For many people, doing the laundry is often the most tiring chore because it entails several steps. You’ll have to first collect and sort all the dirty clothes, then fold and iron them before storing them in the closet. Fortunately, using a front or top load washing machine makes this chore a lot easier. While it may seem as simple as putting your dirty clothes in the washing machine and letting it run a full cycle, not using your machine correctly can result in damaged and discolored clothes.Using the proper wash setting and laundry detergent ensures that your garments are thoroughly cleaned without causing the fabrics to wear down. This will keep your clothes in good condition and help extend their lifespan. So if you want to have better-looking clothes that will last, check out these laundry tips:
Pick the Appropriate Washer Setting
Whether you’re washing your shirt, dress, or blouse, use the machine’s lowest setting. Opt for your washer’s “delicate” or “gentle” wash cycle and use it to wash your clothes, especially those with delicate fibers. It effectively gets rid of dirt on your clothes while reducing the wear and tear that the spinning and tumbling motions can inflict on them.
On the other hand, durable fabrics like denim can be washed at a normal setting without issue. It’s best to do a separate cycle for heavier garments like these, as a lower setting may not be enough to clean them. If you’re not sure about what settings to use for a piece of clothing, read the care label carefully and follow the recommended care instructions.
Use Cold Water
Some people use hot water for their laundry because the heat helps kill bacteria and remove strong odors. However, using hot water to wash your clothes can wear out the fabric quicker. The heat tightens the fibers, causing them to shrink or create permanent wrinkles in the garment. It also fades the color of your clothes faster. If you want to avoid clothing damage, it’s better to wash most of your clothes in cold water.
Cold water doesn’t disrupt clothing fibers, so you don’t have to worry about clothes shrinking in the wash. It’s also best for washing heavily soiled clothes because hot water can cause certain stains like blood to set in the fabric. If you’re concerned about bacteria remaining in your laundry even after washing it, you can run the machine cycle with a cold wash and then use hot water for the final rinse.
Choose the Right Detergent
Making your clothes look better also involves using the best detergent for your laundry load. Some types of detergent are specifically formulated to be gentle on delicate fabrics and prevent them from shrinking and discoloring. Specialized detergents also contain dyes and other additives to protect the color of your clothes, so whites remain bright while preventing fading in darker fabrics.
In addition to the right kind of detergent, use the appropriate amount for each load. Too much detergent won’t make your clothes cleaner; it will only create a lot of suds that can prevent the garments from rubbing against one another and getting the thorough cleaning that they need. This can cause a foul odor to develop on your clothes and leave an unpleasant residue on them. It can also wear down your machine quicker.
Turn the Garments Inside Out Before Washing
If your clothes aren’t soiled and don’t have any stains, it’s better to turn them inside out before you put them in the washer. This way, the insides of your clothes get most of the impact from the spin cycle rather than the outer side. As such, the design of your clothing is preserved and stays in good condition even after multiple washes.
This washing technique is also recommended if you’re washing any garments with buttons, sequins, or delicate stitching. Washing them inside out helps prevent the details from coming undone, becoming loose, or completely falling off.
Use a Mesh Bag
If your washing machine doesn’t have a gentle or delicate setting, you can still use it to wash your delicate garments. Just place items that need to be laundered inside a laundry mesh bag before putting them in the washer. The bag will keep the garments protected from the harsh tumble inside the washer and help prevent rips, snags, and tangles on the fabric. Using a mesh bag works great for underwear, bras, and other lingerie. It’s also best for washing socks, as the bag keeps the pairs from being separated and lost.
Soften Garments with Vinegar
Do you have tough or stiff clothing, like newly-bought denim, that you want to soften up? Instead of buying fabric softeners and spending more on your laundry, you can use a natural ingredient like white distilled vinegar. Simply pour half a cup of vinegar in your laundry load, and it will help loosen the fabric fibers. After a cycle, you’ll notice your clothes becoming softer and more comfortable to wear. You also don’t have to worry about any sour smells, as the vinegar also acts as a deodorizer for stinky clothes.
Air Dry Your Clothes
Similar to using hot water when washing your clothes, using a dryer for all your clothes can cause shrinkage or damage to certain fabrics. If it’s an option, it’s better to air dry most of your clothes and reserve the dryer function for your cotton shirts, jeans, and pajamas.
Put up a clothesline and hang your clothes to dry. If you live somewhere warm, the outdoor heat can quickly dry your clothes, and the fresh air can dissipate any lingering odors. If you don’t have space for a clothesline, get a collapsible or foldable drying rack.
Even if your washing machine makes it more convenient to do your laundry, you still need to put some effort into knowing how to use it correctly so that your clothes stay in good shape. Making these small adjustments to your laundry process can have a big impact. They can extend your clothes’ lifespan and retain their quality, so you can keep wearing better-looking clothes without having to buy new ones too often.