6 Lies You Tell Yourself About How You Do Laundry

  • 01 of 07

    6 Lies You Tell Yourself About How You Do Laundry

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    We've all done it. We lie to ourselves that "it won't matter this time" if I break the laundry rules. I've done it and I know better.

    Sometimes we get away with it. We manage to not end up with pink underwear or with a sweater that would fit Chewbacca. But sometimes we don't.

    Here are the six most common lies we tell ourselves about laundry and why we should just stop it!


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  • 02 of 07

    Laundry Lie #1: It's OK to wash everything together

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    If your laundry looks dull or dingy, it may be because you are trying to wash everything together. Laundry loads that mix colored fabrics and white fabrics or very dirty clothes with lightly soiled, delicate garments can cause more harm than good. Think about heavy denim blue jeans banging around in the washer drum with your favorite silk shirt.

    Separating clothes by color, fabric type and degree of soil will produce the best results. You'll have less color bleeding stains to remove and your clothes will last longer.


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  • 03 of 07

    Laundry Lie #2: It's OK to use more and more detergent

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    When you use more detergent than needed, the only ones who benefit are detergent manufacturers. Using too much detergent wastes money and can actually leave your clothes looking dull. Excessive detergent makes rinsing more difficult and allows soil to redeposit on your clothes leaving them dull and dingy.

    Liquid detergent measuring caps are notoriously difficult to read. If you like to rely on the handy cap, take the time to mark the correct measuring lines for your usual laundry loads with a permanent marker. This line will be easier for you and others - like your teen - to use. NEVER try to eyeball it by pouring directly into the washer tub!

    For front load washers or high efficiency top load washers, the correct amount of high-efficiency (he) detergent is one to two teaspoons. Yes, that's all you need. Using more can leave build-up in the washer that can cause odor and make rinsing more difficult and add time to your washer cycle. If you are using a single dose detergent packet, one packet per load is sufficient unless the load is excessively soiled with dirt or grease (then you can use two).

    Standard top load washers can handle excessive detergent because they use so much water during the wash and rinse cycle. Still, it is best to avoid using excessive amounts to save money.

    The same rules apply to using bleach and fabric softener. Be sure you are not overdosing and causing more harm than good.


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  • 04 of 07

    Laundry Lie #3: It's OK to use the same detergent for everything

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    Selecting a laundry detergent is often a personal preference based on past experiences or a favorite scent. However, there is a bit of science to it all.

    Most lower priced detergents do not contain the necessary ingredients to tackle tough stains and heavy soil. Mid-priced detergents work well on light soil but it really takes a detergent with sufficient enzymes (usually more expensive) like Persil, Wisk or Tide to thoroughly clean heavily soiled laundry.

    If there is a baby in the house or someone with sensitive skin, it is best to choose a detergent that is dye and fragrance free. And, for delicate garments or items that need hand washing, a gentle detergent is best for those fabrics.

    For most homes, an assortment of detergents is recommended to keep clothes looking their best.


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  • 05 of 07

    Laundry Lie #4: It's OK to use the same washer cycle for every load

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    Long gone are the days when a washer had one dial with just start and stop. Today's washers offer multiple cycle options of wash length, rinse cycles and even final spin spead.

    Using the correct cycle for washing and spinning will help clean your clothes and keep them looking their best. It is very difficult to give the specific cycle name on every washer make and model. You will need to use your best judgment or again, read that manual (if you've lost your manual you can find it here) to select the right cycle.


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  • 06 of 07

    Laundry Lie #5: It's OK to use the same water temperature for every load


    If you've ever tossed a wool sweater or rayon blouse in the washer and left it set on a hot water wash, the results weren't pretty. Your sweater shrank to doll-sized and your rayon blouse was a wrinkled mess.

    Never set the washer water temperatures and forget it. Take the time to determine and set the correct water temperature to use for each load of laundry.

    The one exception is the rinse cycle. Always use a cold water rinse for best results (helps relax wrinkles in fabrics) and to save energy costs.


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  • 07 of 07

    Laundry Lie #6: It's OK to use the timed dryer cycle for every load

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    The timed dryer cycle looks like a perfect choice because of the promise that sensors in the dryer will detect moisture levels and turn off the dryer at the appropriate time. This only works if you have done everything correctly in sorting clothes and all of the items in the dryer are the same weight and type of fabric.

    Instead, you should select the correct dryer cycle based on the type of fabric and what you want to accomplish. It might just be the Air Fluff or Steam Cycle that will give you the best results and help your clothes last longer.