Do you also make these laundry mistakes?
I don’t claim to be a laundry expert, but until recently I was certain that this was a chore I was mostly good at doing. Well, it turns out I was wrong.
The other day I was complaining to my friend about how one of my shirts came out of the washer with a snag in it, and she asked me if I left any zippers undone. Maybe it’s a common sense thing, but I truly haven’t paid attention to it until now.
This is just one of the laundry mistakes I have been making without realizing it because, yes, I was curious to see which steps I do wrong or avoid. That’s why I reached out to some laundry experts, and they shared with me some of the most common slip-ups people do when they wash their clothes.
Check this out!
1. Just sorting darks and lights
One of the most common laundry mistakes is not sorting the clothes the right way. As a rule of thumb, the more you sort them, the fresher they will be. Separate muddy or very dirty laundry from lightly soiled pieces, and obrasive or heavy fabrics like denim from more delicate ones.
By the way, for denim stuff, turn inside out, wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, then dry at a low temperature to prevent fading.
When it comes to sheets, you can prevent them from twisting by washing each set separately (you can include smaller items like underwear in the load). In other words, avoid washing the whole family’s sheets at once.
According to laundry experts, small items help prevent twisting because they have different tumble patterns.
2. Abusing the dryer
This is on my list of laundry mistakes I’ve been making: turning to my dryer after every laundry session. Experts recommend giving your dryer a break whenever possible. If you have time to air-dry, do it.
Not only will you save energy by not running the dryer, but it’s a gentler alternative for delicate fabrics and helps stretchy pieces, like yoga pants, to keep their shape.
Also, whenever you tumble-dry, make sure you don’t overload your dryer or over-dry fabrics. One of the most common laundry mistakes people make after using the dryer is not folding or hanging the clothes immediately. This often leads to wrinkles, which we all know can be annoyingly stubborn.
3. Mixing socks with clothes
We’ve all been there; you wash your clothes only to find out you lost another sock. Again. It’s like there’s a secret spot where socks seem to hang out, hiding from you. But no, this is another slip-up you can easily avoid.
Try placing the socks in the washing machine first, then tossing everything else inside. This trick makes them less likely to attach to other items, which often causes them to go missing. Simple yet effective!
4. Using too much detergent
One of the worst laundry mistakes you can make is not measuring detergent—not precisely, anyway. I’m not here to judge you, though, because I used to do the same, but to warn you that this is something that can ruin your clothes and your washer.
When you use too much laundry detergent, your washing machine won’t be able to completely rinse it out of your clothing, which can leave your garments feeling starchy and stiff. It can also cause extra wear and tear on the device itself, as the motor has to overwork to get all the suds out of your clothes.
This being said, you (and I) should definitely be measuring the laundry detergent more carefully.
Read on to discover other laundry mistakes!
5. Leaving zippers on
I’ve learned this the hard way, as I told you at the beginning of this article. According to experts, this is one of the most common laundry mistakes people make. Some of them don’t know they should do this (this was my case), while others simply forget that zippers exist when tossing the clothes inside the washing machine.
Loose zippers can snag delicate fabrics as well as scratch the door of your front-loading washer. Make sure they are all the way up before you throw them in the machine. Also, don’t forget about bras; unclipped ones can pull clothes or damage the drum if they fly around loose. Buy lengerie bags or use an old pillowcase to avoid any damage.
6. Not testing for hard water
Do you know if your house has hard water? Me neither. But for both your clothes and washer, it’s worth purchasing a hard water test (here’s an affordable one) to determine whether you have too-high levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium.
According to experts, one of the worst laundry mistakes is when people don’t test water hardness. They point out that untreated hard water can leave mineral deposits on your laundry that dull its color and eat away at its quality over time. If your home has hard water, you should take preventative measures like using a water softener to preserve your clothes.
Moreover, hard water can also cause problems with your appliances at other times. It decays pipes and adds wear and tear to your washing machine. The good news is that the same water softener you use for clothes will improve the efficiency of your washer and minimize the need for repair and replacement.
7. Skipping the filter and hose when cleaning the lint trap
After each cycle, make sure to empty the lint filter. Not doing this is one of the worst laundry mistakes, as lint buildup can clog the duct and eventually turn into a fire hazard.
Also, it’s important to clean the filter about once a year. Use a toothbrush dipped in detergent to scrub it, then rinse and air-dry. You should also detach the hose from the back of the dryer once a year (you’ll know it’s time to do it when it takes more than an hour to dry a load) and snake a long brush through it to remove lingering lint.
8. Not washing items that read “dry clean” on the label
This is something most people don’t know, but not all items that have a “dry clean” label must be dry cleaned. When you come across a piece of clothing with this type of warning, proceed with caution.
You can avoid laundry mistakes by doing a bit of research to ensure you’re washing the fabrics correctly. If you’re dealing with natural fabrics, like silks and linens, it’s probably safe to hand-wash them and let them air-dry. For items like suede, leather, and “structured pieces” (like suits and blazers), you’ll want to obey that label.
9. Not doing a quick “bleeding” test
New clothes are always tricky when it comes to washing them, and one of the worst laundry mistakes is skipping the “bleeding” test.
If you’re worried about that new red T-shirt the first time you wash it, experts recommend doing this easy test to check out its dye stability and avoid a mess. Dampen a small, discreet spot, then blot it with a white cloth to find out if the dye bleeds. If so, wash the piece of clothing on its own until the color stops running.
You can also toss an old white sock in the wash to check.
10. Not checking the pockets thoroughly
Last but not least on this list of laundry mistakes is something that most people do: not checking the pockets before washing the clothes. I’ve done this a couple of times, and it’s not fun. Yes, that’s one of those laundry mistakes I’ve learned the hard way to avoid.
Somehow a pen snuck into my dryer once, there’s been a tissue in there (several times), and even bubblegum. Luckily, I haven’t forgotten any bills in my dirty clothes’ pockets, but I have a friend who’s done that.
If you liked this article on laundry mistakes, you may also want to read Save Money! Clean Your Air Conditioner in 6 Steps like a PRO.