Just when you thought you had a day off work, there they are the last few weeks of laundry. For a typical Canadian household, this could mean doing laundry for 3 to 4 people. If you have fewer people in your home, well at least your laundry day is less daunting. However, for most laundry is one of those necessary and tedious chores.
So let’s try to put this in perspective. For most of us in North America, we have the benefit of a decent washer. In many cases, it is a high-efficiency washer, so a little bit of history and acknowledgment of the efficiencies we enjoy as a society is in order. Also, how do we maintain this way of life by proper maintenance?
Is Doing Laundry That Bad?
For most of human history, the idea of a self-contained machine doing the laundry was non-existent. To be clear, even today in various parts of the world, washing in the river or by hand and washboard is still a way of life. A typical laundry day would look something like the following:
For most third world peoples, laundry day is first a long walk to the river with baskets of clothes holding in their hands because the river is maybe 4 miles away. Then they have to soak the clothes in the river. Scrub each article by hand, hopefully with a washboard. If they don't own a washboard, some have to wring out the clothes and rub them on a rock. Rubbing against the rock, of course, tends to wear out the fabrics prematurely. Over time, their clothes lose their material integrity resulting in premature holes. After this long grueling day in the hot sun, it is another long walk back, with wet clothes to hang them up on a village line.
Of course, things progressed over here, in North America. Our parents and grandparents had the washboards as well, but then the revolutionary washing and drying machine came out. You know the one with the rollers! WOW! Laundry day became much easier! Just ring them out after washing in the tub and hang on the clothesline, either outside or in the basement!
We are not reminding you of what other people have or do go through just to do laundry to make you feel bad. Not at all! We are just suggesting that you look at laundry day in light of the privilege you have to be in Canada or North America and have at your disposal the conveniences of modernity. You have a washer and a dryer. Enjoy!
Care for Your Washer
To make sure that you continuously benefit from the modern laundry technology, the care of your washing machine is vital. Some dreadful things like a broken water hose or fixture could create a tremendous flooding that not only ruins your day, and it can potentially damage the structure of your home. Just when you are ready for your laundry day, your machine does not work for some reasons! Now, what?
Here are some routine maintenance tips that can be a real laundry day saver:
• Your hoses and inlet valves - Inspect these maybe once a quarter. Look for cracks in the hose. Make sure that the valve operates correctly and can in fact shut off the water.
• Flood control – Consider the purchase of a water shut-off system that can be easily installed. It can stop the flow when a water flow malfunction is detected. Some washers have an overflow pan to prevent floor damage due to small leaks. Inspect this pan. It can tell you of a potential larger leak.
• Load correctly – Use the manufacturer’s owner’s recommendation on load size. Consistently overloading the machine will create off-balance and premature of parts wearing out.
• Levelling – Keep your machine level and as close to the floor as possible. A machine that rumbles the floor with vibration is not normal. An unbalanced machine will also create wear and tear on parts.
• Detergent – Use the proper amount of detergent that is designed for your machine. Do not use an excessive amount of detergent.
• Keep it clean – On a monthly basis clean out the soap and fabric dispensers, the inside of the machine and remove any spilled liquids on the outside of the machine. Consider using cleaning products designed for cleaning washing machines and removal of soap residue.
• Clean the area – The area around your machine should be kept clean and free of dirt, lint, and debris. During your monthly hose inspection, pulling out the washer and dryer and cleaning the floor underneath is a good idea.
• Call in the Pro’s – At Hillcrest Plumbing, should you have any concerns about the plumbing to and from your machine, please contact us. We are there to make sure you do not have a failure that could cause a flood problem.
Also, if you think it is time to replace your old washing machine, consider the front-load machines instead of the top load machines. They tend to be more expensive, but it is worth it over time because the front load machines have more efficient water usage, better spin cycles, and use of high concentrated detergents in these machines.
So what can you do to make the laundry day even better than you already have it? Well, here are some habits that you can do leading up to that day to make sure you maximize efficiencies. The goal would be to minimize the little details to breeze through this day!
• Pre-sort – The use of more than one basket for dirty clothes. Have you considered that having a basket for whites and another one for darks would be an excellent pre-sort tool? On a daily basis, just put each article of clothing in the proper basket as you take them off. You could even have a separate basket for darks and delicate clothing. This habit will eliminate this pre-sorting hassle come laundry day.
• Extend the time – Proper clothing wearing management can minimize the frequency of the days in the month considered laundry day. Is the shirt or the pants or the dress that you wore today actually dirty? Can you hang up what you wore today, air it out and wear it again> Giving this a 30-second thought on a daily basis will help on washing fewer clothes each month. It will also extend the life of your clothes by less washing. Proper clothing wearing management can also mean arranging your drawers and your closets for clothing rotation. You may find clothing that looks perfectly great on you, but you forget about them because they are deep in your drawers.
• Immediate stain removal – Remove stains immediately by using that handy portable stain remover such as the Tide to Go Pen. Use even the pre-wash stain remover on it as soon as possible. Do not forget that certain household products such as lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and even club soda will work to remove that stain.
• Understand your options - It would make sense since your washer came with different machine wash cycle possibilities, there is a reason for it. Best to familiarize yourself with the cycles. Make sure you know which temperature and cycle are the best for the load you are about to wash. A simple chart, conveniently hung on the wall close to your washer will help remind you.
• Less is more – Today's efficient washing appliances can save you a lot of money over time because of the use of detergent. It would be just fine even if you used less than what the manufacturer recommends.
• Other chores – How well did you plan your day? Have you considered that since you have to be home anyway, what other dreaded tasks can you work into the day while your washer is doing its cycle thing? How about getting the bathroom cleaned during the “wash, rinse and repeat cycle.” How about a quick kitchen floor mopping? If you manage your chores and work them into your laundry day, well that leaves other days for enjoying other quality of life activities.
Always Be Grateful!
What other things can you do to turn a potentially mundane laundry day into an exciting one? Well, there are some excellent principles to live by. First is always to be delighted that you are you! Yes, that is correct! Start with being blissfully excited that you get to live life, experience life and that you are happy about being you! Second is always be grateful. We started out discussing that laundry day was or could be a real chore depending on where and when you lived. Now here you are, in North America with access to some of the most amazing technology devices. Your washing machine is one of them. Just be thankful for that this fantastic appliance is in your possession. It will make a world of difference.
All of us at Hillcrest Plumbing trust that you enjoyed this article, that it was helpful and useful. Have a great laundry day in every way!