Laundry Problems? It's Not Your Washer's Fault

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Wouldn't it be grand if we could blame all our mistakes on machines. We would never have to face the fact that often we are at the root of our problems. Think of entering data in a computer, "garbage in equals garbage out".

The same theory applies to your laundry and your washing machine. The problems that we encounter in our laundry efforts can't always be blamed on the washer. Most of the time, I'm very sorry to say, it's you.

So here's a list of laundry problems and their possible causes and what you can do to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again!

Dingy Clothes

  • Dingy clothes are caused by using the wrong detergent. Inexpensive detergents do not contain enough cleaning ingredients like surfactants and enzymes to remove many types of stains and sweaty, body soil. If the soil is not lifted off the fabric, suspended in the wash water, and then flushed away, it will redeposit on clothes leaving them looking dull and grey. 

    Take the time to read the ingredients on the bottle to be sure that you have the correct product for your laundry needs. It will be best to use a heavy duty detergent for loads with lots of soil and a less expensive detergent for lightly soiled clothing.

  • Grey-looking clothes are caused by not sorting clothes correctly. If you wash everything together-jeans with undies, black leggings with a pink shirt, yellow towels with navy towels-eventually everything will look grey. Even with the promised miracle color catcher sheets, colors bleed and settle on other fabrics. Sort correctly to keep whites white and colors bright!
  • Dingy and dull-looking clothes are caused by overloading the washer and not using the correct water temperature. If you cram everything that needs washing into the washer at once, it will be overcrowded and the detergent you use will not be able to reach every surface, pick up the dirt, and let it be flushed away with the water. Learn the capacity of your washer and use it correctly.

    Using the correct water temperature will also keep your clothes their correct color. There are detergents formulated to work in cold water for every type of soil and stain. However, most detergents need warm or hot water to remove ground-in soil.

Yellowed Whites

  • Yellowed whites are caused by body soil that has not been removed from the fabric. Body soil is hard to remove if you are using an inexpensive detergent and cold water. Look at a white sheet. If the hem and edges are white but the center is yellowed, that is left in body soil. Switch to a heavy duty detergent and use warm or hot water to effectively remove the soil. You may need to use a laundry booster to whiten the stained sheets.
  • Yellowed whites are caused by using too much chlorine bleach. It can whiten white clothes; however, using too much in a load of clothes can damage the fabric and even cause the fibers to yellow. Many cotton and man-made fibers have an inner core that is yellow and excessive bleach can expose that surface.
  • Yellowed whites are caused by too much iron in your water supply. Iron bacteria in your water supply will settle on clothes and cause them to yellow or eventually turn brown. You need a water filter to keep clothes white.

    Mysterious Holes in Clothes

    • Mysterious holes in clothes can be caused by using chlorine bleach too often. It is quite powerful and must be diluted with water to be safe for use on fabrics. Just a drip or splash can cause a hole in clothes.
    • Holes in clothes can be caused by improper preparation of clothes before loading. If you leave zippers open or hooks unlatched, snags can happen and cause holes in thin or soft fabrics, especially knits. Objects left in pockets can also cause a tear. Always check clothes because a small hole can become a large one quite easily.

    Excessive Lint on Clothes

    • Excessive lint is caused by improper sorting. Some fabrics are shedders and some are lint attracters. Proper sorting will make a significant difference in the amount of lint clinging to garments. Knits and permanent press fabrics attract lint. Terry cloth, cotton, and natural fibers shed more lint. Never the two should meet!

      Excessive Wrinkling of Clothes

      • Excessive wrinkling is caused by improper sorting. Mixing heavy items like jeans with lighter weight shirts will cause lots of wrinkles. If you do mix the two, separate them before you put them in the dryer. Give every item a good shake to loosen fabrics before placing them in the dryer.
      • Excessive wrinkling is caused by using the wrong washer cycle or water temperature. Select the right cycle for the type of fabrics being washed. Do not use the heavy-duty cycle for lightweight items. Excessive spinning can set wrinkles in clothes. Always use a cold rinse for clothes to help prevent heat from setting in wrinkles.