Laundry 101: Tips You Need to Know

By Victoria Robertson on May 31, 2019

When it comes to laundry, it’s easy to accidentally shrink a shirt, or dye your whites pink; there’s a reason they are some of the biggest laundry faux pas. But when it comes to laundry, is there really anything else that you have been doing wrong?

The answer, whether you want to admit it or not, is “yes.” When it comes to laundry, it’s important to have some tips in your back pocket so you can ensure your clothes are not only getting clean, but that they are also lasting long enough to wear again and again.

So, without further ado, here are six laundry tips to help you be the best launderer you can be!

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1. Separate Loads

This is one of the most important laundry etiquette items, and many people aren’t even aware of it. When it comes to doing laundry, it’s important that you separate your loads. What this means is that you shouldn’t be doing a load of clothes combined with a load of towels and a load of blankets.

The more you stuff into your washing machine, the more likely you are to mess things up. For instance, the fuzz from towels can easily transfer to your cotton shirts, leaving you picking them off once they come out of the dryer.

As a general rule of thumb, run loads with things that are alike. So clothes washed with clothes, towels washed with towels and blankets washed with blankets. Simple enough, right?

2. Separate Colors

This is one that more people are familiar with, but many still don’t do. It’s important to separate your colors when doing your laundry, as there is more likelihood of bleeding and staining when you combine them.

Basically, you should be doing a load of whites, a load of colors and a load of darks. Some combine colors and darks into one load as there is less risk of cross-contamination, but be see the next rule in regards to this.

Generally speaking, separate your colors and you will avoid color-related catastrophes.

3. Use the “Once Washed” Rule

As mentioned above, mixing colors and darks, or whites and darks, is possible, but there is a strict rule for it.

If you have an item that has never been washed before, you shouldn’t be mixing it with other colors. For instance, if you have a brand new black shirt and you have been mixing your darks and whites when you do laundry, do not include that black shirt in the mixed load, as you will likely get some color bleed-off from the new shirt that can ruin the lighter clothes in the load.

The general rule of thumb here is the “once washed rule,” which means that you should wash an item at least once with the appropriate color designation before combining it with others. It’s best to wash it more rather than less, but at least once is the rule.

4. Don’t Dry Everything

Despite popular belief, not everything belongs in a dryer. If you have a cotton shirt, a shirt where the sleeves are just the right length or a knit sweater/cardigan, throwing these items in the dryer is a mistake.

Basically, if an item feels like it may shrink or get ruined in the dryer, it probably will. For this reason, you should be hanging these items to dry rather than tossing them in the dryer. Most tags will indicate the necessity here, but to be safe, er on the side of caution.

5. Use Cold Water

When running the washer, it’s important that you use cold water. Many individuals will use warm water, but there is more likelihood of color bleeding and clothing shrinking in this case. In addition, items with imprints may fade faster in warmer water.

This ultimately falls to an individual’s preference (as some make the same arguments for warm water), so run a test in your washer and determine which method you prefer!

6. Utilize Garment Bags

Finally, and one of the more overlooked items on this list, it’s important to utilize garment bags when doing laundry.

Many are too lazy to do so and end up with loose strings, stretched out knits and destroyed delicates. Using a garment bag is the perfect way to ensure your more delicate clothing items are protected and can be worn again, even after going through the washer and dryer.

Again, doing your laundry can either be disastrous or entirely successful, it all depends on your knowledge of how to best take care of your clothing.

Use these six tips when doing your laundry, but also remember: when in doubt, read the tag.

Good luck everyone! And here’s to a pile of clean clothes waiting for you at the end of the week, perfectly washed and ready for their next usage!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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