Laundry usually ranks pretty high on the list of people’s least favorite chores. So it’s no surprise that in the rush to get it done there are a quite a few mistakes made. And these mistakes can cause damage to your clothes, reduce the lifespan of your washing machine, and result in laundry that is not as clean as it should be. So what are the most common laundry mistakes and what are some easy ways to fix them?
MISTAKE #1 – Using too much detergent
Most machines today are HE (high efficiency) which means they need WAY less soap then older models. Although you would think that using a lot of soap would mean your clothes come out extra clean it can actually cause the opposite. Excessive detergent can cause dirt and grime to get caught in clothes instead of washed away as well as causes a build-up of excess detergent to form. And that build-up is what causes towels to lose absorbency and can also lead to skin irritation.
The fix – How much detergent you should be using is going to depend on a few different factors, including the type of machine you have and the type of detergent you’re using (powder vs liquid). Check your machine’s manual first to see what is recommended and then follow the directions for the particular brand of detergent you’re using. Taking a few minutes to figure out the correct amount will save you money and get you cleaner clothes!
Mistake #2 – Putting the detergent directly onto clothes
Not using the machines soap dispenser? Putting your laundry soap directly onto your clothes means that the soap isn’t getting distributed properly resulting in your clothes not being as clean as they should be.
The fix – Make sure that you’re putting your laundry detergent directly into the designated detergent dispenser. And don’t forget to regularly clean out any gunky build-up.
MISTAKE #3 – Putting Velcro items in with delicate clothing
Washing baby bibs or other items with velcro on them can damage or even destroy delicate clothing. And sometimes no matter how careful you are about closing anything with velcro it can still come open during the wash.
The Fix -Use a washable mesh bag (like this one) to put them in so the velcro doesn’t attach to other clothes in the washer or dryer. Mesh laundry bags are also a great way to wash legos or other small toys. Just throw them in the bag then wash them in either the washing machine or dishwasher!
MISTAKE #4 – Over scrubbing stains
Spill red wine on your favorite shirt, or did you kids get marker all over their clothes? Aggressively scrubbing those stains isn’t going to help get them out. In fact, it could just spread the stain and damage the fabric. Scrubbing too hard or in the wrong direction can wear away at the fabric casuing to weaken and fray. You also run the risk of actualy spreading the stain, making it harder to remove.
The Fix – Using a soft bristle brush rub a small amount of detergent in the direction of the fabric or blot with a sponge. Run the fabric under water until the majority of the stain has been removed. Treat with stain remover and let sit for a few minutes before washing.
MISTAKE #5 – waiting to long to treat stains
When clothes get stained throwing them in the laundry pile and waiting until laundry day is only going to make it much harder if not impossible to remove the stain.
The fix – Although its not always possible to stop what you’re doing and treat a stain right there on the spot, try and get to it as soon as possible for your best chance of removing it.
MISTAKE #6 Not cleaning your Washer
Over time dirt, grime, lint, and other things can build up in your washing machine. This can cause clogs to form in the detergent dispense and the pipes that drain the water. Resulting in either to little soap being dispensed or your clothes being left with residue after being run through the rinse cycle.
The Fix – Check your machines manufacturing book and see how your machine should be properly and safely deep cleaned. Then clean it quarterly or annual basis, depending on how often you use it. You can also use a liquid washing machine cleaner monthly to help keep all that dirt and grime at bay!
MISTAKE #7 – Washing heavily soiled clothes with a regular load
Were your kids out playing in the mud? or do you have a bag full of stinky sports uniforms? Throwing them into a load of regular laundry is only going to spread that mess and grime to the rest of the clothes.
The fix – Wash heavily soiled clothes on their own or use a laundry room sink rinse to rinse off as much dirt and grime as you can before you throw it in with your regal load of laundry.
MISTAKE #8 – over filling your machine
Are you filling up your washer to its very max capacity? While it’s tempting to wash one giant load vs. two small loads, overfilling your washer can actually damage your machine over time. An overloaded machine also means that there won’t be enough space for water and detergent to properly soak and wash your clothes.
The fix – You can either do an additional load or two on laundry day or you can wash clothes more often. I’m a big fan of doing one small load of laundry daily because it means I have less to put away at once.
MISTAKE #9 – Lets your clothes sit in the washer overnight (or longer)
I think we can honestly say there we’re all guilty of forgetting in the machine for a day (or more). It’s easy to put a load in and get distracted, only to come back the next day and find a smelly damp pile of clothes that need to be rewashed. The smell is disgusting enough but did you know that it can also cause mold or mildew to build up in both the clothes and the machine! yuck!
The fix – Set either your kitchen timer or a timer on your phone… and then set a back up if you need to! If you do happen to forget your laundry and it has a musty smell to it, throw in some white vinegar and run it through a rinse cycle. Vinegar is amazing at getting that musty smell out of clothes!
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