I’m no laundry expert, but I thought I had the hang of it…until recently. I was complaining to my mom about a shirt that came out of the wash with a snag, and she asked if I’d left any zippers undone. Turns out you’re supposed to close any zippers before putting clothing in the wash—otherwise, the metal teeth can grab onto other fabrics. Maybe it’s just common sense, but it truly never occurred to me.
I started to think about all of the other laundry mistakes that I could be making and did some research by reaching out to experts. I was surprised to find out that there are quite a few things that I didn’t know about when it comes to doing laundry. If you’re interested in learning more about what not to do when doing laundry, keep reading.
Using Too Much Detergent
I’ll admit that I don’t measure laundry detergent precisely. If you eyeball it as I do, you’re probably using too much soap. That isn’t good for your clothes or your washing machine.
When you use too much laundry detergent, there are a few things that can happen. Your washer won’t be able to rinse it all out of your clothing, which can leave your clothes feeling stiff and starchy. It can also cause extra wear and tear on the appliance itself, as the motor has to work extra hard to get all the suds out of your clothes. So what’s the bottom line? You (and I) should definitely be measuring more carefully—1 tablespoon of detergent is enough for standard-size loads. Hope this helps you out the next time you do laundry!
Using Dryer Sheets
Any type of fabric softener, including dryer sheets, can make towels less absorbent. This waxy buildup can also lead to fires. Instead of using dryer sheets, try dryer *****. Dryer ***** help reduce drying time and energy cost. They are chemical-free and help limit static cling and soften clothes.
It’s important to clean your lint screen thoroughly if you use dryer sheets and want to avoid a build-up of residue. Thomas says, “If you use dryer sheets, it’s essential to remove lint for every load, wash the lint screen with hot soapy water, and use an old toothbrush every three to six months for a deep clean.”
Not Testing For Hard Water
If you’re not sure whether or not your home has hard water, don’t worry, you’re not alone. However, it’s important to find out for the sake of both your laundry and your washing machine. Too much calcium and magnesium in water can be tough on both fabrics and appliances. The good news is that you can buy a test to find out for sure if hard water is an issue in your home.
Hard water can damage your clothes by leaving mineral deposits that can dull the fabric and reduce its quality over time. Homeowners can protect their belongings by using a water softener, which will remove these harmful deposits.
Hard water can cause a lot of problems for your appliances. Over time, it can damage pipes and make your washer less efficient. Using a water softener can help improve the efficiency of your laundry appliances and minimize the need for repairs.
Drying Clothes With Elastic Bands
I recently bought a pair of fairly expensive underwear, and I was super frustrated when the elastic waistband became misshapen after just a few laundry cycles. It turns out that you really shouldn’t be drying clothing with elastic bands, especially in a high-temperature setting. The high heat can cause the elastic to melt or become brittle, significantly reducing its lifespan. If you want your underwear to last, make sure to follow the care instructions on the label and avoid putting them in the dryer.
If you want your clothes to last, it’s best to air dry them whenever possible. If you have to use a dryer, put it in a low-temperature setting.
Not Using Color Catchers In Mixed Loads
I recently stopped sorting my laundry, since it doesn’t seem to make a difference. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw all caution to the wind. When washing whites and colors together, you’ll want to use cold water. Additionally, experts recommend another level of protection. “You should try at least to keep your whites from your colors, and at a minimum, use color catchers,” recommends Patric Richarson of the Laundry Evangelist.
Color catcher sheets are a cost-effective way to keep your laundry looking great. All you have to do is put one in with each load of laundry. The sheet will capture any dye that comes off your clothing, preventing it from staining other pieces.