Laundry Mistakes You’re Probably Making

January 15, 2018  |  
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Everybody dreads laundry day. Whether you have to sit at the Laundromat all day with a book and packed snacks, or you have in-house machines but need to set alarms throughout the day to check them, this chore is no fun for anyone. It’s a task that holds you captive. You can only run errands or leave the house in 30 to 60-minute spurts and if you’re late, somebody will dump your clothes on the floor. We’ve all had that happen to us—heck, we’ve all been the dumper. So, when this fear-inspiring day is over, you want to at least know your laundry has been done correctly, but there is a good chance it hasn’t been if you’ve fallen victim to some of the mistakes and misconceptions about washing your linens, your clothes, your delicates, your parcels—you get it. Here are mistakes you’re probably making with laundry.

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Not reading detergent measurements

Don’t just eyeball your detergent usage. The measurements exist for a reason, and using too much detergent can actually mean the stuff cakes up in certain areas and holds onto bacteria. Meanwhile, using too little can also mean an insufficient clean.

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Failing to adjust for hard water

If you know you live in an area with hard water, you may need to use more detergent. This could be something to look into if your clothes consistently come out not as clean as you like, even though you used the recommended amount of detergent.

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Overloading the washer

If you pack the washer too tightly, that makes it hard for the water and detergent to get into the crevices of each item, which can leave some clothes dirty. Furthermore, an overly-packed machine can lead to a wrinkly fabric.

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Letting your dryer rest

If you’re doing a few cycles of laundry, keep the dryer going non-stop until you’re done. Your dryer expends a lot of energy just heating up from cold to hot, so if you keep it hot the entire duration of your laundry cycles, you’ll save some energy.

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Overusing the dryer

Do check for labels that say an item must be air-dried. If you put these in the dryer—even though you’ll get them dry quicker—they’ll lose their shape.

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Skipping the dry cleaner

You should also look for dry-clean-only labels and obey them. Many dry-clean-only items—if thrown in the washer—will be destroyed. So then, you didn’t really save money, did you?

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Throwing unhooked bras in

The little hooks on your bras can grab onto other items of clothing and puncture them. What’s more is that, an unhooked bra can easily stretch out in the machine. Ideally, you should hand wash bras, but if you must put them in the machine, hook them first.

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Ignoring the rumble

If your machine rumbles so much when you use it you’d think there was thunder in your home, then it probably isn’t level with the floor. This is nothing to be ignored because that thumping and rumbling can wear the machine out and damage it (not to mention it can harm your floors).

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Attacking stains

Whatever product you choose to use to remove stains, use it gently. Scrubbing stains viciously only deteriorates the fabric of the item, and typically doesn’t even remove the offensive stain.

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Using extra hot water

You really don’t need extra hot water. Cleaning your items at around 100 degrees will do just fine for disinfection. Anything hotter will cause them to lose their shape and thin out.

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Skipping a moisture test

New, colorful clothes may bleed onto your other items. A good way to test for this is to dampen a small area of the item—preferably at the seams—and put a little cloth on the area. If dye comes off, this item isn’t ready to go in with different colored items yet.

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Failing to empty pockets

Don’t forget to empty pockets before throwing items in the machine. You never know if a bright pink receipt left in the pocket of jeans will dye everything in the machine, or if a safety pin will tear things up.

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Failing to remove large stains first

If you have a few items with fresh, large stains, spot-treat these before throwing the items in the machine. You don’t want those stains leaking onto your other clothes.

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Leaving shirts closed

It’s best to open up buttoned shirts before putting them in the machine. If they’re all buttoned up, all of the tugging of the wash can stretch out the buttonholes.

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Forgetting to clean your filter and hose

Make sure to clean your lint filter and your hose thoroughly, at least once a year. Trapped lint in either of these can pose a fire hazard, and you can easily scrub it out with an old toothbrush.

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