Laundry 101 FAQ’s

Everything you always wanted to know about laundry!

OK, you are out on you own and have now worn everything twice and people don’t want to sit next to you. Any fool can jam the stuff into a washer and then dry it but did it really get clean? Stop looking for that missing sock and sit down in your still smelly, (now) pink shirt, knickers (used to be pants) and read about the basics.

Machine types

Top load
This is a common type of washer in homes. The clothes are loaded into a vertical axis wash basket that has an agitator in the center. The agitator moves back and forth during the wash cycle to clean the clothes. At the end of the wash and rinse, the basket spins while the water is pumped out. A top-loading washer is filled almost to the top with water during each wash and rinse.

Front load
A front-loading washer has a basket, which is horizontal. The basket rotates slowly during the wash cycle, picking up the clothes and dropping them back into the water. Since there is no agitator, the basket holds more and the washing action is easier on fabric also. During the wash and rinse cycles only about 20% of the basket is filled with water. Because of this, even with additional rinse cycles, a front-loading washer uses less water. A typical front loading washer also has a much more powerful extract or spin cycle than a top loading washer. Because of this clothes will dry faster. Most front-loading washers use less energy, clean better, and are easier on the clothes than a top-loading machine.

Most dryers are tumble dryers that are heated by either gas or electricity. In the future there will probably be microwave dryers that will save a lot of energy. The clothes tumble in a horizontal axis basket while warm or hot air is drawn through. When the damp clothes have heated up enough, the water evaporates. The tumbling action also tends to soften the clothes.

Proper loading of washers
Check for debris or clothes from the last user. Check for stuck clothes by spinning the basket and feeling the areas that cannot be seen. Look for left over detergent and softener in the soap bins. Unused product may indicate a problem with the machine. Sort by color and fabric type if needed. Remember red plus white equals pink! Wash light colors separately. For top load washers, load the basket loosely to about the top of the agitator. Packing the washer too full restricts the items from moving and is also likely to prevent the spin cycle from being effective. Load front loading washers up to the top of the door opening. This may seem like a lot but when the load is wet it will settle and provide the proper clearance. Overloading a front load washer keeps the clothes from tumbling, which prevents proper cleaning. Under loading is not good for the machine as it causes an unbalanced condition during the extract cycle, which is hard on bearings and other parts of the machine.

Proper loading of dryers
Tumble dryers use a combination of heat and airflow to dry the clothes. Over loading a dryer restricts airflow and slows the drying process. For best results load the dryer between 1/3 and ½ full. If you are in a hurry, use more dryers and put less in each one. The cost is about the same since the clothes will dry faster. Removing clothes before they are bone dry and promptly hanging or folding helps to prevent wrinkles. This will also cut down on static cling in a lot of fabrics. Using the permanent press cycle also helps as it is a warm dry and usually has a cool down of 2 minutes or more at the very end of the cycle. High heat may shrink some fabrics.

Laundry chemicals
A standard “load” is 10 to 12 lbs of laundry. About ½ cup of detergent per “load” is a good starting point. Hard water may require more and soft water less. The quality of the detergent also comes into play. If you are using large machines, decrease the amount of detergent per “load” as larger machines typically used less water per “load”. For example, a 30 lb capacity front load washer uses the same amount of water and detergent as a 12 lb top load washer. For cold water washes, check the instructions on the box. Some powder detergents do not dissolve in cold water. Liquid detergents are a safer choice if in doubt about cold washes. Are you getting rashes? It is time to change brands! Different products have different additives and you may be reacting to one of them. Hypoallergenic products are available at a modest increase in cost. Bleach helps sterilize laundry and lighten some stains. Over time it may add a yellow cast to some fabrics. It is also hard on elastic. It will remove color from some fabrics also. Fabric softener can be added to the wash to provide a softer finish and help prevent static cling. They also make fire retardants less effective. Dryer sheets are added to the dryer to soften the clothes and help prevent static cling. They also make fire retardants less effective. Used dryer sheets can be used as dust rags, antistatic wipes, and a number of other uses.

Laundromat etiquette
Many people use a Laundromat each day. It can be more or less pleasant to use depending on how everyone behaves. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Children can be fussy if they get bored. If the facility does not provide some puzzles or toys, try bringing some along.
  • Leaving your clothes in the machines keeps other people from using the machines and provides the opportunity for your clothes to be stolen. Since Laundromat use is random you should never assume that it would be OK to leave “for a few minutes” as demand for the machines could go up while you are gone.
  • Carts are provided solely for moving laundry between work areas. Some owners allow carts to be taken to your car and others ask that they be kept in the building.
  • Playing with the carts can be dangerous and can cause damage to the equipment or facility. Many children are hurt each year when the cart they are riding in tips over.
  • You should make a reasonable attempt to clean up after yourself. You don’t want to deal with the previous customers mess either. Picking up your dryer sheets, wiping out the washer if you left a mess, or letting the attendant know if cleaning is needed all help make laundry a more pleasant task.
  • Cell phones are a common part of daily life now. If you have to use your phone please be aware of your surroundings. Loud conversation can be annoying to someone trying to read or watch the TV. Stepping a few feet away from other customers and facing away while talking will enhance your privacy and theirs.

When machines don’t work properly
Please notify the attendant or owner if a machine isn’t working properly. Leaving a note on the machine will help save the next person some time and trouble also. You are entitled to a refund and should ask the attendant or owner to reimburse you. If you damage equipment by using excessive force not only are you unlikely to get a refund, but also you may be held responsible for the damage.

Hard to launder items
Cold water and a gentle cycle are the safest choice for delicate and hard to launder items. Either fragile or heavy items may be damaged during a machine wash so hand washing should be considered.
Rubber backed rugs will lose their backing if washed in hot or sometimes in warm water. Wash in cold and dry on low. Cheap dyes are found in many imported items. If the item has contrasting colors, wash it in cold water to help reduce the bleeding between panels. Grease and oil stained clothes need to be washed in a stainless steel basket. Grease does not cling as much to stainless and is less likely to transfer to the next load. Consider dry cleaning for greasy items.


Great customer service, is ALWAYS clean!

Lots of washer and dryer sizes so I can do a wide variety of load sizes. Washed a very oversized comforter - reasonable price.
Carrie M

A wonderful place to do my laundry. The staff is very helpful and polite.
Michael G

Great job of cleaning my blazer and washing and pressing my shirt.
Charley A

Great place - clean and a very friendly and great staff. Sam is always a pleasure to see.
Humberto A

Great customer services every time. A thankful shout-out to the ever-helpful customer services expert, Jared.
Morgan J

Holiday Cleaners Inc.

1251 N. 3rd Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501