It’s a valid question to ask even if you’ve been using a washing machine for many years now. Perhaps, you’ve noticed that your clothes don’t always come out as fresh and soft as you wish they would, or, even worse, sometimes the washer damages your clothing and vice versa. This is when you know you’re doing something wrong.
The truth is, there is a ‘right’ way of washing your clothes in a washing machine which not only ensures that no damage is caused to your fabrics or the machine, but also leads to the cleanest and most satisfactory load of laundry you could ever do! From some pretty obvious dos and don’ts, to many overlooked ones; we are here to guide you through all of them! Read on to find out if you’ve been doing a couple of things wrong when washing laundry in your washing machine.
One of the most obvious ones, but definitely worth mentioning because some individuals forget that separating colours does not mean merely sorting lights from darks. Brightly coloured clothes, such as reds and orange shades, should also be separated as they are likely to lose a little bit of colour during a wash. While it’s not necessary to wash every colour in the rainbow separately, it’s advisable to club similar shades together and wash them in one cycle. Apart from this, it’s also ideal to hang your laundry out to dry as soon as the load is complete to eliminate the risk of one colour running onto another.
Sort Dirty from ‘Very’ Dirty
Colours aren’t the only thing you need to separate when washing. Your dirty laundry typically consists of lightly soiled and heavily soiled items which need to be separated before a wash. The latter may include muddy clothes, gym clothes, and dirty socks while the former generally includes pajamas, house wear, etc. Doing a mixed bag of laundry (i.e. lightly soiled and very dirty clothing items) can lead to ineffective results. In these cases, you end up spreading dirt to the lot of lightly soiled items which then requires a second wash for a thorough cleanse. Therefore, it’s best to sort out your laundry beforehand and wash the really dirty ones separately.
Don’t Mix Abrasive Fabrics with Delicates
While we’re still talking about separating your dirty laundry for a safe and effective wash, it must be mentioned that abrasive fabrics and delicates are not suitable to be washed together either. Being tossed around in a washer can potentially damage weaker fabrics; hence, when you mix in abrasive materials such as denim, you can only imagine the effect it can have on your delicates. In fact, it is advisable to use laundry bags specifically designed for washing underwear and other delicate items in a washing machine. These mesh bags protect the contents from wear and tear while also allowing for an effective wash (owing to their porous material).
Wash Sheets One at a Time
Do you find your sheets all twisted and entangled in other items in your washing machine? Well, it’s not an uncommon occurrence. The worst part about this is that it’s not only annoying to untangle the sheets when they’re wet, but it also affects the effectiveness of the wash. When sheets start to twist in your washing machine, the cleaning of each item becomes uneven. This is because the items cannot move around freely for an all-round clean. While you may not want to wash a single sheet per cycle, consider washing these large items along with small clothing items or delicates that are placed in a laundry bag. This way, you can avoid twisting and entangling altogether!
Don’t Overuse/Underuse Laundry Detergent
While you may not see the harm in doing either of these things, i.e. underusing or overusing laundry detergent, we’re here to tell you otherwise! Excess laundry detergent does not necessarily means cleaner clothes. In fact, it can be rather harsh on some delicate fabrics. Apart from this, the use of too much detergent leaves fabrics feeling stiff because of the soap residue left on them. This means that the washed items will require another rinse which only wastes water, and your time. Similarly, underusing detergent for a load of laundry will also require a second wash because there wasn’t enough soap to clean the clothes properly the first time around. If you’re wondering how to figure out what the right amount of detergent to use per load is, check the label of the bottle. Having said this, sometimes all it takes is some trial and error until you learn the perfect amount to use for every load!
Turn Denims Inside-Out Before Washing
Do you hear noises that almost sound like coins banging against the interiors of your washing machine when it’s running a cycle? That’s usually caused by the buttons on one’s jeans or denim jackets. Obviously, this is not only self-damaging for the clothing item, but it can also cause scratches and minor damage to your washing machine. The best way to avoid this is to zip up and button up your jeans and turn them inside-out before throwing them in the washer. Similarly, denim jackets (as well as shirts) should also be buttoned up and turned inside-out to protect the clothing item and your washing machine at the same time.
Keys, coins and other random things; we tend to put stuff in our pockets and forget to take them out. When these (sometimes) hard and abrasive items get thrown into your washing machine, the effects they have on fabrics and the washer itself can be pretty bad. From nicking fabric to scratching your washer interiors; there are certain things that simply do not belong in a washing machine! Therefore, it’s important to double check all pockets before you throw a clothing item in the washing machine. This includes the pockets of shirts, shorts and jackets,
Do a Colour Fastness Test on New Fabrics
For clothes and other fabrics that you’ve been washing for a long time, you already know that their colours do not ‘bleed’. New clothing items and fabrics, on the other hand, can lose colour the first few times they are washed. This is particularly the case with bright/vibrant colours; therefore, performing a colour fastness test on new items before you wash them is a good idea. This can be done by simply dampening a white towel and dabbing it on the material. If the dye comes off, it’s best to wash the item solo for 1 or 2 cycles. If you’d like, you can throw in an old, white cloth to check if the colour is still running.
Learn What Items Can and Cannot be Machine-Washed
One of the biggest laundry mistakes you can make is to wash items in your machine that strictly need to be dry cleaned. An article of clothing or a particular type of fabric that shouldn’t be machine-washed is very likely to get damaged (beyond repair) while also affecting the way your washer functions. While most clothing items will mention a suitable method of cleaning on the tag/label, it’s good to have a general idea of what articles must be dry cleaned. This list includes blazers, suits and tuxedos, as well as fabrics such as suede and leather. So, be sure to get these items dry cleaned in order to avoid damaging of the material and your washer.
Clean the Lint Trap, Filter and Hose
The buildup of lint and debris in the lint trap means you have to clean it out every now and then. Most people know this; however, the filter and hose (that attaches to the back of the machine) are often overlooked. These components are also prone to dirt and bacteria buildup and hence, require a thorough cleaning at least once a year. For the filter, a clean toothbrush and some detergent can be used to scrub it clean while the hose will require a long brush (such as a bottle brush) to clean the inside. Alternatively, you can soak the pipe in a cleaning solution for an hour or so and rinse it out (inside and outside) under running water. Apart from this, it’s important to deep clean your washing machine from time to time to keep the interiors clean and sanitary.
Whether or not you’ve been doing something wrong when washing clothes and other fabrics in your washing machine, this guide will help you do the perfect load of laundry henceforth!