Laundry seems so simple at face value: you put the clothing and soap in the washing machine, move it to the dryer, fold and put away. However, there are a few oft-made laundry mistakes that can harm your clothing, ruin your appliances and generally make the process far more complicated than it needs to be. Here are the top ten laundry mistakes to avoid.
1. Using too much cleaning product. Do you add heaping scoops of detergent rather than measuring it out carefully? If so, you’re putting extra wear and tear on your washing machine and causing soapy buildup in your clothing.
2. Adding clothing at the wrong time. If you are using bleach, let the washing machine fill before adding the bleach and then the clothes. If you are not adding bleach, then you can put in the clothing, then the detergent, then water.
3. Overusing bleach. Bleach is not necessary for most stains and certainly not for your everyday pile of whites. Bleach is destructive to fabric, and it can eventually leave your whites brittle and yellowed. You’ll get more mileage out of your clothes if you use bleach only for an occasional “oomph.”
4. Letting your machine shake and shimmy. Your washing machine should not rock or walk across the floor during the spin cycle. This will lead to more damage and higher repair bills. Level the machine with a piece of plywood instead.
5. Overfilling the machine. Overfilling a washer makes it wear out faster, and can leave dirt and detergent residue on your clothing. Overloading your dryer will leave your clothes wrinkled and increase energy costs.
6. Forgetting to clean your dryer. Lint and fabric softener residue can build up over time, leading to higher energy costs and posing a fire hazard. Once a year, detach your dryer hose and run a vent brush through it.
7. Not checking the labels. Many people ignore the instructions for washing their clothes, which can ruin clothing.
8. Scrubbing stains vigorously. This is never a good idea. Scrubbing wastes time and tears up the fabric, so blot stains with a dry, clean cloth instead.
9. Leaving zippers, hooks, and Velcro closures undone. These can all catch on other clothing and damage them. Make sure everything is properly fastened before it goes into your washing machine.
10. Neglecting the permanent press setting on your dryer. This setting really does leave clothes with fewer wrinkles by drying them at a hot temperature and then cooling them down while still tumbling.
Changing these ten destructive habits will lead to longer and better-working appliances, as well as clothes that look great for years. Treat your appliances and clothing like the investments that they are!
Of course, there will always be times when your appliances break down and need repair (no matter how gentle you are with them). Learn how a home warranty from HSA could get your washer and dryer back into action without completely blowing your budget.