10 laundry mistakes that ruin your clothes
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Originally aired on 4/21/23 for WGN Radio 720.
Most of us have been doing laundry all our lives and we know the basics. Clean the dryer lint trap and vent. Use the correct washer and dryer settings. Clean the washing machine. Leave the door and detergent drawer open to avoid mildew.
But here are 10 tips you might not know.
1. More Detergent Does Not Mean Cleaner Clothes
You’re basically wasting detergent by using more than you need. Also, it generates more suds and makes your clothes harder to rinse. The residue that’s left on them can lead to a buildup of bacteria and dirt. Plus the machine has to work harder and can’t drain efficiently.
2. Hot Water Will Not Clean Clothes Better
That’s a total myth. Hot water damages the fabric of clothes and it doesn’t have any more benefits than using cold water does. Plus most detergents are made to work with cold water.
3. No Need to Wash Your Clothes After Every Wear
If you exercise you should wash your workout clothes after each use. But the rest of your clothes can last a bit longer. Don’t over wash because among other things, the colors fade.
4. Don’t Overload The Washer
If you do, you may end up with some clothes not getting completely cleaned.
5. Don’t Ignore The Fabric Care Label
This label has essential information about how to clean and take care of your item. If you don’t follow what it says it could damage your clothes. Also not a bad idea to learn what the symbols on the tag mean and follow instructions.
6. Visible Stains Are Not The Only Ones You Need To Worry About
Just because something looks clean doesn't mean it is. Sweat and body odor may not be visible but it’s there and should be washed as soon as possible so it doesn’t deteriorate the fabric.
7. Don’t Fasten Buttons Before Washing
A washing machine puts a lot of stress on your clothes and buttoning things adds even more stress. If you don’t want to end up with broken buttons, leave them unbuttoned before you stick them in the wash.
8. Stains Need to be Treated
Don’t wait. If you’ve got a stain you need to deal with it immediately. Use a stain remover before it sets to a point where it’s hard to remove. If you don’t have a stain removal product, soak the clothing in cold water to keep it from drying before you can deal with it. You can also gently dab the stain and avoid scrubbing it too much so it doesn’t spread or wear down the fabric.
9. Don’t Use the Heavy Duty Setting for Jeans
Not only is this unnecessary and puts too much stress on the pants, jeans should be turned inside out when being washed and dried. It’s gentler on them and slows down the fading process.
10. Not Delegating Laundry Duties
This is easy to overlook but it’s something we should all think about when we have children. It’s hard enough to run a household. We all need to find ways to lighten our load. So if your kids are old enough to use a washer and dryer, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be helping out. It’s a good chore for them to learn to be responsible. Then hopefully they grow up to be adults who contribute to the household.