Here are the 15 mistakes we make while doing laundry

Most of us do this at least once a week. It seems pretty simple but we're making some glaring errors. To do laundry effectively it takes a little more than just throwing it in the machine. Here are 15 of the most common mistakes we make:

1. Zippers

When you wash jeans with an open zipper, the zip can get caught on other items, damaging them.

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2. Swimsuits

Swimsuits should be washed by hand: that way they'll keep their shape longer. In the machine they can get worn out and lose their elasticity.

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3. Fabric softener

Bad news: fabric softener may make towels, well, softer, but it also decreases their ability to absorb water (their primary function)!

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4. Cleaning the machine

If your washing machine is dirty, it'll be much less effective at cleaning. Keep it clean by occasionally doing a cycle without laundry, just with water and vinegar.


5. Too hot

Check the tags on your clothes. It's not necessary to wash most items in hot water. Warm will do the trick, keep your clothes in better shape, and save you a little on your energy bill on the side. And don't forget, for materials like wool and silk always wash on cool or cold. 

Of course, if you've been sick and want to make sure your germy sheets get clean, wash them on a good hot cycle.


6. No breaks

It's more effective to do several cycles in a row while the machine and water are warm, rather than letting the machine take "breaks."

Bright clothes in laundry basket, on color background

7. Too much bleach

If you use bleach in your laundry, consider that it's not good for fabrics. Don't overdo it! Plus, studies have shown that kids who grow up in a household with too little dirt or dust (due to heavy-duty cleaning chemicals) are more likely to develop allergies and have other immune system problems.


8. Sorting socks

One of the reasons socks disappear without a trace in the laundry is that they get stuck in different parts of the machine, especially in the gasket that insulates the door to the drum. But if you wrap each pair together you'll keep your socks much longer. 


9. Bed linens

Pillowcases and blankets should go through a second cycle without soap to be sure that they're thoroughly rinsed.


10. Sorting laundry

Don't just sort your laundry cycles according to color. It's also smart to sort according to fabric type. Cotton needs one cycle while synthetics, delicates, and heavy linens need others.

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11. Down coats

To help a down jacket or coat keep its shape, put a few tennis balls into the machine with it!


12. Too much detergent

Too much detergent will produce too much foam, which requires more water for rinsing. The machine basically treats foam like another form of dirt in the water. To get a more efficient rinse and save on water, try using a little less detergent.


13. Airing out

To keep the machine clean and free of mold, it's a good idea to air it out regularly. Especially the rubber ring insulating the door to the drum can stay damp all the time, just asking for a colony of yucky fungi or bacteria to move in. Not to mention odors...

So from time to time, leave the door open for awhile and dry off the wet parts of the machine with a towel.


14. Rubbing

Don't try to get stains out by rubbing them. Rubbing just damages the fabric and causes the stains to get more deeply ingrained. Use stain remover, or look up what to do in specific cases (such as red wine or coffee) online and follow the instructions.


15. Alternative fabric softener

Instead of store-bought softener, you can try vinegar and mint as an alternative. All natural and inexpensive!


With these tips, you can not just save your clothes but also your machine, water, and energy bills, and get more out of each cycle. Be kind to your friends and pass on your favorites!




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