10 Laundry Mistakes You Might Be Making

by Miki Hayes

I don't know about you, but I've never been a fan of doing laundry. It's boring and it's time consuming. But maybe it's the distaste for this chore that leads to making laundry mistakes. Besides laundry simply not being any fun, it also comes with some anxiety. I, for one, hate washing a new or beloved garment. I'm always scared that it won't look or feel the same after a spin through the washer. I don't know what goes on under that lid! Maybe there are gremlins that hide in the washing machine and do the laundry. You know they're not supposed to get wet. But I digress.

Well after getting a primer on the best ways to care for washable garments from a few of P&G's Fiber Scientists, I must admit that I'm not nearly as nervous as I once was to hand over my favorite sweaters to the washing machine (especially because mishaps were more often than not due to my own mistakes). And if you too have feelings of distrust towards your washer and dryer, it could be because you've made one or more of these 10 common laundry mistakes as well. But don't worry; here's how to fix them.

1. Not Reading the Label

Clothing labels can be ambiguous, but they're still important to read. When words like "only" are used, it's usually best to follow those directions. But for everything else, they can generally be taken more like guidelines instead of hard-fast rules. For example, if a label says "dry clean" but not "dry clean only," hand washing can be an alternative measure.

2. Not Closing Zippers

Zippers could scratch against other clothing in the wash. Closing zippers before throwing garments in the laundry will help prevent wear and tear of all your other clothes.

3. Not Turning Clothes Inside-Out

Just in case there is a little too much friction in the wash though, turning garments inside-out will ensure that any agitation affects the inside rather than the outside.

4. Not Using Lingerie Bags

Lingerie bags don't have to be used just for your delicates. Any pieces you're worried could be bullied in the wash can also be thrown in lingerie bags before laundering. The bag will serve as an added layer of protection so that you can machine wash more sensitive items, worry-free.

5. Using Too Much Detergent

More detergent does not necessarily mean cleaner clothes. In fact, using too much detergent could actually cause a layer of filth-filled foam that sits above the water level and can't be rinsed away. To ensure that your clothes are properly cleaned, don't fill detergent caps past the recommended levels, or keep things simple by using detergent pods.

6. Not Pre-Treating Stains

At first spill, immediately rinse or soak the garment in cold water to help make sure the stain doesn't set. If water is not enough, before washing, apply your choice of stain remover. But remember: dab, don't rub. Rubbing will only agitate the fibers, causing fuzzing, and it could even spread the stain.

7. Skipping Fabric Softener

Fabric softener might seem like an unnecessary, clothing perfume. But it does so much more than that. To prolong the life of your clothes by keeping the colors true and preventing fuzzing, make sure to add fabric softener to your load.

8. Not Using Different Settings

Those different settings are there for a reason: clothing care is not one-size-fits-all. Again, make sure to read the label (or get to know what different types of fabrics need) so you know the optimal heat-settings for your laundry.

9. Drying Too Long

Again, make sure you've checked the label to know what can be put in the dryer, at what setting, and for how long. But to be safe (and reduce the need for ironing), don't leave your clothes in the dryer too long. Instead, take your clothes out while they're still damp, reshape them, and lay them flat to finish drying. This way, you won't have to worry about shrinking, fading, or wrinkles.

10. Skipping a Wash

Maybe you didn't get too sweaty at the gym today or you sniffed the pits of the sweater you wore all day, and it still seems fine. Neither of these is an excuse to skip a wash. Just because clothes appear to still be "clean" doesn't necessarily mean they are. Our bodies produce way more sweat, oil, salt, and skin flakes than you might realize, and these can all end up in our clothes. So do yourself a solid, and just wash it. Besides, if you're not making any laundry mistakes, you have nothing to worry about.

Images: RyanMcGuire/Pixabay; Miki Hayes