It is safe to say that even novice laundry-doers know better than to throw in a red shirt with a load of whites and that most dryers eat at least one sock per cycle. Plus, parents know the messes generated by their children need extra attention—often stain fighters—and maybe an extra wash cycle or two.
Yet, despite the years of laundry experience, there are “loads” of ways to make mistakes with this chore. If you’re doing any of the following, it’s time to change your clothes-cleaning practices.
Ignoring care instructions
The tiny tag with the impossibly tinier writing has a purpose other than challenging your eyesight. Not all fabrics are created the same, and thus might require special consideration. Usually, the instructions are simple, like “wash in cold or “line dry.” To avoid compromising the quality of your wardrobe, always take MarthaStewart.com’s advice: read the labels.
Using too much elbow grease
Yes, stains require effort, but the experts at RealSimple.com caution that being too hard on a stain can make it bigger and potentially harm the fabric. Instead, they recommend using a gentle approach to dab rather than rub and work from the outside of the stain in. To prevent color transfer, always use a white cloth on the stain.
Running the washer for too long
If you haven’t been trekking through the mud, chances are that your clothes are dirty, but not abundantly dirty. According to MarthaStewart.com, a six-minute wash time is adequate for most clothes—unless, of course, you have been trekking through the mud.
Putting the soap in before the clothes
With three ingredients—clothes, water and soap—loading the washing machine should be mistake-proof. It is, but only if you do the filling in the right order. Unless bleach is needed for the load, add clothes, then water and then soap for the best detergent allotment, suggest the RealSimple.com experts.
Going overboard with the suds
Too much detergent will not rinse out completely. Instead, RealSimple.com recommend cutting your detergent measurement in half and upping the amount slowly until your clothes are as clean as you want them to be out of the wash cycle. Hard water is the exception; they note it might actually require more soap than usual and to always defer to the detergent bottle for instructions.
Using the wrong cycle setting
Choosing the right wash cycle to fit the fabric type will result in optimum results. According to MarthaStewart.com, the regular cycle works for sturdy or heavy cottons and exceptionally soiled clothing; the permanent press cycle works for average loads because it is gentler on clothes overall; the delicates cycle works best for loosely woven, lightweight, sheer and lacy textiles.
Laying on too much heat
Choosing the correct drying cycle can impact your clothes, too. You can dry clothes on a line or drying rack, but if you prefer using a higher power option, consider MarthaStewart.com’s guide to drying cycles: electronic or automatic dry lets you pick how dry you want clothes to be as opposed to the time they spin in the dryer; permanent press reduces wrinkling with its cool-down cycle; air fluff is perfect for fluffing pillows or freshening clothing because it circulates air but does not add heat.
Doing the laundry will always be a chore, but by keeping these tips in mind you will be able to increase your laundry expertise and protect your wardrobe from common laundry mishaps.
This article is presented by CitySide Subaru in Belmont, Massachusetts.