Most Common Laundry Mistakes
What’s the one thing that can make or break your outfit? Laundry Day.
If you’ve ever wondered why washing machine manufacturers don’t include a degree in chemistry with every purchase, it’s because people are generally pretty terrible at laundry. Even though many of us have been doing it for decades, we still manage to screw up our clothes on a daily basis.
If you’re a chronic laundry screw-up, it’s time to stop blaming the washer and dryer. There are simple mistakes that everyone makes when doing laundry. Once you get in the habit of checking for these common laundry errors, your clothes will always come out looking clean and fresh!
Listed below are some easy tips to fix all of your most common laundry woes:
1. They aren’t drying long enough. Sometimes, even though everything seems dry on the outside, your clothes can still be damp on the inside. If this is a problem in your household, try buying a drying rack for large items like sheets or towels. You can also set the dryer to run longer by selecting ‘more dry’ or adding ten minutes to the standard cycle.
2. They aren’t separating colors and whites. Most people don’t realize that washing colored and white clothes together actually damages both types of fabric. Don’t believe it? Try this: fill a sink with warm water and add a little bit of chlorine bleach (about two tablespoons). Now throw in one white sock, one colored sock, and one cotton towel. Watch what happens! The colored sock will bleed onto the towel while the white sock starts to turn yellow or gray from taking on the color of the towel. It’s easier than you might think to accidentally mix your laundry up! Make sure that you not only separate your clothes into different piles when doing laundry, but also that you place all items which are either white or colored into their appropriate load.
3. They aren’t checking pockets. You probably don’t realize this, but your pockets are a veritable wasteland of lint and crumbs! Before washing your items, give them a once-over in the pockets to make sure that they’re free from foreign objects. If you find something in there that shouldn’t be there, take it out immediately!
4. They aren’t paying attention to care labels. In spite of how much we might want to ignore the advice of tags sewn into our clothes, they do actually know what they’re talking about. Care labels exist for a reason—don’t try to deviate from the instructions unless you know exactly why a fabric requires special treatment!
5. They aren’t pairing up similar items. This is a mistake that is really easy to make! While most people already know not to mix silk and wool, there are tons of other fabrics out there that just don’t work well together. You should avoid machine-drying any item that’s made from a fabric with a low melting point, including rayon and acetate.
6. They aren’t checking pockets again. After washing your clothes, take another look at the pockets before you dry them to make sure that they’re completely free from lint or dust bunnies. If you find anything suspicious, remove it now so it doesn’t become embedded in your clothing during the drying process!
7. They aren’t using the right setting. When you’re using a washing machine, take care to select the appropriate setting for your garments (i.e., hand wash or delicate cycle). If you’re not sure, always play it safe and go with the lower speed/less intense option!
8. They aren’t taking advantage of cold water settings. I know this goes against everything that we’ve been told about laundry since childhood, but items actually stay just as clean when washed in cold water as they do in hot water—the difference being that cold water reduces wear and tear on clothing fibers. Save money on energy bills by washing your darks in cold water whenever possible!
9. They aren’t checking pockets one more time! This is especially important if you’re drying your clothes with a dryer. You should never put any items in the dryer unless they are completely free of lint and debris. Even if you’ve already checked them as part of step #2, double-check to make sure that no dust bunnies have snuck into your pockets!
10. They aren’t using the right cycle for each load type. If you’re planning on washing something that’s made from delicate fabric (like lace or silk), always look under the ‘specialty cycles’ section of your washer to find something appropriate for cleaning it. Items like this tend not to do well when washed together with bulky or stiff fabrics—you’ll end up damaging both types of clothing through friction!
11. They aren’t checking for colorfastness. If you’ve dyed your clothes in the sink with Kool-Aid or Rit dye, you should always try a small patch of fabric before going the whole hog and washing the garment itself. Make sure that the color doesn’t run!
12. They aren’t using a laundry bag. Never put items that are made from delicate fabrics into a regular machine without protecting them first! Your best bet is to invest in some mesh laundry bags (like these ones offered by Amazon). These will protect your delicates while they’re being washed, then you can pull them out after your load is finished and hang them up to dry.
13. They aren’t reading care labels again. Before throwing anything into the washing machine, make sure that you check the care label to determine the best temperature and cycle for cleaning it. If necessary, get rid of your old care labels using a pair of scissors—you can always stick new ones on after laundering!
14. They aren’t checking each piece individually before washing them. This is especially important if you’re planning on drying a load in a dryer rather than air-drying it. Make sure that every item of clothing is free of rips or tears before throwing them into the washer!