Laundry machines are smarter than ever, but laundry day is still anything but foolproof. You may not notice, but simple laundry mistakes could be sabotaging your laundry loads, wasting your money or harming your clothes. Here’s how to avoid ten common laundry missteps.
- Check and empty pockets
Most people know this step, but it bears repeating. Left in a pocket, gum, crayons, a cell phone or other items could create a mess at best or a several hundred dollar loss at worst.
- Zip up zippers
It’s easy to leave zippers on garments unzipped before tossing them into the wash, but those metal teeth can snag and fray fabric.
- Don’t use fabric softener on every load of towels
Fabric softener may make your towels “huggably” soft, but it can also make the fabric less absorbent if overused. Use softener on every other towel load at most to get the best of both worlds.
- Use high-efficiency detergent with high-efficiency washers
Don’t use regular detergent in high-efficiency washers, or you could risk an overflow of suds or leave your clothes with a film of dirty soap.
- Use an extra rinse cycle for clothing for extra-dirty clothes
Have the kids and their clothes been through a puddle jumping adventure? Make sure to put their duds through an extra rinse cycle to help make sure they come out clean.
- Don’t forget to clean the washing machine.
Yes, your washer itself needs to be cleaned from time to time. Read our recent post here on how to do so.
- Don’t overload the machines
Don’t be tempted to overstuff your washer and dryer with clothes. If the garments can’t agitate or tumble, they won’t wash or dry as well, and the weight of too much wet clothes could damage the machines.
- Don’t add detergent as the last step
It’s easy to forget until you’re about to start the washing machine, but if you leave adding the detergent as the last step, it may not dissolve properly in the wash.
- Don’t use too much detergent
More detergent equals cleaner clothes, right? Wrong. Too much suds may be more than your washer’s rinse cycle can handle, leaving your clothes coated in dirty soap. Follow your detergent and machine’s directions for the size and dirtiness of your loads, and measure carefully.
- Use the right settings
Sort clothing properly and use the settings as directed on clothing tags to avoid damaging fabrics and to ensure items properly wash and dry. The less-understood “permanent press” option is a wrinkle-reducing setting suitable for lightweight clothing between delicates and heavy fabrics.
With these tips mastered, you can look forward to cleaner loads, longer lasting clothes and hopefully a bit of extra change to empty from those pockets.