1. Water temperature too high
This is an extremely common mistake to make, and it’s also one that’s easy to change. Generally speaking, clothes will keep their shape and color better and wear out slower if you wash them at lower temperatures.
Besides, warm or cool water can cope with dirt just as well as hot water if you have a good washing machine and detergent. Only things like linen or towels should be washed at 190°F, for disinfection purposes. All the rest can make do with lower temperatures.
Washing at lower temperatures will save you time, money, and is better for the environment. Win-win-win!
2. Loading the machine with heavily soiled clothes
In order to give your machine a fighting chance, heavily soiled items should be pre-soaked, and stained clothes should be carefully washed by hand or treated with a stain remover before putting them into the washing machine. Otherwise, the dirt might not come off properly. Also, if there’es too much dirt, it may end up clogging the machine.
In terms of removing stains manually, you don’t always have to use a stain removal product. Lemon juice is a good cleansing agent for sweat stains; a mixture of vinegar and liquid detergent can remove traces of grass, and wine stains will vanish after applying a mixture of water and baking soda in a 3:1 ratio.
3. Using too much detergent or softener
A surplus of detergent can clog the detergent container and cause an unpleasant smell, and too much softener makes clothes less easy to rinse.
Instead of just bunging it in there, read the dosages indicated on the packaging, and don’t forget to use the measuring cup. If your clothes are really filthy, use the pre-wash mode or run 2 cycles.
4. Using softener for all types of clothes
Besides making the fabric nicer to the touch, linen softener facilitates ironing. However, it also reduces fabric absorbency over time, so you’d better not use it for washing towels, sportswear, or other items made from microfiber, elastane, or spandex.
5. Machine-washing lingerie
Be mindful when you’re washing your delicates. With automatic washing, bras quickly stretch and lose their shape, so it’s best to wash them by hand. The same applies to lace lingerie and swimsuits.
Having said that, nylon tights can be washed in the machine if these simple rules are followed:
- Use a special detergent for delicate washing.
- Wash at 90°F and at a low speed.
- Put the tights into a special washing bag.
- Turn the tights inside out.
6. Using bleach for elastane, spandex, or lycra items
Bleach with chloride is a rather aggressive agent that weakens fibers, so it will eventually reduce elasticity in stretchy clothes. This is especially true for elastane, lycra, and spandex, which will quickly lose elasticity if washed with bleach. Here are some more tips on how to take care of these things:
- Wash them only in cool water.
- Don’t use fabric softener.
- Don’t dry them in an automatic dryer.
- Don’t iron them.
7. Washing denim too often
Denim jeans and jackets are tough old things, and don’t need washing as much as we might think they do. Denim producers have a pretty firm opinion on this point: they advise giving up machine washing altogether in order to preserve the color for longer.
If that doesn’t sound feasible to you, then at least try to cut back. The optimal interval between 2 washes is a period of 2 to 6 months, depending on how often you wear your jeans and on the individual characteristics of your body.
Between these washes, you can take care of any stains that appear by hand.
8. Using the dryer inappropriately
Incorrect drying affects your clothes as adversely as incorrect washing. Here are some tips that’ll help you avoid mistakes:
- Don’t use automatic drying too often: it makes your things wear out and lose color faster. Don’t use it to dry thin and delicate fabrics.
- Don’t overdry the laundry — it makes it harder to iron.
- Don’t hang knitted and woolen items as they’ll lose their shape. Spread them out on a towel on a horizontal surface.
- Before hanging the laundry, shake it up to prevent rumpling and creasing.
9. Not looking after your machine
Washing machines are amazing things, but they are not invincible. Dirt, residue from detergent, and everything that accumulates inside a washing machine over time will get onto your clothes sooner or later, leading to bad smells and white stains. To prevent this, follow a few simple maintenance rules:
- Air the machine out after every washing.
- Remove the residual detergent from the rubber gasket on the door after every washing.
- Rinse the detergent container regularly.
- About once a month, run an empty machine with detergent and vinegar for disinfection.
Do you have any laundry tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!