7 Internet Laundry Hacks That Don't Work

  • 01 of 08

    7 Fake Internet Laundry Hacks That Don't Work

    Laundry Hamper
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    The internet is flooded with hacks - or a clever solutions to a tricky problem - for everything from computer problems to dating issues. It was inevitable that hacks for laundry problems would find their way to your inbox. Unfortunately, many of them just don't work.

    Here is a list of seven laundry hacks that have a vaguely scientific basis but don't actually work. And, the good news, some equally easy steps that actually work that you can take to solve your laundry problems.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Aspirin To Whiten Clothes

    Use Aspirin to Whiten Clothes
    Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    Dissolve 5 aspirin tablets in hot water and soak clothes before washing to make them super-white.

    There is no sound science to this rumored hack. I'm thinking that perhaps it got its start on the internet because aspirin was patented by Bayer - a German textile dye company - in 1899. The chemical compound of aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid which will break down when exposed to moisture to become salicylic acid. Salicylic acid has no bleaching effect on fabrics.

    Pre-soaking clothes in hot water is actually what may make them appear whiter. The hot water helps to lift embedded grime and body soil from the fibers that makes whites appear dingy. Once they are loosened, they are much easier to wash away in a normal laundry cycle.

    So save your aspirin for your headache and follow these tips to whiten dingy clothes.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Salt to Keep Colors From Running

    High Angle View Of Kosher Salt In Bowl On Table
    Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Add 1 cup of salt to wash water to prevent colors from bleeding.

    There is a bit of science to this hack. Salts in various compounds is  frequently used as a mordant to set dyes during the initial dyeing process. If you create your own organic dyes you'll find salt mentioned in many of the directions.

    However, once a garment reaches your closet it is too late to "set the dye". The dye must be set early and correctly at the proper stage of textile development to prevent color bleeding.

    So put away the salt shaker and follow these tips to keep colors from bleeding. And if it's too late and all of your underwear is pink, remove the dye stains with these steps.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Coffee to Keep Dark Clothes Dark

    coffee grounds BIG
    Steven Brisson/Moment/Getty Images

    Add two cups of coffee or tea to rinse water to keep clothes dark.

    Coffee and tea are effective dyes. But stop and think. The average rinse cycle in a standard top load washer uses 16 gallons of water. Even in a front load washer, there are 5 to 7 gallons of water. How much dyeing is going to happen with two cups of coffee or tea? None to nearly none.

    So enjoy another cup of coffee while doing your laundry and follow these tips to keep dark clothes dark.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Salt to Keep Colors Bright

    Use salt to stop dye bleeding
    Tom Kelley/Getty Images

    Add one cup of table salt to rinse water to keep colors vibrant.

    This hack must come from those brightly colored fishes in the seas of the Caribbean. Actually, it could be because dry table salt can be used on the surface of fabrics as an abrasive to remove topical soil and dust that dulls colors.

    If the colors have dulled on non-washable textiles like pillows or silk flowers, place them in a large plastic container with several cups of salt. Give the container a good shake being sure that all areas of the soiled items are exposed to the salt.

    When you open the container, your dulled item will be brighter and the salt will look dirty.

    So shake away on non-washable items but don't bother adding salt to your rinse cycle. Instead, follow these tips for to keep colors from fading.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Lemon Juice to Boost Detergent Power


    Add the juice of one lemon to wash cycle to boost detergent performance.

    There is a bit of science behind this hack. Acids do work well in cutting through the build-up of soil and detergent/fabric softener residues that are left on clothes. But there are only three tablespoons of juice in an average lemon. That's not enough to do a thing.

    So save the lemon for lemonade and follow these tips using a less expensive acid - distilled white vinegar - in a proper amount to help boost cleaning performance.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Hair Conditioner to Unshrink Clothes

    Lavender and rosemary conditioner in a jar, lavender flowers and a comb nearby
    William Reavell / Getty Images

    For clothes that shrunk in the wash, soak in a pitcher of lukewarm water and conditioner for about 15 minutes. Lay out on a towel to dry.

    Again, there's a bit of science here. As you know, hair conditioner coats the hair shaft with a compound that helps to reduce tangles. When clothes shrink, the fibers "tangle" and mesh together.

    For knitted woolen sweaters and accessories (wool is natural hair of a sheep), this hair conditioner hack may work if the shrinkage is not severe. Follow these additional steps to assure successful stretching.

    However, hair conditioner is not going to save your shrunken jeans or woven cotton shirt. So save the conditioner for the shower and follow these tips to prevent shrinking of clothes.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Laundry Myth: Use Vinegar to Disinfect Clothes

    Vinegar on top of a washing machine
    Photo by MML

    Add just one quarter cup of vinegar to rinse water to disinfect clothes.

    Distilled white vinegar is a miracle laundry helper but it does nothing to disinfect clothes and prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

    So save the vinegar for other uses and follow these tips to disinfect laundry.