You may think that washing clothes in the washing machine is the simplest of tasks. I mean, you do it every day, right? But are you making these common laundry mistakes?
Laundry sure isn’t one of my favorite things to do – it is fairly far down on my chore chart! And I’m not alone… a lot of people find it hard to keep up with their laundry. Why is this?
When you break it down, there are quite a few steps in “doing the laundry”. Not quite as simple as tossing dirty clothes into the washer. There are other parts to doing the laundry. And, this is maybe why it can be so hard to keep up with it!
Doing the laundry holds so many individual tasks:
- putting clean clothes away
These tasks often need to be completed on a daily basis, so it’s important to make sure that your laundry routine is working effectively. Don’t let it get out of hand so the whole job becomes a nightmare.
Below you’ll find 13 common laundry mistakes that reduce the quality and durability of your clothes. And who knows, maybe you’ll even start to enjoy doing laundry when you notice what a difference it makes to do it the right way!
13 Laundry Mistakes You Need to Stop Making
Add these tips to your wash day to make your laundry look, smell and feel better. Plus, it will make your clothes last longer.
1. Don’t Just Sort Light and Dark Clothing
Most of us have given our white garments a completely different shade on more than one occasion. This is just one of the laundry mistakes that are almost a rite of passage for young people starting to doing their own laundry.
Listen to your mother! It IS important to sort your light clothing from your dark clothing.
But apart from separating your lights and darks, you should also sort your laundry by the material.
For example, any clothing made from Fleece is best washed separately. Also, towels should never be washed with synthetics.
2. Too Much Detergent Is a Major Laundry Mistake
First of all, using too much detergent is just a waste of money. Laundry detergent is expensive, even when it is bought on sale. Stop using more than you need.
If you are using liquid detergent, always pour it into the measured cap! It’s impossible to just eyeball the amount you pour into the washer free hand.
Using too much laundry soap can also have the opposite effect on the laundry. It can actually make your clothes dirtier!
Did you know that too much detergent causes an excessive amount of foam to build up? It’s very hard to get all that foam out during the rinse and spin cycles. And so the soap collects in shirt sleeves and pant legs, making the clothes dirty when they are supposed to be clean.
3. Remove Stains Quickly but Carefully
Stains can really make you go crazy. Whether it is blood, red wine, coffee, berries or anything else, it’s easy to try to remove them by scrubbing way too hard.
But stop that!
The harder and the more frenetic you are scrubbing, the greater the risk of getting holes in your clothes.
Instead, be careful and try to soak the stain instead. Put a cloth, preferably white, on top of the stain and let it absorb the stain. Then gently soak and rinse in cool water. Repeat as needed to get the stain out.
Above all, deal with the stain the moment it happens, if at all possible. Once it dries, it will be harder to remove. Use a stain stick or stain remover towelettes if needed.
4. Close the Zippers…
Another common laundry mistake is the zipper. Zippers should always be closed when it is time for laundry.
No exceptions. If you don’t close the zipper, the teeth can (and usually will) destroy other items.
5. …But Don’t Button Up the Shirt
Unlike zippers, buttons should never be buttoned up when you throw them in the washing machine. The weight of the other garments may be too much. It may cause the buttonholes to stretch and tear.
Unfasten all buttons before laundering.
6. Collect Laundry and Save Energy
If you need to wash several loads of laundry, it’s just as good to do one load right after each other to save energy. The washing machine will use the remaining heat from the previous round.
Plus, doing full loads only makes sense. Get into a routine of only doing whites when you have a laundry basket full.
7. No Spandex in the Washing Machine
It’s certainly easy to throw your swimwear and Spanx garments in the washing machine. But they definitely don’t belong there.
The right way to wash this type of garment is in cold water. And get into the habit of always rinsing your swim wear in cool water as soon as you get out of the pool.
You’ll add years on to the longevity of your swim wear by rinsing it in cool water straight away, so it is completely free of chlorine or salt.
8. Don’t Overload the Washing Machine
Just because it’s possible to shove a LOT of clothes into the washing machine, doesn’t mean you should. Overloading is one of the most common laundry mistakes.
An overloaded washing machine is at risk of destroying the machine, and the clothes will probably still be dirty. The machine needs some empty room to properly agitate and clean the clothes.
There’s a difference between a full load and an overloaded load!
9. Double-Spin for Bed Linens
If you wash your pillows and blankets in the washing machine, try to centrifuge them twice. This second spin can make all the difference.
This will get as much water out of them as possible, otherwise, there is a risk of detergent still being inside.
If you tumble your bedding, throw in three clean tennis balls in the dryer. The tennis balls make the pillow and comforter retain the shape.
You can also buy these organic wool dryer balls; they are great. They last for about 1000 loads of laundry! No more stinky dryer sheets!
10. Keep the Shape with Tennis Balls
Do you remember the tennis balls from the dryer? Good, because they can come in for even more use with your laundry.
When washing your jackets and anoraks, it’s great to put a couple of tennis balls in the washing machine. They help the garment to retain its shape.
11. Drop the Fabric Softener for the Towels
Did you know you shouldn’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets when you put your towels in the dryer? Seriously, that’s a laundry mistake a lot of people make.
The ingredients of the fabric softener reduce the absorption effect, which is anything but practical for towels. Totally the opposite of what we want – a towel needs to be as absorbent as possible.
12. Avoid Excessive Bleach
Bleach is very hard on clothes. You may want to bleach a load of whites, for example, bath towels. But bleach can be excessive.
An alternative to bleach is to wash the garment in boiling water instead. Boil a large pot of water and then add a few drops of lemon for the same effect. Lemon can act as a gentle bleach.
13. Finish What you Started
If you put one load in the washer today, see the job right through to the end. Put it in the dryer as soon as you can.
Do NOT let clothes sit in the dryer after it stops, if you can at all help it. This just causes more wrinkles; instead be right there when the dryer beeps.
Fold the clothes as you take them out. Items to be hung instead of folded, should be given a gentle shake and snap so they hang correctly. Then put them on a hanger straight away.
Now…go put the freshly cleaned clothes away! Or hand this part of the job over to someone else. Just get those clean clothes put away in dressers and closets.
And put your empty laundry basket in a convenient spot so everyone in the house can toss their dirty clothes in there.
Regular Maintenance for the Washing Machine
Like all other machines, the washing machine needs proper cleaning every now and then. Not maintaining your washing machine is one of the biggest laundry mistakes people make! Keep in mind that washing machines have many moving parts that can be damaged.
Don’t Forget to Clean the Washing Machine
Here are a few maintenance tips for your washing machine:
– Always leave the door to the washing machine open after the laundry has finished. This will allow the machine to dry properly.
– Once a month you should put a washing machine cleaner in your washing machine and run the “clean washer” cycle. I use the Heavy setting, as my machine does not have a specific “clean washer” cycle. This will keep your machine fresh and clean.
– Once every six months at least, you should also run a cleaning cycle with hot water and vinegar. Using 2 cups of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of water should do the trick.
Laundry doesn’t have to be a depressing chore. Stay on top of the laundry pile! And put your laundry mistakes in the past – use these tips to make doing the laundry a much easier job.
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