There’s a lot more to washing clothes than you might think. If you don’t know how to wash clothes without damaging them, you could find your clothes ripped, torn, faded or ruined. You will end up spending a lot of money replacing clothes that could have lasted for a long time. If you have ever discovered that your favorite sweater shrank in the wash or your favorite t-shirt was ripped in the wash, you know that how you wash clothes matters. You can’t just dump everything into the washer and turn it on. If you are not sure how to wash clothes without damaging them, use these basic tips to do your laundry without ruining your clothes:

Sort your clothes: Even though it can be a pain to spend a lot of time sorting your clothes for the wash, it does make a big difference. You probably already sort your clothes into light and dark loads. But you should take that sorting one step further and sort the clothes by fabrics as well. Wash light fabrics like t-shirts with other light fabrics. Wash heavy fabrics like jeans and towels with other heavy fabrics. The more precisely you sort your clothes the better the chance is that they will remain looking great after you wash them.

Wash clothes in the correct temperature: Most fabrics will have labels that will tell you what temperature they should be washed in. Pay attention to that. Some fabrics will shrink, pill, or become damaged in hot water. As a general rule you should only wash items like towels and bedding in hot water. All other laundry should be washed in either cold water or in warm water. Any fabric can be washed in cold water, so if you’re not sure what temperature to wash something in, use cold water. You will never damage clothing using cold water.

Don’t use too much soap: The biggest mistake that people make when they are doing laundry is using too much soap and using the wrong type of soap. Natural detergents like Rockin' Green that are sulfate free are the best detergents to use when you are washing clothes. Always use the amount of soap that the directions say to use. Using more soap doesn’t get the clothes cleaner, it just causes soap residue to deposit on clothes and it can eventually damage your washing machine. Less is more when it comes the amount of detergent that you use when you are doing laundry.