Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ken Cowdery's Laundry Tips (No Bourbon Content)



For 40 years, my father -- Joseph Kendrick 'Ken' Cowdery -- was an engineer for a major laundry equipment manufacturer. For most of that time he ran their testing laboratories. Here is what he taught me about laundry.

1.  Detergent Amount: Use the amount of detergent recommended by the detergent manufacturer, no more, no less. The correct amount of detergent is a function of the amount of water being used, so if your machine has different water level settings, adjust accordingly. Adding more detergent won�t do any good if you can�t also add more water.

2.  Too Much Detergent: Using too much detergent won�t get your clothes any cleaner. It may cause excess suds, which can make a mess in your laundry room and damage your equipment. It also may leave a residue on your clothes.

3.  Washer Type: Top loaders use a lot more water than front loaders, and consequently call for more detergent. The makers of both the equipment and the detergent will tell you this. Believe them. Front loaders need less detergent because they need less water. (Dad loved front loaders. He helped develop them. They use less energy, less water, less detergent, and clean better.)

4.  Washer Load Size: If your clothes aren�t getting clean enough, or are heavily soiled, wash smaller loads. This is simple and is just about the only way to improve washer performance. Use the same amount of water and detergent, but put in fewer clothes. (Pre-soaking also helps.)

5.  Dryer Load Size: This is counter-intuitive, but the dryer performs best with a full load. It is the hot air trapped within the clothes that dries them. Too few and a lot of the hot air goes straight out the vent. That�s the simplest summation of Dad�s advice: under-load the washer, over-load the dryer.

6.  Water Temperature: Some detergents advertise that they clean just as well in cold water as hot. It�s not true. Use the hottest water whatever you are washing can stand. Dad preferred hot water for everything. Mom didn�t necessarily agree.

7.  Fabric Softener: Dad opposed the use of fabric softener. Mom disagreed. Despite Dad�s standing in the industry, Mom�s vote mattered because she actually did the laundry, and because she was Mom. Dad�s position was that fabric softeners work by damaging (i.e., weakening) the clothing. Mom�s position was that he was the only family member who wore things until they fell apart.

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