10 Bad Laundry Myths Debunked

Basket with laundry and detergents
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Some laundry tips and old wives' tales are simply a waste of time and money. Here are ten laundry myths debunked with some real information you can use that will make laundry easier.

  • 01 of 10

    Use Hair Spray to Remove Ink

    Ink stain on shirt
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    The idea of using hairspray to remove ink from laundry began in the 1950s and was actually a valid tip. It was the alcohol in hairspray that worked on the ink stain. Today's hairsprays are different from those aerosols of yesteryear. Many formulas do not even contain alcohol and can actually cause stains compounding the problem of the ink that's still on your favorite jeans.

    Fortunately, we have tips on removing both ink and hairspray stains that you can use! 

  • 02 of 10

    Add Coffee to Rinse Water to Keep Clothes Black

    coffee grounds BIG
    Steven Brisson/Moment/Getty Images

    We had not heard this myth until recently but a reader was convinced that adding a cup of black coffee to the rinse water would prevent black jeans from fading. It would take a washer-full of espresso to make a difference in the color of black jeans.

    Coffee can color fabric, but adding one cup will not keep your black clothes from fading; follow these tips to keep black clothes black.

  • 03 of 10

    Use More Detergent to Get Cleaner Clothes

    putting detergant into the washing machine
    gerenme / Getty Images

    More is not better when it comes to laundry detergent. We are all quite guilty of using too much detergent and creating excessive suds that actually redeposit soil onto our clothing. 

    Many liquid detergent caps make it difficult to see measuring lines. Take time to use a permanent marker to enhance those lines. You'll save money and get cleaner laundry. It is also a good idea to use half as much detergent as recommended and see if you are pleased with the results. You can always add more but you can never pull it out.

    If you have a front load washer, that smell coming from your machine could be because you are using too much detergent and fabric softener.

  • 04 of 10

    Treat All Stains From the Front

    Spot Treat Stains
    Judith Haeusler/Image Bank

    As tempting as it is to tackle the stain on a shirt by rubbing away, turn it inside out and start there. By treating a stain from the back of the fabric, you are pushing the stain out of the fabric fibers rather than rubbing it in deeper. Learn more about spot treating stains to save yourself from embarrassment and to reduce your laundry loads.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Chlorine Bleach Boosts Detergent Power

    bleach bottle
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    Chlorine bleach and detergents can actually cancel each other out and leave your clothes still looking dull and stained. To allow the enzymes in the laundry detergents time to do their job of whitening and brightening, wait about 5 minutes after the wash cycle begins to add your diluted bleach.

    Want to boost chlorine bleach's whitening power? Add baking soda at the same time!

  • 06 of 10

    Hot Water Kills All Laundry Germs

    Washing machine modern style
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    Unfortunately, using hot water alone for laundry does not kill all germs and bacteria. Washing clothing or linens of someone who is ill can spread the germs throughout the entire washer whether you use hot or cold water.

    Only a disinfectant like chlorine bleach, pine oil, or a phenolic disinfectant will sanitize the laundry and the washer.

  • 07 of 10

    High Dryer Heat Causes Shrinking

    Interior of real laundry room with washing machine at window at home
    evgenyatamanenko / Getty Images

    There are many reasons why clothes shrink. Some of it is beyond your control due to decisions made by the manufacturers.

    There are ways to avoid stretching and shrinking clothes; some fabric shrinkage is caused by the lack of moisture in fibers that comes from overdrying. Clothing should be removed from the dryer while still slightly damp and allowed to air dry if shrinkage is a concern.

  • 08 of 10

    Dryer Lint Is No Big Deal

    Cleaning Lint Trap
    mphillips007 / Getty Images

    If you don't mind:

    Then dryer lint is no big deal. 

    With just a little effort, your laundry routine can be better and safer. Emptying the lint trap on the dryer should be a routine step every time you use the dryer. Just check the lint filter before you press the on button. Easy, easy, easy.

    Then take the time once a year to clean the duct work and upgrade if needed. You'll save money and, possibly, the lives of your family.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Dry Cleaning Is 100% Dry

    what is dry cleaning
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Dry cleaning is a bit of misnomer. Water isn't used but other fluids are.

    Traditional dry cleaning used perchloroethylene and other solvents. Even green dry cleaners use silicone fluids and liquid carbon dioxide in their processes. The key to dry cleaning success is to select the best cleaner in your neighborhood

  • 10 of 10

    The Sock Monster Is Real

    colored socks drying on radiator
    Tara Moore / Getty Images

    Have you ever met the Sock Monster? Most missing socks are not eaten by a monster in your washer or dryer or even trapped in the machine. Most socks disappear between leaving the foot and the hamper or the hamper and the machines. Check behind your washer and dryer for a stash of socks that have fallen. Check the inside of pant legs for those secret clingers due to static electricity.

    Keep a basket or bin or mesh bag in the laundry for all those extra socks. Have a sorting and matching party once per month, or just buy your children only one kind of socks so they all match!

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  1. Using Bleach in Laundry. The American Cleaning Institute