What is easiest to wash

Washing properly - the basics of washing clothes

30, 40, 60 or 95 degrees? White, colored or delicates? Gentle program, energy-saving mode, pre-wash? What mom (and more and more often dad as well) takes so naturally by hand, often puzzles the first steps in your own household. Here you can find out how to get your laundry really clean, avoid discoloration and other problems and save energy on top of that.

Prepare laundry properly for the wash cycle

Before you just put everything in the washing machine and hit start, the first step should be your Sort the laundry first. Because some items of clothing can withstand higher temperatures than others, some colored items can discolour whites, and there may be differences in the degree of soiling. Sort your laundry according to the following criteria:

Textile type

First separate “normal”, robust textiles such as bed linen, T-shirts, cotton trousers and underwear from sensitive items such as wool, silk or synthetic blouses. Information on the respective material compositions can be found on the washing label on the garment.

The symbol on the left shows: This garment should be washed at a maximum of 40 degrees in the “Easy care” program.

Washing temperature

Then sort the two groups according to the temperature at which the laundry items are to be washed. The label on or in the item of laundry shows you what temperature that is. A stylized bowl of water with the corresponding number of degrees can be seen on it, usually the symbol on the far left.


To keep white laundry white, separate it from colored clothing. Since black and red textiles often rub off, it is best to wash such items together with items that are as similarly colored as possible. To be on the safe side, you should wash clothes that are particularly color-intensive on your own the first time.

Before washing, check that the pockets are all Garments empty are. You should use printed T-shirts, items of clothing with applications - for example rhinestones or sequins - or a fluffy surface, as well as jeans and jackets "Turn to the left", i.e. turn the inside out. This protects the colors and the decor. Also, you should all Close zips, eyelets or buttons, so that the other items of laundry in the drum are not damaged.

If you put textiles of a similar color into the drum together, your laundry is safe from unwanted discoloration.

Choose the right detergent

There are different detergents, depending on the type of textile. You can find out which of the products is suitable for which fabrics and textiles here:

  • Heavy duty detergent is suitable for sturdy and normal white laundry. For example, bed linen, cotton underwear, cotton sweaters or towels. It contains bleach, which can cause colors to fade at high washing temperatures.
  • Color detergent is suitable for color protection on colored clothing such as colored jeans or T-shirts.
  • Mild detergent is suitable for delicate items of clothing made of silk, linen, synthetic or thin cotton such as blouses, fabric jackets or textiles with natural colors.
  • Wool detergent is suitable for items of clothing made from 100% wool or containing wool.
  • Functional underwear such as thermal underwear often requires a special detergent that, for example, maintains the impermeability to water. You can find out more about this from the manufacturer.

You will find dosage instructions on the packaging for every detergent. As a rule, it is sufficient to use the specified amount for slightly dirty to choose, provided that the clothes are not really dirty, but only worn and slightly sweaty. The hardness of your water is also important for the dosage, which you can find out from your water supplier or determine yourself with a free test strip.

You can find more information about the hardness of the water in an information box at the advisor
Dishwasher detergents: tabs or powder?

Wash laundry at the right temperature

4 tips for energy-saving washing

  • Heating the water is the number one energy guzzler. Therefore, wash at the lowest possible temperature. Today's detergents usually clean the laundry at 30 or 40 degrees.
  • The shorter the washing program, the higher the heating output - and thus the energy consumption. Therefore, choose one if possible Austerity program, that washes slower, but cheaper and on top of that more thoroughly.
  • Turn that on Prewash program only for very heavily soiled laundry added.
  • Wait till you get the Can fill the drum to the maximum, so that the wash cycle is also worthwhile. Even if your machine has an automatic quantity control. Although this adjusts energy and water consumption, you still use a comparatively large amount of electricity for little laundry.

Basically, the following applies: The temperature information on the label shows at how many degrees the respective item of clothing maximum washed in order not to shrink, i.e. to become smaller, or to preserve color and structure. For one energy-saving laundry you can also choose a temperature level lower, around 30 instead of 40 degrees or 40 instead of 60 degrees, which is usually sufficient for cleaning. If individual items of laundry are heavily soiled, you can choose the maximum temperature or items of the same type of fabric and a similar color collect and wash separately and also switch on a prewash program.

The Whites, So a wash cycle at 95 degrees is usually no longer necessary with modern detergents. At most, after a contagious disease or if it is very dirty, bed linen, towels or underwear should be washed at 95 degrees.

Around every tenth wash should be washed at at least 60 degrees. If you don't have a 60-degree wash to clean, let the machine run through once without any laundry. Because be at this temperature Microorganisms killed, which could otherwise collect in the drum of your washing machine and give off a smelly odor.

Modern washing machines offer the right program for every type of textile and every temperature.

Choose the right washing machine program

Almost all modern washing machines offer different programs for optimal cleaning, which at the same time should preserve the textiles in the best possible way. You can find individual information in the manual for your washing machine, but the following programs are usually available:

Standard washing machine programs

The program for everyday laundry is often called Whites / coloreds or Cotton and can be selected from 30 to 95 degrees. It is suitable for the “Normal”, robust garments such as bed linen, T-shirts, cotton trousers and underwear. You can safely load the machine fully. It is best if you You can still stretch your hand upright between the laundry and the top edge of the drum.

Where do the socks go?

Probably everyone has missed one or the other sock after the wash and was just standing there with a loner. What's behind it?

While some already see supernatural forces at work, there is for the phenomenon a simple explanation: In the case of overloaded machines, the socks may be pushed over the rubber lip on the edge of the drum by the spinning movements and the pressure of the rest of the laundry and wander into the interior of the machine. Here they wrap around the heating element and dissolve over time.

You can prevent this sock shrinkage by not overloading the machine and also by knotting the socks in pairs, tucking them in a laundry net or pillowcase or using a special sock clip.

Easy care

The program for delicate clothing, the one too Mild detergent need is called Easy care. You can recognize these textiles on the label by the fact that there is a horizontal line next to the temperature symbol under the water basin. With this gentle cycle, you should reduce the amount of laundry and the Fill the drum only about halfway, so that all items of clothing have enough space.


These special programs for particularly sensitive textiles are often specifically designed for Wool, silk or Lingerie. They only run at 30 or 40 degrees. The corresponding textiles have two horizontal lines under the temperature symbol on the label. You should use the Fill the drum only about a quarter full.

Hand wash

Some textiles show a hand on the label next to the water bowl symbol instead of a temperature display. Does your washing machine offer a program like Hand wash or Wool, you can also machine wash these fabrics. You should only fill the drum about a fifth full.

The Spin program is usually adapted accordingly by the programs. With an individual setting, make sure that delicate fabrics are only spun at a low speed of 600–800 or - even better - not at all.

Treatment of laundry after the wash cycle

After the wash cycle is over, you should do the laundry if possible remove quickly, otherwise it will wrinkle and start to smell. If you accidentally left your laundry in the machine for a longer period of time or if you were out and about, check whether it still smells fresh. If the worst comes to the worst, you can clean the laundry again in a short wash cycle.

Before hanging, you should light the garments pull into shape and smooth down. It is best to leave the door of the washing machine open so that the residual moisture can escape from the drum.

As soon as the laundry is dried and ironed if necessary, you have already successfully completed your first wash and present yourself to your parents, friends and the world in fresh, clean clothes.

Disclaimer OTTO (GmbH & Co KG) assumes no liability for the correctness, topicality, completeness, effectiveness and harmlessness of the information and recommendations made available on updated.de. It is expressly pointed out that the official manufacturer's specifications are to be observed with priority over all other information and recommendations and only these can guarantee a safe and proper use of the respective purchase items.

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