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Avoiding Common Laundry Fails

Many people think laundry is easy. Just dump in clothes, soap and water, right? In fact, doing laundry well so everything gets clean and garments are preserved is a careful process. Here are some common mistakes people make and how you can avoid them.

1. Washing too hot – Unless you’re scouring off some tough mud or something, there’s no need to wash everything on hot. This wastes energy and you’ll wear out your clothing. Typical rule: wash colored clothing on cold and whites on hot.

2. Putting everything in the dryer – If you plan to wear something soon, the dryer is your go-to, but many items can be hung up. This takes hardly more effort than loading the dryer. It’s perfect for towels, blankets, etc.

3. Not sorting your colors – This is Washing 101, but many people do it regularly. Group your clothing into like colors and wash together so nothing bleeds. It’s also good to do towels separately on their own and anything that’s really soiled on its own.

4. Not emptying pockets – A piece of gum or pencil isn’t a big deal, but you don’t want to wash your paycheck or smart phone. Run your hand into each pocket before washing.

5. Dry cleaning too often – Dry cleaning uses a lot of heat and chemicals to get your clothes clean, both of which wear down the fabric quickly. Don’t send it out for cleaning unless it really needs it.

6. Using too much soap – Adding more soap doesn’t make your clothing more clean. It just leaves residue on your items because the washer wasn’t able to rinse it all off. It can also wear out your machine.

7. Washing denim too much – Denim doesn’t need to be cleaned as often as other items. Washing them too much can quickly fade their color. Spot clean minor stains and wear five-six times before washing.

8. Using wire hangers – These are a great way to ruin the shoulders of your shirts. Invest in some high quality wooden or plastic hangers.

9. Not folding right away – We’re all guilty of leaving clean laundry in the basket and picking as we need. But eventually this will wrinkle the items and you’ll have to iron or dry to get them right.

10. Giving your dryer a break – Dryers use heat, so it’s best to start one load right after the previous one to continue to use all that retained heat. This way the dryer won’t have to heat itself up again.

11. Loading the washer improperly – Traditional protocol went like this: add water, then soap, then clothes. But modern detergents don’t harm clothing like they used to. But this can trap soap at the bottom. Use this method: clothes, then water, then soap.

12. Using bleach improperly – In most cases, you don’t need bleach to get rid of stains. If you are using bleach, use the bleach spout on your washer. Don’t just dump it in the barrel or you’ll risk damaging your clothes.

13. Aggressively rubbing a stain – This is a great way to set the stain quickly and ruin the fabric! Treat the stain smartly by looking up exactly how that type of material should be treated. Don’t rub: dab, working from the outside.

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