Many of us will agree that doing laundry is right at the top of their least favourite chores (right next to doing the dishes and taking out the garbage). From separating the loads and pre-washing to ironing and folding, doing laundry is quite a daunting task that many of us don’t enjoy. Plus, one simple oversight can cost you your favorite piece of clothing or even ruin the entire load. Even if you’ve done this task a million times before, there are still some common mistakes you probably make when washing your clothes. Here are some of them:
Separating darks from lights is probably already part of your laundry routine, but you should also sort your laundry based on material. In order to get the best results, separate lighter clothes such as sheer blouses from heavier clothes such as jeans.
Clumsy or not, food and drink spillage happens to the best of us. When such accidents happen, we instinctively turn to scrubbing the stain, thinking it will solve the problem. What most of us don’t know is that by scrubbing the stain harder, we’re actually causing it to spread and damaging the fabric. Instead of doing this, gently dab the stain with a cloth and put it into the washing machine as soon as possible to prevent the stain from setting in.
Too much detergent
Most people think that adding extra detergent to their laundry load will make them extra clean. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. Adding more detergent than necessary to your load will cause the extra suds to hold more bacteria and dirt which prevents certain areas from rinsing clean (like collars and pockets). Sticking to the recommended amount of detergent will ensure your loads are fresh and clean every time.
Not reading the labels
Before you mix all your clothes together in one load, read the labels on the inside to make sure you’re not putting in an item that shouldn’t be machine washed. Modern washing machines were not built for delicate materials such as silk, leather or suede. If the label says “dry clean only” then it’s better not to wash it in the washing machine.
Not paying attention to buttons and zippers
Make sure you unbutton your shirts before you put them in the washer. Leaving button-up shirts buttoned in the machine can loosen and stretch out the threads around buttonholes. On the other hand, clothes with zippers should be zipped up before they go in the washer because they can snag on other items and cause damage.
Too Much Bleach
If you want your whites to stay white, there’s nothing that does the job better than bleach. However, using excessive amounts of bleach can actually make you sick and irritate your skin. A ½ cup of bleach for a large load will do the trick, but you can also turn to safer alternatives such as throwing your stained items into a pot of boiling water with some detergent and a few lemon slices.
Not Cleaning Your Washer and Dryer
Cleaning your washer and dryer is the key to getting clean and fresh clothes with each load. Make sure you clean out your dryer’s lint filter after every load, but also remember to clean the dryer ducts on occasion (detach the hose at the back of your dryer and remove excess dirt or lint).
As for your washer, the best way to keep it clean is to run an empty cycle with ½ cup of baking soda and 3 cups of vinegar at the hottest setting to remove any lingering bacteria and bad smells. Make it a habit to take your clothes out as soon as the cycle is done because that can breed bacteria. Also, don’t overfill the machine because that can cause the washer to overwork, which can ultimately result in clogged drains and pipes.
Overloading and over-drying
Air drying clothes is a pain, we know that. However, you should refrain from overloading and over-drying because that can make your clothes more staticy and wrinkly, and it can even cause the fibers to break faster.
Some final notes
These are just some examples of the common mistakes we make while doing laundry. By avoiding them, you’ll not only protect your clothes, but also your wallet because you’ll keep your clothes looking good for longer, and you’ll potentially avoid washer and dryer repairs. You can also consult your local appliance repair specialists for tips on how to maintain your washer and dryer.