specifically designed for the type of stain.

Over-drying clothes: Excessive heat from the dryer can damage fabrics and lead to shrinkage. Avoid over-drying and remove clothes promptly - better yet, air dry clothes when possible. 

By avoiding these common laundry mistakes, you can maintain the quality and longevity of your clothes, ensuring they look and feel their best after every wash.

You've now successfully learnt how to wash clothes!

Taking the time to do laundry properly helps maintain clean and fresh clothes, and by following proper tips, you can ensure that your items are well cared for. Achieving great results depends on taking care during each step, from sorting clothes to choosing suitable detergents, and pre-treating stains.

Remember, when doing laundry, it's important to pay attention to the instructions provided on labels. By doing so, you can prevent damage and extend the lifespan of your clothes.


To improve your laundry routine, we recommend using Dettol products.

Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner is specially formulated to eliminate filth and bacteria from your washing machine, promoting a hygienic environment for your clothes. Check out this article for more information on how to clean your washing machine. 

Also, using Dettol Laundry Sanitiser in your laundry routine helps kill harmful bacteria. It also helps maintain hygiene standards by killing up to 99.9% of bacteria, even at low temperatures.

By following proper laundry techniques and using Dettol products, you can enjoy a hygienic, easy laundry routine and achieve outstanding results - every time. 

Remember, doing laundry isn’t just a chore—it's an opportunity to care for your clothes and have a clean and comfortable wardrobe that lasts! For more information on laundry, check out these myth-busting tips.



Our Expertise

Download the free self-care app today - check symptoms, get advice, track your health