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Living Space: 7 common laundry mistakes that could be damaging your clothes

Jessica Bennett, BHG.com on

Doing laundry involves more than simply tossing clothes into the washing machine and pulling them out when they’re clean. It requires proper prep work, detergent measuring and cleanup to keep fabrics (and your washer and dryer) in top shape. If you’re not careful, certain laundry mistakes can damage your clothing and impact the effectiveness of your washer. To avoid these issues, be sure to follow the best practices for washing and drying with each load. And always steer clear of these common laundry mistakes to get the best clean every time.

1. You use too much laundry detergent.

It might seem like using more detergent would help get your clothes cleaner, but in fact, the opposite is true. Adding too much detergent can create extra suds that don’t completely rinse out of clothes, leaving behind a sticky residue that attracts more dirt, dust and bacteria. Pay close attention to the fill line as you measure detergent into the cup, and use only the amount recommended for the size of your laundry load.

2. You don’t sort laundry by material.

You likely know that light-colored clothing should be washed separately from darks, but it’s also a good idea to sort items by the material. Separate heavier items, such as jeans and sweaters, from lightweight blouses and dress shirts to prevent abrasion and damage to the more delicate fabrics. Always wash towels, bedding and other bulky items separate from clothing. Grouping items by fabric also helps your laundry dry evenly, as heavy items take longer to dry. To avoid getting sweater fuzz on your dress pants, you can also sort laundry by items that shed lint and those that attract it.

3. You don’t zip up garments before washing.


Zippers have jagged teeth that can snag other fabrics in the washer. To prevent damage to other garments, take the time to zip up all zippers before washing. You should also fasten clasps on bras and other items to avoid snags.

4. You button shirts before washing.

Unlike zippered items, button-down shirts should be left unbuttoned when laundered. This helps guard against tears in the buttonholes and protects the button threads from being pulled and loosened in the wash. And don’t forget to unfasten buttons on shirt sleeves or collars as well.

5. You close your front-loader door after a wash cycle.


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