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7 Ways Not to Ruin Your Clothes in the Laundry

You’ll never shrink a beloved top or fade a pair of black pants again once you know these common laundry mistakes.

iStock/Peter Hermus

Mistake: Drying your lingerie and delicates on high

Most of us are in a rush and just want to get the laundry done as fast a possible, so we automatically put everything we have washed on high to dry. That is not the smartest move because that can lead to shrinking and destroy mesh and lace fabric. Instead wash lingerie on the delicate cycle then air dry on a drying rack. Next time you throw a load of dirty clothes in the wash, make sure you avoid making one of these 10 laundry mistakes.


Mistake: Washing your jeans too often

If you remove your jeans at the end of the day and toss them in the dirty clothes pile to be washed, you’re making a mistake. Not a great idea say experts since washing too often can cause denim to fade and break down. Instead wash jeans in the cold cycle when they start to smell or have an obvious stain. In between washings, try this denim tip: place jeans in a plastic bag in the freezer after each wear to kill bacteria.


Mistake: Washing darks in hot water instead of cold

Washing colored clothes in warm or hot water can cause them to prematurely fade. A better idea is to wash in cold H2O and use laundry detergent that is specifically designed for dark clothes to help maintain their color. By the way—you can also use cold water to remove certain stains from clothes (including pesky mustard stains). Here’s a guide on how to get mustard out of clothes.


Mistake: Not washing and drying your clothes inside out

Throwing your blouses in the washing machine or dryer without turning them out causes the fabric to pill and dull. Prevent premature aging by taking a second to turn clothing inside out before washing.


Mistake: Letting stains sit too long

The easiest way to destroy your favorite white shirt is to procrastinate on a spill. Once it sets in to the fabric it can be near impossible to get it out. Dab affected area with dish detergent or a stain remover like Shout. Hand wash and rinse then wash in the washing machine the next time you do a load. (Here’s how to fix these 50 everyday mistakes that may be harming your health!)

iStock/Ekaterina Minaeva

Mistake: Ignoring care labels

Pay attention to the directions from manufacturers to ensure that your clothing lasts the maximum amount of time. If a sweater says wash in cold water and hang to dry, follow the instructions to prevent shrinking. If you aren’t sure what those care labels mean, check out this guide to decoding washing symbols.

iStock/Amy Coldwell

Mistake: Forgetting to check all the pockets

If you put a pair of pants through the washer and dryer with a tissue in it, you’ll wind up with little white pieces of lint all over your clothes, while coins and keys can scratch and damage your machines. Another item to watch out for: candy of all sorts, which can melt and be a mess. If you have little ones at home, this advice goes double! On the flip side, here are 16 surprising things you can clean in the washing machine.