IF your clothes have been coming out the wash less than sparkling, then it may be that your laundry routine needs an upgrade.
Are you using too much detergent? Overdoing the bleach? Even if you've been doing laundry for many years, these simple laundry mistakes are surprisingly easy to make.
Learn how to do laundry the right way, from how to wash clothes to the best way to sort laundry.
But don’t worry if you’re not certain as we’ve spoken to the experts to find out if you’ve been washing your clothes wrong – and why it’s taking you longer than it needs to.
Laundry expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap said most people get the amount of detergent wrong; either way too much or not enough.
He said: “I see this all the time, people will put lots of washing powder or liquid detergent in their wash, and their clothes won’t rinse properly.
“Clothes end up coming out of the washing machine with a dry/crispy feeling, and when dried the softness of the fabrics is gone, leaving you with an itchy, scratchy piece of clothing.
“With pods, people often use one pod per wash, but for washing loads that are over 7kg, you should actually use two!
“Not enough detergent means clothes can come out still stained or smelling bad, as they haven’t been washed properly.
“If you’re ever unsure, just check the detergent label. How much you should put in varies on whether you live in a soft or hard water area, and the size of your washing load.”
TOP 5 COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE
BLEACHING THEIR WHITES
Laundry expert Deyan said something he always sees people do – but they shouldn’t – is add bleach to their white washing.
He said: “I’ve seen people add bleach in with their white washing to make clothing whiter – it doesn’t work!
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“In fact, prolonged use of bleach on white clothing can cause the fibres to wear much faster, as bleach is corrosive. Bleach will also ruin wool, leather and silk, so avoid bleaching any items with these fabrics.
“Instead, it’s best to treat any stains and put half a cup of white vinegar in your rinse cycle for brighter whites.”
WASHING CLOTHING AFTER ONE USE
Deyan also explained that you do not need to wash your clothes after only one wear!
The expert said it will save you time, money, and your clothing’s longevity if you stick to washing your clothes every three wears.
He said this is because too much washing can result in product build-up (especially if you use too much detergent) and can cause garments to bobble, tear, and even shrink.
However he did add that, of course, underwear is the exception!
HANGING CLOTHES ON THE RADIATOR
The CEO of Laundryheap added using your radiators or a towel rail to dry clothes will make your boiler work harder than it needs to, adding to the overall running costs of the system.
He said: “Hanging your clothes on the radiator can actually cause mould to thrive!
“Steer clear of putting your clothes on the radiator and opt to dry them in the tumble dryer or, if that’s too pricey, use a clothes horse and dehumidifier on the clothes drying setting.”
MIXING WHITES AND GREYS
Deyan said a common mistake people make when washing their clothes – is thinking that it’s fine to put greys and whites in the same load.
He said greys should go in with darker coloured clothing, as the colour can still run on items.
He added: “If you continue to mix greys and whites in the same wash, then eventually your whites will end up looking dull and grey.”
WASHING CLOTHES AT HIGH HEAT
Elsewhere the laundry expert said he’s known some people to wash their clothes at 60 degrees or higher for every wash to ‘get rid of germs’ – but this isn’t needed.
Although a hot wash is sometimes needed for intense stain removal or hygiene purposes, you do not need to use such a high setting after every wash load.
Not only does it ruin some fabrics (wool, silk, viscose, lycra to name a few) but it can also make your average wash a lot more expensive.
He said: “Save time and money by switching to 30-degree washes and choosing bio detergent/pods for better stain removal.”
NOT TURNING DELICATE CLOTHING INSIDE OUT
Meanwhile, cleaning expert Joyce from HomeHow said a mistake some people make when washing clothes is not turning delicate clothing inside out before washing.
She said: “The rotations in each wash cause friction between clothes and this friction can cause printed graphics to fade and can cause pilling on certain fabrics such as wool and cashmere.
“However, if you turn them inside out this damage will be more subtle as well as keeping them clean.”
Joyce added that another thing most people get wrong is putting spandex items in the washer.
It is a pain, but she advised that you need to hand wash bathing suits in cold water to help them retain their stretch.
WASHING SHIRTS WITH THE BUTTONS DONE UP
Elsewhere expert Joyce said it’s a common mistake when people forget to unbutton their shirts before putting them in the washing machine.
This can lead to the shirts breaking and the buttons flying off. She advised, you should always make sure you unbutton your shirts before tossing them in the washing machine.
She said: “Similar to zips, not zipping your trousers all the way to the top– metal teeth can snag clothing that’s being washed in the same load.
“Make sure your trouser zippers are fully closed before throwing them in the washing machine.”
LETTING THE DRYER REST BETWEEN LOADS
Letting the dryer rest between loads is another mistake people make when washing clothes.
Joyce said some people like to wait an hour after one cycle completes before putting in a new load.
However, running back-to-back dryer loads is more efficient – it lets you take advantage of the retained heat from the previous cycle, cutting down on energy use.
NOT CLEANING YOUR DRYER PROPERLY
Joyce added that some people make the mistake of not cleaning their dryer properly.
She advised: “Make sure you empty the lint filter after each use as lint build up can clog the duct over time and become a fire hazard.
As well as this, once a year you should detach the hose from the back of the dryer and use a long brush to push out the lint and scrub the lint filter once a year with a small toothbrush and a bit of detergent.”
Elsewhere Laundry expert Deyan revealed the strangest thing he’s seen people do when washing their clothes – is using the famous ‘stripping’ technique.
He said: “Your clothing does not need to be stripped in a bath full of detergent! Not only will it ruin your clothes, but it will also cost you a lot of money when it comes to laundry products.
“Plus the fact, if you don’t rinse the clothes well at the end, you risk irritating your skin due to the product buildup within the clothes.”
HOW TO MAKE WASHING YOUR CLOTHES EASIER AND QUICKER
Laundry expert Deyan and cleaning expert Joyce revealed there’s a number of ways to make washing your clothes easier, quicker and more efficient.
Deyan explained that you should avoid washing every wear and learn to refresh your clothes instead.
He said: “Use a vinegar spray to deodorise your clothes, and spot treat any stains with white vinegar. As the clothing dries the vinegar smell will lift and your clothes will be odour neutral.
“Plus, have dedicated wash baskets. This will save you a lot of time!
“Avoid having one large basket for all of your washing, instead have a multi-compartment wash basket with 3 different areas: lights, darks and mixed.
“This will save you lots of time when it comes to sorting your laundry and will also help you to avoid any colour runs from misplaced coloured items!”
Deyan also explained that you can use a tumble dryer to give clothes a quick refresh if you’re strapped for time and don’t have spare clean clothes.
Use a vinegar spray to deodorise your clothes, and spot treat any stains with white vinegar.
Or use ice cubes in the tumble dryer if you don’t have time to iron. The steam from the ice cubes will work to decrease your clothing and you can get on with other things whilst you wait!
Be wary of which fabrics you use this on though, as wool, silk, lycra and viscose, won’t do well with this hack.
He added: “Do smaller loads on a quick setting. Instead of waiting for your washing to pile up and putting it on a full wash (which can occasionally take up to 3 hours depending on the machine!), it’s much quicker to do half a load on a 45/30 minute set.
“You will need to add some stain remover (such as a tablespoon of soda crystals to your detergent draw) but it will save you a lot of time compared to waiting for a full load.
“Also Pre-treat stains with vinegar. If you have any stains on your clothes then apply white vinegar as soon as you can leave it to penetrate before you wash your clothes.
“This will help to lift the stain much quicker and ensure it comes out in the wash.”
Meanwhile Joyce from HomeHow said you can cut the time spent washing by using the quicker washing machine settings.
She said some settings have a quicker time on them, and this will help save time when it comes to washing.
Most washing machines have a quick wash and a spin setting, these will complete the washing cycle in more or less 30 minutes.
The spin setting will also remove excess water from your clothes, allowing them to dry faster.
Joyce added: “Also only fold what you need to – be picky when it comes to folding, you don’t need to fold everything.
“If you have enough wardrobe space and hangers, try hanging most of your clothes instead. This will save so much time putting your clothes away and it will minimise creases which will help you cut down on ironing.
“Same as with washing, only washing when you need to as washing your clothes less often extends the life in them and saves microfibres releasing in the wash.
If you can get another wear out of something, pop it back in your wardrobe!”
We previously shared how cleaning fanatics have been left shocked by list of when clothes should be washed… and can’t agree if PJs should be changed DAILY.
In other cleaning news, this is how to use fruit and veg to clean.
And this mum got her tired sofa looking brand new using a shaver to remove lint balls.
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