What’s the old saying? Only three things are certain: death, taxes and laundry.
Well, perhaps that’s not really how the saying goes. But sometimes it can feel that way. Depending on the size of your household, tackling the laundry situation can range from relatively painless (single bachelor!) to something for which you’ve considered hiring a personal assistant (working mom of 4 kids).
And, the more people whose dirty clothes need washing, the more you have to stop to consider the needs of each load: delicates, colors, sports uniforms, stains, care of fabrics, towels….and then which loads need bleach, different water temperatures, stain treatments, and on and on.
So, are you doing everything you can to get the most out of your laundry care routine? We’ve compiled a list of the 10 laundry mistakes you’re probably making. Any of these apply to you?
Using too many cleaning products
If a little is good, a lot is better, right? Wrong! Using too much detergent can leave a residue on clothes, which can dull fabrics. If it’s not rinsed from clothes completely, any trace can lead to contact dermatitis for those with sensitive skin. Additionally, extra detergent can coagulate inside your washer and, when mixed with the dirt and grime from dirty clothes, can act as a food source for bacteria. Which means – surprise! – your washer could start to stink.
Bleach can also be overused or used improperly. You actually don’t need it to get rid of protein stains, like blood and sweat.
Overfilling the machine
You may think it’s environmentally better to do one load instead of two. But don’t double up! If clothes can’t rub against each other during the wash cycle, then they’re not getting clean. Most top-loading machines will have a line to show where the water goes up to; your clothes level should be under that.
Not cleaning your machine
Remember that “detergent gunk as a bacteria food source” we just mentioned? The more of this that’s allowed to build up in your washer, the worse it is. Not only is it unsanitary and (quite possibly) stinky, it can dislodge during a cycle and deposit on the very clothes you’re trying to clean. Running an empty load with bleach only and hot water on a regular basis can go a long way in keeping your washer clean.
Letting your dryer “rest” between loads
This one even surprised us! It would make sense to let your dryer cool down between loads, right? To prevent overheating? Wrong! It can actually save you money on energy when you dry two loads back to back. Why? Because you’re capitalizing on the residual heat that’s already in the dryer. It’s not having to expend the energy to heat up all over again.
Letting stains set in
It’s harder to remove a stain when it’s already dry. The longer it sits, the heavier you’ll have to go with harsh stain removers. And that can take a toll on your clothing.
Spraying perfume directly on your clothing
Perfumes and spray fragrances often contain oils, which is fine for your skin, but not so fantastic for your clothes. So if you’re one of those who believes in the perfume walk-through – where you spray your fragrance in the air and walk though after you’re fully dressed – you could be in for a rude awakening. The oils in perfume can act as a trap for future oily stains, which can mean a headache when it comes to laundry.
Washing clothes with undone zippers
Ever wonder where that mystery snag in your favorite sweatshirt comes from? It could be because you washed that sweatshirt with your favorite pair of jeans…and didn’t zip those jeans prior to laundering. The teeth in an unzipped zipper can get caught on just about any fabric and cause it to snag.
Not leveling your washer
If your washer isn’t balanced and level, it can cause vibrations that can both damage your floors as well as the machine itself, by wearing out tub bearings and shock absorbers. Most washers have adjustable feet that will allow for customization, if it’s necessary.
Throwing your workout clothes in the dryer
Lots of athletic clothing contains special moisture-wicking fabrics that are designed to keep sweat away from the skin and the wearer cool. With each wash and dry, these specialty fabrics break down. While of course you’ve got to wash this kind of clothing (imagine the stink otherwise!) skipping the dyer and opting for air drying can help them last longer.
Using the incorrect temperature
Unless you have extremely soiled laundry, you can probably opt for a cooler water temperature. In most instances, cold should be sufficient; if not, warm water is a better option than hot.
Still perplexed? If adhering to all of these guidelines still seems complicated, you can always choose laundry options that allow you to eliminate your need for detergent, hot water, bleach and softeners. The Aerus Laundry Pro uses only cold water and bubbly, oxygenated bubbles to get clothes clean, bright and smelling fresh. It can also help keep the inside of your washing machine clean, since detergent isn’t used, and over time, it can help remove residue from your clothes as well.