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This Is the Correct Way to Wash Your Clothes

Are your clothes fading or becoming ruined just weeks after you purchase them? You might be washing your clothes wrong.

Cleaning clothes is no easy task, but doing so the right way ensures clothes stay neat and fresh looking as long as possible — and saves you money in the long run. That’s why knowing how to properly clean your clothes is a must.

Sort Your Clothes

First things first, it’s time to sort dirty clothes according to color. Wash dark clothes with other dark clothes, and white clothes with other whites to prevent dark colors from bleeding to lighter clothes. Sorting also allows you to bleach whites without worrying about lightening dark clothes. You can create a “medium” or “light” pile, containing clothes that are medium to light in color (but not white).

Read Clothing Labels

Not sure if your clothes should be washed in a washing machine, washed by hand, or taken to a dry cleaner? Need to know if your clothes are okay to go in the dryer? Read clothing labels to find out how each item should be washed -- especially for dress pants, button-down shirts, delicate clothes, and sweaters.

Pre-Treat Stains

Treat stains with a small amount of stain remover (before washing the clothes) to prevent stains from setting and becoming permanent. Use a soft toothbrush to rub stain remover into your clothes, or use a to-go stain removing “pen.”

Choose the Best Temperature

Knowing which temperature to wash clothes in helps keep clothes looking newer longer.

  • Cold water is generally best for darker colored clothes or new clothes to prevent colors from bleeding. Cold water is also useful for washing sweaters, delicates, jeans, fine fabrics, and clothes that might shrink.
  • Warm water is often useful for lighter-colored or white clothes, to help remove dirt and bacteria.
  • Hot water can be helpful for heavily-stained items and disinfecting bath towels, washcloths, and dish towels. it also helps keep white clothes as white as possible (along with using bleach).

Know Your Detergents

Ever wondered which detergent you should be using to clean your clothes?

  • For darker-colored clothes, look for a detergent designed specifically for colored clothes.
  • Use color-safe bleach to remove stains from colored clothing
  • Pick chlorine bleach to help brighten whites (avoid using bleach with silk, leather, spandex, wool, and mohair)
  • Use a fabric softener to keep clothes soft and fluffy, prevent static, and protect clothes against fading, stretching, and fuzziness.

Know Washing Machine Settings

Know which washing machines cycles are best for your clothes, to maximize cleanliness and make clothes last longer.

  • Use a regular/normal cycle for heavily-stained clothes, linens, cottons, denim, bedding, and towels.
  • Use a permanent press cycle for polyesters, knits and other synthetic fibers to help prevent wrinkling.
  • Use delicate cycles for wools, washable silks, lingerie, sheer fabrics, and clothes containing embellishments.

Choose the Right Dryer Setting

Picking the right dryer setting can save you time doing laundry — without ruining clothes.

  • Choose high heat (regular) settings for jeans, whites, sheets, linens, towels, and pre-shrunk clothing items.
  • Pick medium heat (permanent press) settings to prevent colored clothes from fading, while ensuring clothes don’t lose shape or wrinkle.
  • Use low heat (delicate) settings for fragile clothes, frail fabrics, and knits.

Remove Clothes from Washing Machines Right Away

Waiting to remove clothes from the washing machine boosts the risk for color bleeding — and musty smells may begin to form. So place clothes in the dryer (or hang dry clothes) the same day you wash them to keep clothes fresh.

Avoid the Dryer When Possible

While the dryer is certainly a convenient option, avoid using it if you don’t have to. Too much drying (especially with high heat) can fade clothes and set stains you may have missed. Drying clothes that aren’t supposed to be dried can ruin or shrink clothes. So if you can skip the dryer, do so.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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