7 Tips from a Laundry Guru to Keep Your Clothes in Tip Top Shape

I’m 46. I’ve been doing laundry for a long time, and thought I knew just about all that I could about washing and drying. Last week I was fortunate to sit down with a dear friend and self-described laundry guru over coffee. I discovered there’s always more to learn. Below are tips I’ve compiled to protect and prolong the life of your clothing.

Wash Like Colors Together

This is a biggie, and she confirmed it’s true. No matter how much I wish it weren’t – because I am totally guilty of throwing a rainbow of fabrics in my machine at once – one should sort their laundry. Colors will bleed, and if you’re washing whites and darks together, it won’t take long for your whites to turn gray. If you roll the dice by blending colors, make sure to use cold water to mitigate effects of bleeding of dyes.

Sort Like Fabrics

Jeans and heavier fabrics can do a number on delicate blouses and bras, and metal buttons can damage things like sheets and pillow cases. Wash delicate items together to prolong their life, and group more resilient fabrics like jeans, corduroys and towels. 

Wash Clothes Inside Out

I’m forever telling my kids to turn their clothes right side in when they toss them in the basket – maybe it’s not laziness, maybe they’re on to something? LOL. The spin cycle can do real damage to delicate fabrics, so when in doubt, turn it inside out.

Zip It Up

Any item that has a zipper should be zipped closed. This will help protect it during both the wash and dry cycles. The same goes for bras. Clasp the backs together before they go in.

Choose the Right Setting

Normal is a fine setting… for run of the mill cotton t-shirts. For other fabrics, like delicates, bedding, etc., choose wisely. Always read the care tag to determine the optimal washing setting and water temperature, as well as drying instructions.

Cut Back on the Detergent

A few months ago, we started noticing gunk in the bottom of our washing machine after I would run the cycle. I regularly use laundry machine washing tabs as recommended to keep the drum clean, so it took us a bit to determine exactly what was going on. Turns out I was using way too much detergent for our high efficiency washer, and this caused build up. You really only need 1-2 tablespoons of laundry soap per wash. This will save you money, and it’s also better for the fabric. 

Don’t Throw Everything into the Dryer

The care tags on your clothes are there for a reason, and you should heed their advice. If your sweater says “lay flat to dry,” tossing it in the dryer could cause irreparable harm. Even if the tags say it’s okay to go in the dryer, there are lots of things I routinely hang dry anyhow. Underwire bras and sports bras will clearly have a longer life, but I also take out any quick-drying fabrics such as sports clothing. If my kid’s soccer jersey goes in the dryer with a bunch of towels which take four times as long to get dry, his jersey is not going to last very long. 

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