When it comes to getting clothes clean, stain removal is often a separate issue and must be dealt with individually, depending on the type of stain involved. But what part – if any – does the washing machine itself play in this little stain-fighting drama?
Technically washing machines are designed to wash clothes. Removing specific stains is not necessarily in the washing machine’s job description. Still, there are some ways in which a washing machine can help with stain removal.
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Stain Removal Secret: Pre-Soak
Probably one of the best ways most washing machines can help with stain removal is through the pre-soak settings. Most machines allow clothes to pre-soak prior to the actual wash at different temperatures and with different amounts of agitation – or even with no agitation at all.
Don’t Over-Load a Machine
Do not put more clothes into a machine than the machine is designed to handle. It can be tempting to reduce the number of loads by putting more clothes into a machine than the machine was actually design for, but doing that may reduce the ability of the machine to get all of the clothes clean — or to remove stains.
Don’t Let Stains “Set”
Wash stains as soon as possible. Stains which have had time to sit and dry are generally more difficult for any machine to remove.
Understand the Nature of Each Type of Stain
Use the proper temperature setting. Clothes that are stained may require a hot setting or even a cold setting, depending on what kind of stain one is dealing with. It isn’t the machine’s fault if the wrong temperature setting is used to remove a specific type of stain.
Understanding the different types of stains and knowing what temperature setting and what agitation speed is best for removing a particular stain, can really help any machine do the best possible job of stain removal.
For example, organic stains, such as ice cream, should be agitated in cold water before the main wash. A cold water soak with agitation should loosen the organics and allow the machine to remove the stains more completely.
Fruit juices, on the other hand, are a dye stain and require vigorous agitation (without soap) on the hottest setting the machine has.
Use the longest agitate time. If a machine allows for different lengths of time for the agitate cycle, then set it for the longest cycle to allow the machine more time to work on the stain.
Don’t Toss Stained Clothes Into the Dryer
Always check clothes for residual stains before putting them into the dryer. If a stain is still visible on wet clothes that have just been taken out of the washing machine, soak the items a second time and wash a second time before putting the clothes into the dryer. Once a stain is subjected to the heat of a dryer, that stain may become permanently imbedded in the fabric.
Keep in mind, however, that no washing machine may be able to get out all stains from all fabrics all by itself. Any machine may need the help of a stain-fighting pre-soak or an enzyme stain-fighter.
Doing laundry is not as simple as just tossing clothes into the washing machine, adding detergent and hoping for the best. To fight stains one must know stains. That means knowing not only what types of stains oen is dealing with, but what the proper temperature and agitation speed is best
for getting rid of any particular stain.