There’s a difference between simply washing your clothes and actually caring for them properly. It’s the difference between accidentally shrinking your new favorite shirt in the wash, and washing that shirt gently so it stays nice for a long time to come. Even though the latter approach takes a bit more time and effort in the short term, it will save you plenty of time, money, and effort in the long run!
Today I’ll be sharing 9 common laundry habits that can end up ruining your clothes. This isn’t meant to shame anyone or imply that you’re failing at laundry in some way. The purpose of this post is to provide you with useful alternatives to these laundry habits that will help you keep your clothes in great condition! We all want to take good care of the things we own, and kicking these bad laundry habits is sure to help! :-)
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9 Ways You’re Ruining Your Clothes
1. You Hang Things That Should Be Folded
Gravity is the enemy of heavier clothing items like bulky sweaters. Hanging bulky items in your closet allows gravity to pull and stretch them out of shape. Instead, fold your bulkier clothing items and store them on a shelf or in a drawer. (If you don’t have shelf or drawer space to spare, you could put your bulky clothing in a low-profile storage bag that’s easy to slide under your bed or another piece of furniture.)
Check out my post at the link below to learn which clothes you should hang and which you should fold!
2. You Don’t Sort Laundry By Soil Level
You probably already sort your light clothing from dark, but you should also be taking soil level into consideration. (“Soil level” just refers to the griminess of a particular clothing item.)
You should wash heavily soiled clothes, like your work, gardening, or exercise clothes, separately from your everyday clothes. This will help prevent grease or grime from spreading to your cleaner clothes. Using a laundry sorter cart with different bags is a great way to keep your dirtier clothes separate from the rest.
3. You Always Use Hot Water
It’s not just the heat from your dryer that can shrink your clothes! Hot water in your washing machine can also cause shrinkage, especially in fabrics like cotton and wool. Wash your cotton clothing in cool water instead to protect its shape.
4. You Don’t Zip Zippers Before Washing
Zippers have metal teeth that can easily snag on delicate items in the wash. Before you put your clothes in the washing machine, double check to make sure that any zippers are zipped up. It’s an easy way to keep those metal teeth tucked safely away during the wash cycle.
5. You Wipe Stains
If you spill something on your clothes, don’t wipe or rub it! Wiping or rubbing at stains can spread the stain around, and even heat it up and cause it to sink further into the fibers. Instead, dampen a cloth or paper towel with cool water and gently blot the stain to remove it.
6. You Don’t Wash Clothes Before Storing
If you store your clothes away when they’re not in season, be sure to wash them first. Storing clean clothes helps prevent damage from moths. It also helps ensure that your clothes will be fresh and ready to wear when you pull them out of storage in a few months!
7. You Use Fabric Softener On Workout Clothes
Fabric softener is a no-no when it comes to moisture-wicking fabrics like athletic clothing. Fabric softener leaves behind a residue that effectively cancels out those moisture-wicking properties. Not only will this make you sweatier during your workouts, but it can also lead to stubborn or even permanent odors in your gym clothes. Yuck!
Instead of using fabric softener on your workout clothes, use vinegar! It softens clothes without leaving behind any residues. Just add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle or fabric softener dispenser in your washer.
8. You Use Too Much Detergent
And speaking of residues, using too much laundry detergent can also leave behind residues on your clothing. That’s because using too much detergent means it won’t all get rinsed out, so some detergent remains in the fibers of your clothes. This residue can lead to your clothing getting dirtier, and dingier over time.
To avoid this, just make sure you’re using the recommended amount of detergent for your load size, soil level, and washing machine.
9. You Don’t Understand Laundry Symbols
Those strange symbols on the tags of your clothing can tell you everything you need to know about how to wash them! If you know what those symbols and codes mean, you’ll never have to wonder how to properly care for your any of your clothes. Visit the link below to download my printable laundry symbols cheat sheet to keep in your laundry room!
Related: Laundry Symbols Made Simple!
Do you have a tip for taking good care of your clothes, or having better laundry habits in general?