10 Laundry Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Are you washing your clothes correctly? We wash our clothes, but are you doing it correctly? Laundry mistakes are more common than you think! Here is an expert’s take on how to keep your laundry fresh and clean all year!

Laundry Piles

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Get your laundry piles under control with these great tips!

“Most people think they’ve been washing their clothes for years without a problem, but there are still some common mistakes people make while doing laundry,” said Peter Stern, Managing Director of Mr. Jeff in the U.S. “With our global reach and laundry expertise, we’ve compiled this list of tips to ensure everyone gets laundry done right.”

Don’t Just Sort by Light and Dark

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The more you sort your clothes, the fresher they will be. Separate heavily soiled or muddy items from lightly soiled items and heavy or abrasive fabrics such as denim from the most delicate.

For denim, flip each item inside out, wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, and dry on low heat to prevent fading. To prevent the sheets from twisting, wash each set separately rather than the whole family’s at once and include smaller items in the load. These items help prevent twisting because they have different drape patterns.

Don’t Put Detergent Directly on Your Clothes

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Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to load the washing machine. According to Mr. Jeff, for a better distribution of the detergent, put clothes in the washer first, add water, and, lastly, the soap.

If you use hydrogen peroxide, add water first, then your clothes and soap. It is advisable to use liquid detergent, which is friendlier to the environment, even with washing machines.

Powdered detergents, as they are not diluted 100%, solidify and end up embedded in various areas of the equipment.

Use a laundry detergent that is safe for your health and free of phosphates and petrochemicals, chemicals that are not biodegradable and pollute natural water bodies. Make sure to check the labels on your clothes and follow the directions of each of those mysterious laundry symbols.

Related: 5 Cheapest Laundry Detergents Revealed

Don’t Overuse the Dryer

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If you have time to air dry, do so. You save energy by not running the dryer but also helping care for delicate items. The dryer damages garments with elastane (elastic) in their composition, losing its shape, and the garment can become thin – this is because the heat from the dryer bursts the elastane threads.

When using the dryer, do not overload it or over-dry the fabrics. Fold or hang the garments after they are dry, but if you can’t fold them right away, spread them out on a flat surface to avoid marking or wrinkling.

Don’t Mix Socks With Clothes

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Are you tired of losing a sock every time you wash your clothes? Instead, try putting your socks in the washing machine first, then add everything else. This makes them less likely to stick to other garments, often causing them to get lost. A good alternative is to buy mesh bags for delicate garments and underwear.

Don’t Leave the Zippers Open

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Open zippers can snag delicate clothing and scratch front-loading washer doors. Make sure they are up before starting the wash cycle. Unbuttoned fasteners can also pull fabrics or damage the drum if they come loose. Invest in mesh bags or an old pillowcase as a solution.

Don’t Leave Dress Shirts Buttoned

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Yes, the zippers should be closed, but the buttons should not be. Washing a button-down shirt with fastened buttons can damage the buttons and tear the buttonholes. Don’t forget the buttons on the cuffs and collar, either!

Don’t Forget a Quick Anti-Stain Test

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If you’re worried about washing that new red shirt for the first time, take this easy quiz to find out before disaster strikes. First, subtly dampen a part of the garment, then dry it with a white cloth to see if the dye stains. If so, wash the item only until the color stops fading. You can also include an old white sock in the wash to check.

Don’t Skip the Filter and Hose When Cleaning the Lint Trap

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Empty the lint filter after each cycle because lint buildup can clog the duct and become a fire hazard. It is also important to clean the filter about once a year.

First, scrub with a detergent-moistened toothbrush, then rinse and air dry. You’ll also want to disconnect the hose from the back of the dryer about once a year. It’s time to clean the lint trap when it takes more than an hour to dry a load.

Don’t Rub the Stains

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You may think the best way to treat a stain is by scrubbing it vigorously with detergent. But that’s not the best course of action, and it could even cause the stain to spread.

Instead, gently rub the stain from the outside in. And, of course, the sooner you treat it, the more likely it is to go away. If you have a stain on your white shirt, some alternatives, such as hydrogen peroxide or sodium hydrosulfite, maybe even better to get your clothes clean again. It’s important to remember that conventional bleaches damage clothes.

Don’t Wash Items That Need To Be Dry Cleaned

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If your clothing has a “dry clean” label, proceed cautiously. Some items do not actually need to be dry cleaned.

If these are natural fibers like wool, it is probably safe to hand wash them and let them air dry. But you’ll want to obey that label for items like leather, suede, and “structured pieces” (like blazers and suits).

This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved. 

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.