New research reveals the average person damages nearly £4,000 worth of clothes in their lifetime, simply because of poor washing technique. So, what exactly are the dos and don’ts?
Who hasn’t shrunk their favourite trousers, turned their white socks pink and stretched out a beautiful wool sweater? Turns out, washing clothes correctly isn’t as easy as you’d think, with a recent study proving just how costly poor washing habits can be.
Follow these tips and your clothes won’t just look better, but they’ll last longer as well.
It’s one of the first things you learn when you start to do your own laundry, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t end up sticking with it. Separating your laundry into whites, darks, coloureds and delicates will help keep your whites white, your coloureds vibrant and your undergarments delicate.
Read the label carefully
Clothing labels are there for a reason, so before you snip it off, take note of the care symbols shown. Care symbols will tell you how the item should be washed, dried and ironed. Something as simple as washing an item on the wrong machine cycle can cause added wear and tear.
Invest in a good washing machine
There are definitely quality differences amongst washing machines. When you decide to invest in a new machine, research your options on your own before you head into the shop to buy. It’s a big purchase, so feel free to bring a list of questions for the sales representative with you.
Buy the right detergent
Using a detergent that is too harsh for the fabric you’re washing can cut down on the length of time the item lasts. However, using a detergent that isn’t strong enough to combat the grime will leave your clothes looking like they need another wash cycle. In general, choose a bio detergent for your whites and coloureds. It’ll get your whites white and keep your colours standing out. Use a non-bio agent for children’s clothes, or people who have skin issues, and sensitive fabrics.
Use fabric softener sparingly
Fabric softener works well for stiff garments, however you shouldn’t use it in every wash. Keep a mental note of how often you use it, and get into a routine of every third or forth wash. Using it too frequently may leave your clothes feeling a bit greasy, and it causes fabrics to wear out faster than they would otherwise.
Consider all drying methods
Finally, once the clothes have completed the wash cycle, take a moment to think about the best way to dry them. It’s fine to tumble dry or hang sheets and towels on the line, however it’s better to dry stretchy fabrics and wool flat in order to ensure they keep their shape.
Also, even on low heat, tumble-drying can easily cause items to shrink, especially if they’ve never been washed before. Opt for air-drying garments that fit just right, particularly those made of shrink-prone natural fabrics like cotton and wool.
What’s your secret to keeping your clothing at its best?