The insider secrets of the cleaning process, in how-to-do-laundry.

how-to-do-laundry the page on how it works.

Whatever cleaning job you wish to carry out, be it clothes, floors, car, carpets, windows, horse blankets, or bedding and towels, there are four factors involved for ALL these situations.

I will bring you all the facts and more, so that you will understand everything about your laundry process and laundry design choices in how-to-do-laundry and the many other relevant pages on this site.

I hope to show you how the relationship between chemical action, detergents, water, hot and cold, and time taken for the wash process, affects the final outcome of your wash process.

Why heavy soiling and foul laundry requires a different set of parameters to delicates and woollens. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people continue to use a delicates program for all their laundry.

And why a top loading washing machine cannot accommodate these requirements and will almost certainly damage your woollens and delicate fabrics.

All these four factors are used in the dishwashers as well, where the mechanical action is the water being pumped around the cabinet and driving the soiling off the crockery see my dishwasher page for more insider information at ……… Dishwashers an overview with all the different types of machine described

Mechanical Action the number one factor for cleaning in how-to-do-laundry

1 The First and most important in how-to-do-laundry is Mechanical Action, this could be physically brushing, beating, squeezing, to remove dirt particles from any desired surface or object.
Any physical method of removing dirt is mechanical action.

In a Front Loading automatic washing machine the mechanical action is created by the drum rotation. The paddles on the inside of the drum lifts the washing to the top of the drum from where it falls to the bottom of the drum with a thump.

This creates the squeezing action on the fabrics in the washing machine which removes the dirt and soiling from the fibres.

These particles and grease globules are then held in the wash water and detergent in solution, until the drain cycle.

If you were to observe your machine during its program, you would hear a thump as the washing falls to the bottom of the drum during the cottons wash.

This will be much less evident during a delicates or woollens wash where the mechanical action is reduced to just movement in the drum, with a high level of wash water and a diluted detergent mix.

Next time you have your washing machine on a cottons hot wash take a look inside the porthole to see how much of a squeezing action is taking place and how small the amount of suds in the, brings you the insider knowledge on everything Laundry & Dish-washing.

Time Factor, the length of any one process.

2 The second factor in how-to-do-laundry is Time, the longer you beat, sweep or squeeze, the cleaner the object.
In a modern washing machine “Time” is controlled by either a mechanical clock timer or a modern micro-processor, which can be updated with the latest programs at any future date, which also means you always have the latest machine.

In a cottons wash, the time taken to complete the main wash portion of the wash process is normally ten minutes after reaching the desired temperature chosen on your front panel temperature selector switch. How-to-do-laundry shows you the way.

Chemical Action the third factor for all cleaning problems in how-to-do-laundry.

3. Chemical Action is the third factor in how-to-do-laundry, this can be adding water, detergents, solvents etc.
As in most wash processes with water and detergent, bleach etc.

The chemical action in the modern washing machine removes the soiling and holds it in suspension until being drained out at the end of the wash and rinse cycles, so that it is not re-deposited back onto the fabric.

The modern fully built biological detergent has brighteners that are held in the wash water unused until the temperature goes over 60 degrees Celcius.

So if you use a lot of low temperature programs you may get a build up of unused detergent in the pipes and pump of your machine.

It is best to use a hot wash on a regular basis to clear out any unused detergents lurking in the bottom of your machine.

The temperature is the most important element in the disinfecting and killing any nasty pathogens that may be in the laundry.

This is most important when dealing with foul laundry in the nursery or in hospital and care operations.

There are now special sluice programs available on commercial machines to deal with this type of soiling so that everything that is washed is thermal-disinfected at a temperature of at least 65 degrees Celcius held for at least two minutes.

This provides the time to kill most known bacteria and viruses, but in certain circumstances a boil wash of at least 82°C held for ten minutes is required, Hepatitis A & C for example.

This is a specialist subject and the rules differ depending on where in the world you are. how-to-do-laundry shows the way.

Temperature the final factor for the cleaning process in how-to-do-laundry.

4 Temperature is the final and in some circumstances the most important factor in how to do laundry,
but they are all dependent on each other.

Where grease or wax soils are concerned a high temperature will be needed to dissolve them so that they can be held in the detergent solution.

Think of the steam cleaner for degreasing kitchens and kitchen equipment or engines.

High temperatures are required in all medical and care based cleaning operations to kill pathogens and bacteria.

In clothing, bedding, dressings, instruments, crockery etc., high temperatures will be the order of the day.

All these four factors in the cleaning process can be represented in a diagrammatic form, which we call the “Sinners Vector Diagram”.

See below.

The length of the line indicates the amount of any one factor in the cleaning process. And if you need to reduce any one factor and end up with the same cleaning power you will have to increase one or all of the others to compensate for the reduction.

Always check your laundry wash care labels, for extra guidance on how-to-do-laundry wash care labels go to Wash Care Labels and Symbols a Quick Guide

Henry the Happy Hippo shows you the Four Factors of the cleaning process at bath time, in how-to-do-laundry.


As you can see Henry is demonstrating all Four of the Factors of the cleaning process, involved in his bath time ritual.
The Brush is the Mechanical Action, the Water and Soap are the Chemical Action, the Temperature is the the hot African Sun heating his pool. And finally the Time is how long Henry the Happy Hippo spends doing his ablutions.

If you would like to just check what the wash care labels on your garments mean before continuing with the laundry and cleaning process click the link to ….. Wash Care Labels a Quick Guide Then come back soon to continue with the Sinners Diagram which will help you understand the four factors on how the cleaning process works.

The Sinners Diagram shows how for a hot cottons wash for heavy soiling all lines are of maximum length.


Cottons, Boil Wash or Heavily Soiled Washing

If we think of the wash program for Cottons or heavily soiled, robust fabrics, we will require Maximum Mechanical Action, with the strongest Chemical solution, for the longest Time, at the Highest Temperature, say a boil wash for cottons.

All four factors at maximum setting on your washing machine.

All the lines in the Sinners Diagram will be the longest or at their maximum.

This wash may be incorporated into a boil wash for thermal disinfecting foul laundry. More on this later.