You're Doing Your Laundry Wrong

Brilliance | Dec. 09, 2017

From using too much detergent to leaving your zippers unzipped, you're most likely doing your laundry completely wrong. Don't worry—we'll figure this out together. Time to get smarter about the wash.

Why It's Important

Laundry day means dancing around in your sweats to Beyonce while throwing your overflowing laundry "to the left, to the left" into your washing machine. Just us? Cool. As it turns out, there are tricks to getting laundry right that most people are completely oblivious to. They'll improve the lifespan of your clothing, increase your laundry's cleanliness, and, perhaps most importantly, help the environment. Keep reading for a laundry list of washing tricks.

What You Should Do

Let's get this laundry party started. Here are 15 things you're probably doing wrong, plus tips you can start incorporating into your weekly (hopefully) routine:

1. Stop washing clothes after every use. Unless you sweat a lot or smell terrible, you're better off saving energy and water by repeating outfits. Bonus: your clothes won't wear out as quickly.

2. You're bad at sorting things. You probably know not to mix darks and whites, but you also shouldn't mix towels with synthetic clothing, or fleece with anything else.

3. Don't overload your machine. Your clothes won't be as clean, and you're also increasing your chances of creasing. No one wants creasing.

4. Slow down on the detergent. Using too much detergent can actually leave your clothes more dirty. Experts recommend ¼ of a cap per load.

5. Re-think fabric softener. You shouldn't use fabric softeners with towels, or overdoing fabric softener in general. Tip: use white vinegar instead.

6. Pretreat those oil-based stains. If you treat an oily spot with a dab of of liquid dishwashing detergent, it should be ready for the machine.

7. Wash down feather items at the laundromat. Down jackets, comforters and pillows need to go through the wash cycle twice so the detergent doesn't get stuck in the feathers. Use a laundromat's high-capacity machines, and you're golden.

8. Don't machine wash your bathing suits. Either rinse them with water after use, or wash your suit in cold water by hand with mild soap.

9. Jeans aren't one wash fits all. Some people choose not to wash their jeans very often to avoid fading. If you do wash them, however, turn them inside out, wash cold, and hang to dry.

10. Keep zippers zipped, and unbutton those buttons. Open zippers can destroy your clothes, and buttoned buttons will weaken the threads that hold them.

11. Don't let dark clothes fade—let them hang. You should wash dark clothes inside out and in cold water. Then, opt to hang dry to avoid further fading.

12. Dryer balls > dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are wasteful, but dryer balls are reusable!

13. When in doubt, air dry it out. When you do use your drying machine, utilize all of the heat cycles—Permanent Press is typically your safest bet.

14. Stop letting your damp clothes sit. Your wet clothes are building up bacteria as they sit in your machine. Not to mention, they smell.

15. For the love of clothes, keep your machine clean. Gunk can build up, meaning your clothes will stay dirty.

Ready, set, go wash a load of clothes! Mom will be proud.

Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Videos About Laundry

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