Long ago, mom explained the laundry basics. However, with an expanding wardrobe, new laundry cycles, and conflicting fabric advice from your mother-in-law, your head may be spinning faster than your wash cycle.

To help you get the most out of your laundry rooms — and your clothes — we offer the following tips:

Choose the Correct Temperature for the Color

Hot water is best to keep white loads bright, while you should set the washer to warm for a load of colors. To help prevent dark fabrics from fading, use the cold water cycle.

Select the Appropriate Additives

Base your additive (such as bleach or fabric softener) selection on your detergent. If you use power detergent, add a power additive. Liquid additives should be used with liquid detergent.

Utilize the Tools and Features on Your Washing Machine

To save time in the laundry room, adjust your washing machine according to the soil level and size of the load. For increased water efficiency, high efficiency machines have sensors that regulate the amount of water based on the load size.

Find the Appropriate Treatment for Stains

To ensure proper stain removal, first test a treatment. Apply the product and let it stand 2-5 minutes, then rinse. If the color changes, do not use that particular treatment. Always test on an inside seam or other hidden part of the garment.