Laundry 101 basic answers needed

lmrinc_gwAugust 1, 2010

I just got a Miele set. I have to forget everything I've learned about washing and learn new..

I've ran extra white cycles, max spin, extra hot, extended wash, used extra Persil (sensitive megaperls), used a stain stick and used a oxygen non chlorine bleach and things aren't getting really white, just a bit better than dingy white.

Also, how to I prevent stuff from shrinking?

I do whites, lights and dark loads and use about 3 scoops of persil for all.

Do I run normal, heavy duty, extended for darks with sweaty soiled clothes mixed with normal wear dark clothes?

Thanks ahead of time. I like to use non toxic products and can't find the ingredients for persil megaperls sensitive...anyone know?

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No, you don't have to forget everything and learn new!

First, have you had satisfactory cleaning with previous machines, with same sorting, temps and products? Then do the same routines.

F/L laundry is not all that different from T/L, nor is it magic.

Basic priniciples:

Many (but by no means all) "non-toxic" products don't clean very well. If the product wasn't working well before, it probably won't work any better in a Miele.

I haven't used Persil for years, but 3 scoops sounds like a lot. Have you tried using less? Is your water particularly hard (i.e. you live in Europe of Us mountains or desert?) Your water company can tell you if you have public water supply. Detergent build-up (or incomplete rinsing due to excess product) causes dingey results in every kind of washer, but particularly in F/L.

Before you make yourself crazy with options cover the basics:

Sort by color first; then by either soil level or toughness of fabric/fabric content/proposed wash treatment, whichever quality(s) impose most the extreme constraints.

For example white lacy underthings are separated from brown Carhardt work overalls (duh!), but they are further separated from white kitchen towels (sorting there based on proposed washing needs, not color). The brown canvas work pants are separated from the brown linen blouse (even though each can take serious heat in the wash) because the brown work pants are much dirtier than the blouse and so need a longer/rougher cycle than would be good for the blouse.

If you have to make compromises, for economy or efficiency, say white lacy underthings (which need gentle, medium temp wash, probably not very soiled) and a couple of white cotton shirts (could take higher heat and might have collar soil and a BBQ splotch) then wash at the temps and action for the underthings, but pretreat the extra soiled areas of the blouses. Priniciple: combining is OK, as long as the temps and cycle choice won't damage the most demanding items. Add pre-machine pretreatment for additional items to ensure cleaning of all in one load.

So in your example, if you must wash normal dark clothes with sweaty soil (presumably dark) clothes then pretreat/presoak the sweaty clothes first, then wash with similar colored clothing.

Machines can't wash different things differently in the same load, nor can any machine reliably remove stains that ought have been pretreated beforehand.

Your whites may have set-in stains, that nothing short of soaking Clorox will remove. Try further subdividing your whites into smaller categories that can take the most extreme heat and experiment with product and cycle combos.

What sorts of stains are you trying to get out? Old washed-in and dried-in blood: nothing removes that. Yellowing from deodorant and perspiration: sometimes that can be lessened using tough detergents and STPP. General collar and cuff grime-ness: detergents that remove fats and oils, along with STPP and a pretreater like Shout often works. Specific stains like ketchup, BBQ, grease, oil, all take pretreating before washing. General yellowing of whites is caused by using a detergent without optical brighteners (OBAS) which are flourescent dyes added to detergents to replace what is being washed out of the fabric. Many non-toxic detergents leave out OBAS. (I don't like them myself and choose a product without them, but am willing to put up with the results, your preferences may be different.) Almost all white and light colored fabrics sold in US today have OBA applied on the bolt. As clothes are washed (particualrly at hotter temps, longer periods and stiffer wash action), these OBA dyes are lost in the water. An OBA-carrying laundry product reapplies that to some extent. (It can also lead to blotchiness on much-older fabric that never had OBAs originally like old linen table cloths or sheets.)

I only use the extended wash on very soild items like cleaning cloths or work clothes.

I use hotter temps for many things than most people(regularly 190F for cotton and linen whites, for instance). I always consider risk for possible fabric shrinkage before using hot temps, though. Hot temps are hard on elastics (some), too. This primarily affects my choices in clothing and linen purchases, more than my laundry practices; I try not to buy what I can't wash the way I like.

I'd consider trying some different laundry products, too. I think it's better for the environment to get clothes clean in one go, rather than endless re-washing, so I'm not hung up on "non-toxic" definitions. I try to pretreat effectively to make sure I'm getting stains shifted before I put things in the wash. Clothes are expensive (and for a non-shopaholic like me, boring to acquire) so keeping them in good order saves money and fuss in the long run.

FWIW, I use regular (non-HE) Cheer powder as my regular detergent, and have for more than a decade. It has served me well in my F/Ls (Mieles and Askos). I tried dozens of detergents, but that was what worked best for me. It is hard to find locally, but Target still carries it. I keep a full selection of additives on hand: Charlie's All-purpose liquid, sodium percarbonate, Shout, Hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, acetone, grain alcohol, STPP, borax, Dawn grease-remover, Clorox, mineral spirits, Gunk-off, De-solv-it, dye remover, etc., plus I keep an assortment of special-purpose detergents: wool, silk, down, Perwol powder, Ivory soap powder and washing soda along a couple of the "sensitive products" in case I get a finicky guest. But I use Cheer powder day in and day out. It's relatively cheap, works well with my water and is quite effective, for me. (And non-stinky at the dosing rate I use, about 1 1/2 Tbs per load.) I use no fabric softener or rinse additive, at all.

If you can be more specific about your sorting habits and particular laundry challenges, I'd be glad to make additional sggestions

If you had clean clothes before, then you can easily have that again from similar products and routines. If you didn't have success before, you will have to consider changing products and routines to get there. Just changing machines isn't going to make that big a difference, though, for the majority of your laundry. What it does is give additional options for out-of-the-ordinary challenges.



    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:37PM
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lmrinc, a couple of things I should have mentioned in your other thread:

Clothing that's already dingy may not be cured after one wash. Might take repeated washes, or might be too far gone.

Note that the W4840's "Normal" cycle is crippled because it doesn't use the internal heater. I never use this cycle, I use "Custom" instead.

We have a pretty simple selection of washing products in our house. I use Sears Ultra Plus Free powder detergent, along with STPP (I have a septic tank so phosphates aren't an environmental concern). In some loads I use oxygen bleach (currently using Clorox 2). I always use the Extended option, and I never pretreat stains. The rest of my family uses the Sears powder alone. They pretreat stains with Shout, and don't use the Extended option.

My daughter recently complained that her black clothing gets faded. In response to her complaint, I bought some Vaska detergent with no OBA's, which she hasn't used yet. My gut feeling is that exclusive use of this product wouldn't be good for the machine, but occasional use should be fine.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Keeping whites white is really an exercise in keeping dingyness at bay. Sorting all whites and heavily soiled cloths out, and getting stains pre-treated will help. But eventually, we lose. :(

In terms of your cycles, the manual that came with mine beautifully explained when to use what. You may want to dig it out.

Shrinking happens in the dryer mostly but heat's the culprit. If the hot water is actually shrinking your clothes, move to very warm.

Sensative megap's contain an optical brightener. With the oxygen bleach, you've got it well covered.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 7:34PM
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More often than not, dingy whites are caused by insufficient use of detergent

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:49PM
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Liriodendron-Thnaks so much for your long and VERY useful post!

I have another very basic question... How do you know how much soap to use?

I've got a new Bosch Vision 500 and Persil Megaperl Universal and Persil Color Megaperls. I've been using what is recommended on the box for soft water, which is 60 ml for normally soiled clothes and soft water. However, I've seen comments on this forum that others cut it down to 1 tablespoon/ 15 ml or so.

How do I know what is enough versus too much?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:03AM
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Try washing a load with no soap. Check to see if there are suds. You might be surprised to see the residue of soap left in the clothes. It might be time to explore using less soap.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaner Brighter Whiter Laundry

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 9:39PM
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I tried this yesterday: I washed a half-full load of dishtowels using about 30 ml of Persil Megaperls for Colors in my big new Bosch. I have soft water, so the recommended amount on the box would be at least 65 ml. I reran the load, and there was no soap residue at all.

But the Megaperls never seems to suds, and it always smells strong, so it is hard to know if looking for suds is a valid test.

I guess the best thing for now is just to follow the instructions on the box...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 2:31PM
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