Welcome to the Mac-Gray laundry forum! I am Steve Boorstein, The Clothing Doctor. I will be your clothing care expert. I spent 20 years in the high-end drycleaning business, but I've also written four books on laundry and hosted two DVDs on clothing care, so I know about dirty laundry! Write me about caring for everything made from fabric; washing, cleaning, stain removal and storage.
Before I begin answering questions, let's get a few facts straight:
Before you treat a stain, make sure you know if it's watery or oily!
Know a few first aid hints:
Answer: Hi Amelia,
Yes, the woolen cycle uses cold water and will work as an alternative to the gentle cycle. However, if you have ground-in stains or specific soil, then consider pre-treating the area before washing.
Steve The Clothing Doctor
Answer: Thank you for your question. It is true that cold water cycles are much more environmentally-friendly than traditional hot water or warm water cycles. This is because most of the energy exerted by your washer (70 90% depending on washer type) is dedicated to heating the water. Cold water cycles effectively clean normally soiled clothing when used properly. Laundry detergent disperses more slowly in cold water, so its best to avoid powder detergent, and if possible select detergent specially formulated for cold water washing. In some cases, cold water cycles can be even more effective at cleaning clothes than hot water cycles since certain stains are actually lifted more easily when treated with cold water. For example, cold water assists in removing protein stains like blood or egg, but hot water is likely to set this stain in the clothing. If you have any stains, especially oil-based stains, it is always best to pre-treat it before washing it in cold water just to be safe. Remember that many organic oil stains (food oils) are more difficult to remove than machine oils, and may require dry cleaning or very hot wash water.
Finally, you bring up the important point of water temperature. Water temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit are not as effective at cleaning clothing. Generally-accepted cold water guidelines vary, but as long as you take the appropriate steps for your cold water wash, your clothing should be effectively cleaned at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Be aware that wash temperatures vary with the seasons (water temperatures can hit the 30s in winter), so you may need to consider using a warm cycle if you live in a very cold climate. In warmer parts of the country, this isnt typically an issue.
Answer: Hi Joanne, thanks for writing! This is a loaded question, but it really depends on the fabric, the type of dyes your comfort zone and whether you are talking about "black and navy" as dark items. I assume you want dry dark and white together to save time? In most cases, a dark pair of blue jeans can be dried with lighter colors, but if the jeans are Indigo dyed like many of the 7 for All Mankind you may still have some dye bleeding or "rubbing" occurring during the drying cycle. I dry "darks and lights" together all the time, but rarely WHITE and dark. However, if you still want to do this, then rub a white cloth against the dark items before putting in the dryer. If dark dye comes off on the white towel, then it may be risky. By the way. we now sell a a product called Dye-Lock that "seals" dyes in the washer, so reds don't bleed onto white, etc. You can get this on www.clothingdoctor.com if you are interested.
Steve Boorstein - The Clothing Doctor
Answer: Hi Laura,
Thank you so much for your question!
To start, you are correct that most clothing would benefit from being washed in a cold water cycle. Not only does cold water clean just as effectively as warmer water - it preserves colors and fabrics as well. And, it's green! Since up to 70% of the energy exerted by the washer is used to heat the water, choosing cold water cycles saves energy and our planet!
To answer your question: the cycle options on different washing machines vary slightly - but the cycle settings on our newest High-Efficiency Front-Load Maytag machines are as follows:
Whites - Hot - Medium Speed
Colors - Warm - Medium Speed
Bright Colors - Cold - Fast Speed
Delicates & Knits - Warm - Slow Speed
Perm. Press - Warm - Medium Speed
Quick Wash - Warm - Medium Speed
Depending on the type of clothing and the amount of colors, you should choose between the Bright Colors and Delicates & Knits cycle. And remember: extremely soiled clothing may need a hotter cycle to clean completely.
Answer: Hi Lisa,
Thank you for your question!
A warm water wash is typically 85-105 degrees Fahrenheit. (30-40 Celsius)
A hot water wash is typically 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Approximately 50 Celsius)
A cold water wash is typically 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. (20-25 Celsius)
In winter months, in regions where it tends to get colder, these temperatures may drop slightly, so please keep that in mind when choosing your wash cycles.
Answer: Hi Mandi, unless the shirts are 100% cotton, and have not been stabilized, then they should not be shrinking from cold water and low heat. However, I need to know where they are shrinking; collar/neck, girth (around the body), sleeves ... or all? Are the shirts a poly blend or 100% cotton. Are other shirts shrinking, too?
Best, Steve The Clothing Doctor
Answer: Abigail, I will be somewhat surprised if the oil comes out in the wash, but I would pretreat and then wash as hot as the label allows. Good for you for remembering to air dry ALL stained items. If it doesn't come out, or looks blotchy after air drying, then I'd take them to the drycleaners!
Good luck, The Clothing Doctor
Answer: Shannon, warm warm water may contribute to shrinkage, but hi-speed extraction usually "beats up" clothing over time. I would go with the gentle spin and warm. If there's something more delicate then spin and then air dry the rest of the way if you can. You can also buy some mesh wash nets at www.clothingdoctor.com to reduce the wear on clothing.
Best The Clothing Doctor
Answer: Natalie, It's tough to know the answer to this without seeing and inspecting the outfit, but I can tell you that heat from drying could, over time, affect the elastic and lycra and stretch memory. However, if the outfit cannot be altered, and you won't wear it unless it shrinks, I would try tumbling it on a low temperature to see if it helps. If it does help, then do it again, and maybe increase the heat a bit. It's always best to take it slowly, one step at a time.
Best - The Clothing Doctor
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