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Doing laundry is an unavoidable activity in any household. Clothes have to be worn, and they are bound to get dirty at some point. Now, heavily soiled clothes can be a menace, and they may need a little soaking.
So, for how long should you soak clothes in the detergent before actual washing? Usually, most laundry detergents have specific instructions regarding how long to soak in the absence of this, you may want to consider the quality of detergent and how soiled the fabric is. Generally, you can soak clothes for at least 15 minutes, and at most 60 minutes.
In this article, we look at how to soak clothes, doing laundry the proper way, helpful laundry tips, and other related questions. Keep reading to learn more.
How to Soak Clothes
No matter what efforts we put into place to remain cleans some stains on our clothes are inevitable. You can accidentally spill a drink on your dress. As your husband changes the tire, he can spread some mud on his shirt. Kids are always staining their clothes all the time by spilling food on them or even by rolling in the grass.
Whatever your case is, you must get rid of the stains. Soaking is the best way to loosen up this kind of dirt so that the stain can come out easily.
Considerations before Soaking
First, find out the if the cloth is color-fast. This is the kind that you can soak and it won’t lose it color or fade. Similarly, certain fabric types never do well when soaked. Such include wool, silk, leather or any piece with the label flame resistant. Also, items with metal fasteners or zipper will not soak well.
Soaking In a Basin
- Put water in a basin or container. The water should be at least ¾ full so that when you add the clothes, they will be submerged in it. Ensure the water is of the right temperature, not too hot. Check the care label for the right water temperature.
- Add your detergent to the water in the right dosage. Ensure it is completely dissolved. You can make it dissolve faster by using your hand.
- Now you can put in the clothes. Check to ensure the clothes are evenly spread in the water without being crunched up. You want to ensure that each part of the fabric can touch water.
- Note that whites and coloreds should be soaked in different buckets/basins.
- Let the clothes soak for at least 15 minutes, but if overly soiled, you can soak them for up to an hour.
Soaking In the Washer
If you plan to wash your clothes in the washing machine, you do not have to soak them in a basin. You could simply let the soak in the washer.
For a top loading machine, it is easier to soak since you will just fill it with water, add the detergent, and let it dissolve, then add the clothes and leave them still without start the machine. Some top loaders also have a presoak function, which you can use it for soaking purposes.
For a front/side loading washer, check the pre-soak function on the settings.
Once the clothes have soaked for the preferred amount of time, you can simply start the machine and let the cycle run normally as you usually wash the clothes.
Helpful Laundry Tips
The following tips can help ease your laundry work.
- If you are using a top-loading machine, always let it fill with water, then add detergent, then clothes in that order. This helps the detergent to dissolve properly, and the clothes will rinse out better.
- If you forget your already washed clothes in the dryer, they might emit an unpleasant smell. You can get rid of this smell by running the cycle again, but this time adding some baking soda alongside your usual detergent.
- Pre-soaking helps get the clothes cleaner by loosening the dirt, such that it easily comes out when washing.
- Ensure that you always sort your clothes before tossing them into the washer. The whites should not be mixed with the coloreds. Similarly, laced bras and innerwear should be put in a mesh bag before putting them in the washer.
- Always read the care labels to know the right temperature of water to use. You do not want to use hot water when the care label clearly says to use moderately warm or cool water. You may end up damaging the fabric of your clothes.
Does soaking clean the clothes?
When you soak clothes, you loosen up dirt and even help dissolve fatty stains. When it comes to actual washing, it will be easier as you will use minimum force and the dirt will come out. So that means soaking will get the clothes clan but you will still do the actual washing to get it completely cleaned up.
How can you prevent detergent stains?
Detergent stains come up because of the detergent not having been dissolved completely by the time you are adding clothes. So, it’s simple; let the detergent dissolve first.
If your washer has a detergent drawer, use it. If not, always add the detergent to the water and let it dissolve before adding the clothes. For powder detergent, you can even go an extra mile of dissolving it in water on the side before putting it in the machine for the cycle. But generally, do not use excess detergent.