|Ready, set, wash! Preparation for doing your laundry in Dutch.|
The first few times I did laundry the process took much longer than I would have liked simply because I didn't have the vocabulary for the items or processes involved (and my manual didn't have an English section). Here are what I consider some of the essential terms for doing your laundry.
- was - wash/laundry
- wasmachine - washing machine
- voorwas - pre-wash
- wasmiddel - laundry detergent.
- wasverzachter - fabric softener
- katoen - cotton
- synthentisch - synthetic
- centrifugeren - spin/centrifugation
- spoelen - rinse
- kort programma - short/express program
- kleur - color
- wit/witte - white
- zwart - black
- kleding - clothing/clothes
I'll start this section with my disclaimer that this information is based on my personal wasmachine (Samsung WF8604NHWG) and that every machine is labeled differently and/or comes with different settings and abilities. Likely, you're machine will have similar types of settings.
|My machine's program and setting options|
Your machine will either have a drainage pipe installed on the wall, or you will have to place the drainage hose in your closest sink when the machine is in use. If bought new, your machine should come with a hard plastic mount so the drainage hose doesn't fall out of the sink. You don't want to mop up an entire load's worth of water from the floor - so make sure to check this before first use.
|The plastic sink mount - mine's still in the package since I have a drain installed.|
It's not uncommon for people to turn off the water source by their machine when not in use. If you're renting a property with a machine, it can't hurt to check the faucet knob - remember: righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. If you're in a hostel, I wouldn't worry about it unless management informs you otherwise.
|Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Yes, the faucet is |
upside down - that's a long story.
If you really don't want to learn much about your machine, you can get away with only ever using the kort programma (possibly labeled express programma). This express cycle will most likely be the shortest full-wash cycle available on the machine, and most machines allow you to adjust the temperature within each program type. My machine allows me to change the intensity of the spin/centrifugal cycle at the end of the wash - the bigger the number, the harder things will be spun around. 1400 revolutions a minute is great for jeans and even your whites, but not recommended for your dainties.
I use the synthetisch program for our colored clothing as they seem to get more use and pick up more mess (usually from playing). This is a longer cycle, but I would recommend it if you have the time and have things that are a bit dirtier.
The voorwas setting is an additional setting that you can add on to some programs to get extra clean out of your clothes. My machine doesn't allow the 30 minute voorwas setting on the kort programma because that would defeat the purpose of an "express" option. But if you're feeling like your clothes need a bit of help, the voorwas setting is good to give everything an extra boost.
Some of these are general laundry tips that are worth repeating, but some are specific to my Dutch laundry experience.
- When in doubt, use cold water. It's better for the environment anyway, but water set too warm can shrink your clothes.
- Fabric softener is a good idea. Many homes do not have a clothes dryer like you find in the States, so you air-dry your clothes. This also means that your clothes don't feel as "fluffy" when they're dry, so softener helps, especially with cottons. However, since softener effects the absorbency of towels, don't bother using it when doing a load of towels. To ease my eco-guilt (because softener is sometimes worse for the environment than detergent), my preferred brand is Ecover.
- The door on a front-loading wasmachine will lock. If you forget to get an item into the machine and realize at the very beginning, just stop or turn off the machine and wait a minute or so for the lock to turn off on it's own. If you realize 1/3 or 1/2 way through, just wait until the next load.
- In a pinch, HEMA has cheap laundry detergent for just €2.00 a bottle (I think it's good for 20 loads). It's not my favorite, but if I really need detergent and my favored brands aren't on sale, I will pick up a bottle.
Hopefully, you can find these laundry tips helpful and informative. If you feel like I missing something important for doing laundry in Dutch - please leave a comment for others slogging through their own mountains of wash!