The first step in washing clothes is, of course, to separate dark-colored fabrics from the white or light-colored fabrics. But beyond the sorting, do colored or dyed fabrics need special care different from light-colored ones? How do commercial laundry services in Singapore keep the fabrics in good condition?
Separate the Dark and Light Colors
Don’t lump dark colors with light colors together. Some dyed fabrics can bleed and will stain lighter-colored clothes. Separate the blue, black, purple and brown colors from red, orange, yellow, and green. The bright colors can be washed separately from the dark colors. Most uniform laundry use fabrics that don’t bleed, so you can mix them with colors of less intensity.
Check the Care Instructions
Like all clothes, colored clothing also have labels on how to wash, dry and iron them properly. You will find the labels on the wrong side of the clothes usually near the collar, on the sides or near the waistband. Most dyed fabric should not be bleached. If you need to bleach the item, make sure to use a colorsafe product made for colored fabrics.
Check the Type of Fabric
Separate clothes that should be hand-washed or dry-cleaned only. For linens and upholstery, some fabrics can only be steam-cleaned or spot-cleaned. Depending on the type of fabric used, most clothes can be washed in the washing machine if you do not wish to find a laundry service in Singapore using the cold setting. Take dry-clean only fabrics to the nearest commercial laundry services shop near you.
Check the Clothes for Stains
Before turning the clothes inside out, check for stains that need to be spot-treated. If you’re using a washer, the stains might not come off. Laundry service also does this for you. Stubborn stains are usually rubbed away with a liquid detergent. There are also some products made for that specific purpose. Even when the item is a dry-clean only clothing, commercial laundry services will still pre-treat the stain with detergent and a small amount of water.
Some laundry service personnel might perform a color-quickness test on new clothes. The garment is turned inside-out then a small inconspicuous area is rubbed with detergent and water to see if the color bleeds. You can do this at home not just on clothes but also on linens and upholstery covers that can be machine-washed. Even colored towels need to be tested before towel washing.
Using the Washer
You should always opt for the lowest heat setting and the shortest wash cycle in your washer regardless of the machine wash instructions on the label. Pick laundry detergents suitable for colored clothes. Laundry service in Singapore recommends cold water when machine-washing colored clothes. Cold water will keep the colors brilliant for a long time especially when the clothing is still new. Remove the colored clothes right away when the cycle is done so that the bleeding dyes will not set on other clothes and leave permanent stains.
Separating clothes for dry-cleaning goes through the same process as when you’re machine-washing clothes. The difference is in the cleaning agent used. Only a small amount of detergent and water is used for dry-clean only colored clothes. A dry cleaning agent is used instead. Colored clothes that bleed have small chances of staining other clothes in the dry-cleaner than in the washing machine.
Not all commercial laundry services in Singapore would recommend steam-cleaning clothes. Hot water sets the stains and quickens dye transfer. Steam-cleaning, however, might be useful for colored linens and upholstery that are difficult to dry.
Some fabrics cannot be cleaned using water-based or solvent-based cleaners. Spot cleaning might be the only option for delicate colored fabrics, such as a Spandex-polyester mix. A damp cloth is used to treat the stains on the fabric.
Linens are often dirtier than clothes because they are used differently. If the fabric can be machine-washed, separate the lightly soiled linen from heavily soiled ones so that you can wash the latter in a longer cycle than the former. Remember that colored fabrics should not be soaked in water for prolonged periods so as to avoid fading.
Colored uniform laundry should be treated the same way as your other clothes. Most uniforms are made from light, durable materials because it’s expected that they will be worn almost everyday. Some special uniforms, however, are made from heavy and colored fabrics that need special attention. Use cold water and mild detergent for uniforms. Avoid frequently bleaching the uniforms to prolong their usage. Use the mildest temperature setting on the dryer or air-dry uniform laundry, but don’t expose them to the direct heat of the sun.
Towel washing should be done at least once a week. But to make them last you need to observe the following practices: towel washing is done separately from clothes, linens and others; separate light colors from dark colors; do not use softeners, bleach or color-brighteners on towels; do not over-dry to avoid wearing down the fibers; wash in hot water, but don’t dry using the hot temperature setting. Towels generally don’t need ironing.
Drying Colored Clothes
Some would advise against using the machine dryer to dry colored clothes because that would cause the color to fade faster. If you have missed stains while washing, machine-drying can set themand therefore them even more difficult to remove. If there is enough space in your apartment, air-dry clothes away from the direct heat of the sunlight. If not, use the lowest or the no-heat setting on the dryer.
Ironing Colored Clothes
Iron colored clothes according to the instructions on the label. Turn the clothes inside out and never leave the iron on the same spot for a long time to avoid burning the fabric. Start with the collar, then the sleeves or cuffs, and finally the front halves. For colored pants, trousers, shorts or skirts, begin at the waistband and move down gradually. Take note of the natural creases on the clothes.