Once we encounter problems with our laundry routine or washing machine, we typically search frantically for the cheapest and quickest solution. While there are indeed numerous excellent laundry tips circulating that can definitely save you money and time, there are many laundry myths that are just simply time wasters and could even make your problems worse! We figured that we should give you a helping hand. In How To Do Laundry For Dummies, we debunk many of the prevalent laundry myths circulating around and offer you real solutions that can make your laundry routine much easier. While some of these laundry “secrets” may have been effective at one time, new technologies and products have unfortunately rendered them obsolete. We will cover everything from hand washing, fabric softeners, laundry detergents, and removing tough stains.
Laundry Myth 1: Extra Detergent = Cleaner Clothes
How much detergent should you use?
One of the most common misconceptions out there is that you need to use a ton of laundry detergent to get your clothes clean. This just isn’t true and in fact, could cause problems for your clothes. Many mainstream detergents are loaded with harmful chemicals that can damage your clothing when applied in high doses. Using too much generic detergent could cause soap to stick to your clothing and also have them not rinse out properly. This can also cause a lot of residual buildup in your washer. It is best to use a high-quality biodegradable enzymatic detergent.
So what’s the best way to get your clothes clean? First off, washing your clothes often is a great way to prevent dirt particles from building up in the fabrics. Any clothes that get exposed to high levels of dirt should be washed immediately. Remove new stains immediately, preferably before you place the garments in a washing machine. Make sure you know how to separate clothes for washing so as to avoid fading and discoloration.
Laundry Myth 2: You can only hand wash “hand wash” garments
Can you machine-wash “hand-wash” clothes?
Before you wash any item of clothing, you should always check the washing care label to see what the suggested washing method is. Still, hand washing is definitely a chore that nobody looks forward to due to its time-consuming nature.
Certain garments that have a label of “hand wash” can actually be placed in a washer, just as long you’re careful. With these delicate items, you will want to use the “delicate” setting on your machine, if it has one. If not, use a cool setting on the short washing cycle. You will find two types of labels on delicate clothing items: “hand wash” and “hand wash only.” It’s important to only hand wash “hand wash only” labeled garments.
When machine washing clothes on a “delicate” setting, make sure to not mix colors. It is also a good idea to turn all garments inside-out in order to prevent snagging; there are also mesh bags that you can purchase for washing delicate clothing. Utilizing a high-performance Delicate Fabric Wash is recommended.
Laundry Myth 3: You should wash jeans frequently
Is washing jeans too much a bad idea?
It may seem a bit strange, but denim jeans should not be washed too often. Some even say you shouldn’t ever wash jeans, at least not unless they are extremely dirty or muddy. This is especially true when washing raw denim jeans since the fibers in the material will become more faded and loose the more they are washed.
Jean Washing Tips
Washing jeans the least amount possible will help your favorite pair of denim last much longer. You will find that the color and fabric quality will maintain higher integrity over time. If you absolutely have to wash your precious jeans frequently, use the least amount of detergent possible, and turn your jeans inside-out first. It is also a good idea to use cold water, and then air dry them as opposed to using a tumble dryer.
Laundry Myth 4: You always have to use fabric softener
Do you need fabric softener?
Sometimes you need fabric softener but not all the time! Fabric softeners are excellent for adding a fluffy and soft feel to your clothes, blankets, and bedding. You should only add fabric softener in the rinse cycle; never during the washing cycle! Fabric softener is essentially an extra treatment for whatever you are washing, working by enabling the fibers on the garments to stand up, giving them a softer feel.
Fabric softener can work quite well for most of your laundry, but you’ll want to avoid adding it on towels. If the towel is softer, the towel will absorb less. Not that they won’t still work, but you will have to make a decision on whether you want fluffy and soft towels or sturdy towels that truly get the job done.
Laundry Myth 5: Elevated dryer heat will cause shrinkage
What causes clothing shrinkage?
Are you guilty of consistently shrinking your jumpers, jeans, and other garments? We understand your annoyance, but it actually isn’t high dryer temperature that is causing clothing shrinkage! Just like the heat from irons, elevated dryer temperatures will result in the clothing fibers to stretch and relax.
Shrinking is usually caused by either the washer or the tumbling effect of the dryer, and not heat. It really does depend on what type of fibers are being washed though, since clothing made from wool and cotton shouldn’t be machine dried or else they will probably shrink. The temperature of water in your washer is generally what actually causes your clothes to shrink, so make sure to read care labels carefully before deciding what temperature to wash clothes in.
Laundry Myth 6: Hairsprays can remove ink stains
Successful ink stain removal
When talking about removing stains, you’ll often hear about tons of “secrets” for removing stains that utilize common household items. That’s excellent news for your clothes as well as your wallet! Regardless, you should still be wary about which hacks actually work and those that just simply don’t work.
While there are numerous hacks for stain removal that do really work, the one that really stands out as one that just doesn’t work anymore is using hairspray as a stain remover. During the 1950s when hairspray was made with high alcohol levels, this technique probably worked quite well. Hairsprays just aren’t made that way anymore, and if you try using hairspray on stains now, you’ll most likely just make it worse. If you decide to purchase a stain remover, it is best to stay away from store-bought ones as these are generally made with low-quality ingredients. High-performance stain removers made with high-quality ingredients will ensure that even the toughest stains are removed without a problem.
Laundry Myth 7: Sock eating monsters actually exists
Is the sock monster real?
Where did those socks go? Trust us, the sock boogie man didn’t eat them. Maybe your washing machine did? Let’s explore a few possible scenarios.
The most likely place that your socks went is either beneath the rubbery seal if you have a front loading washer or in that crevice between the outer or inner drums if you have a top load washer. Another obvious possibility is that your socks simply just got lost between your bedroom and the laundry room. If you happen to have an especially large family, it’s definitely possible that a rogue sock just went missing into another family member’s drawer.
There are a few ways that you can help prevent missing socks. For one, there are mesh bags made specifically for socks that you can place you socks in while you wash them. You should also make sure to pair your socks together immediately after they are done washing. Always check the washer again after you’re done with a load to make sure that no stragglers were left behind.
Now that we’ve debunked these 7 prevalent laundry misconceptions in our How To Do Laundry For Dummies post, you can finally feel like a true laundry expert and prepare yourself for future laundry victories.