As we step into the new year, it's time to reevaluate our laundry habits. Many of us unknowingly make simple mistakes while washing clothes, leading to damage, fading, or lingering odors. According to Pensionist.dk, Rebecca Jakeman, an expert from the consumer organization Which?, sheds light on the most common laundry errors we should avoid in 2024 to keep our clothes looking and smelling fresh.
1. One Detergent Doesn't Fit All
Jakeman points out a common misstep: using the same detergent for all types of clothes. This practice can harm colorful and dark fabrics. Powdered detergents are best reserved for white garments, while liquids or gels are more suitable for colored and dark clothing. Powdered detergents often contain bleaching agents great for whites but detrimental to darks.
2. Overwashing: Less is More
Frequent washing can wear out clothes, affecting their shape and fit. Not all garments require washing after every wear. T-shirts and whites might need washing after one or two uses, but jeans and sweatshirts can go through six to ten and five to six wears, respectively, before needing a wash.
3. Temperature Matters
Many wash their clothes at a standard 40 degrees, but different fabrics demand different temperatures. Lower temperatures are gentler on clothes and energy-efficient. Lightly soiled clothes can be effectively cleaned at 30 or even 20 degrees.
4. A Clean Washer for Clean Clothes
Over time, washing machines can harbor bacteria and mold due to constant contact with dirty clothes. An unclean washer won't clean effectively and may leave clothes smelling damp. Regular cleaning of the washing machine is essential.
5. The Tumble Dryer Dilemma
Tumble drying everything can damage certain fabrics. Jeans, swimwear, tights, and bras should never go in the dryer as it can ruin them or warp their shape. Jakeman recommends air drying when possible, as it's gentler on the fabrics.
By adopting these simple tips, you can extend the life of your clothes, save money, and reduce your environmental impact. Remember, small changes in your laundry habits can make a significant difference in the longevity of your clothes and the well-being of the planet.