To use a washing machine, divide clothing by color and material, then select a temperature and wash cycle appropriate for the clothing category. Pour in an appropriate amount of laundry detergent, and load clothing. Close the lid of the machine, and activate it.
- Divide the clothing
Different types of clothing require different washing conditions. Divide the clothing into light colors, dark colors, whites and delicates. When you are uncertain, use the predominant features of the item to make the decision. Dark clothing can ruin the coloration of light clothing. White clothing can be cleaned at a higher temperature on a rougher cycle, while delicate clothing requires a lower temperature and a gentler cycle to avoid ruining it. Denim clothing and linens can be cleaned in similar conditions to white clothing.
- Put detergent into the washing machine
Measure out the amount of detergent recommended for the coloration, dirtiness and amount of clothing you are washing. Pour this into the detergent holder. For very dirty clothing, add detergent to the prewash section as well. When cleaning whites, you can substitute or add chlorine bleach. Be careful to avoid bleaching denim, if you choose to wash it with your whites instead of separately.
- Load the clothing
Loosely load the clothing into the washer. The clothing should have space to move from side to side as well as top to bottom.
- Select the temperature settings
Find the dial connected to the wash and rinse cycles. Use warm for darks and lights. Hot should be used for whites, denims and linens. Cold should be used for delicates. If there are numerical inputs, use below 68 degrees Fahrenheit as cold water, 86 to 122 degrees for warm and 140 to 194 degrees for hot. There is also an agitation dial. Select normal for lights and darks, whites for white clothing, denim and linens and delicates for delicate clothing. You can also use permanent press for clothing that cannot be ironed.
- Start the machine
Once you have selected the temperature and agitation, activate the washer. For some machines, there is a separate button. For others, the agitation selection dial must be pushed in to select agitation and pulled out to start the machine.