Washing clothes: these 5 common mistakes are ruining your clothing

Washing clothes: these 5 common mistakes are ruining your clothing

Doing the laundry is a bit of an art. If you haven’t mastered it, there’s a risk your washing machine will wear out your clothes more than wearing them will.

1. Undone zips and bra hooks

Undone bras, zips or velcro fasteners are a danger to your clothes in the washing machine. They can get caught on your garments, roughen up fibres or even tear holes in your clothes. So before you throw your laundry in the washing machine, make sure all fasteners are closed.

2. Over-intensive wash cycles

It’s not just overly high temperatures, but also intense spinning that puts stress on the fibres of your clothes. For your everyday garments, a spin speed of 800 and a temperature of 30 degrees is usually sufficient. Most laundry detergents these days are suitable for gentle wash cycles. If your clothing’s heavily stained, you’re better off treating it separately before washing. Obviously, different rules apply to bedclothes, bath towels and underwear. They usually need to be washed at 60 degrees and spun at 1,200.

3. Excessive use of detergent

The more washing detergent the better? Wrong. An overly high dose may result in heavy foaming, which will affect the wash performance. It also leaves residue in your machine and on your clothes, which can lead to unpleasant odours and discolouration.

And even if some of them make you think they are – no washing detergent is an all-purpose weapon. So-called heavy-duty or all-purpose detergents are only suitable for light colours and easy-care textiles. This is because they contain bleaching agents and other optical brighteners. Special editions are for marketing purposes only. For coloured and dark washes, you should use colour detergent. They don’t contain brighteners and protect your clothes from colour bleeding. For delicates such as silk and wool, go for a mild detergent. They’re made for gentle programmes with a small load and are particularly gentle on fibres.

4. Unprotected delicates

Remember: garments that stain or wear easily should be turned inside out or even washed in a laundry net. This protects them from friction and twisting. Take extra care with items that have prints or appliqués as well as with denim and fine materials such as silk or lace.

5. Overloaded washing machine

It’s tempting to cram a whole pile of laundry into the machine to save time and energy. But a packed drum can reduce the wash cycle’s effectiveness or even cause damage. If the garments are pressed too hard against each other and against the drum of the machine, excessive strain is put on the fibres. The general recommendation is to fill your washing machine about two thirds at most. This way you make sure that the load has enough space to move freely in the drum.

Header image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

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Has endless love for shoulder pads, Stratocasters and sashimi, but a limited tolerance for bad impressions of her Eastern Swiss dialect.

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