Always Read Your Clothing Tags
Checking tags means all the difference between doll-sized clothing and garments that fit you as well as the day you bought them. All fabrics come with tags that detail the recommended cycle, water temperature and dryer settings, so follow them to a T and your tees will thank you. Some washers and dryers come with settings to ensure your garments get professional treatment.
Say Goodbye to Dingy Whites
First thing's first: separate your whites from your dark fabrics. This prevents color transfer and keeps your whites white. Another way to keep whites their whitest is to add a booster to your washing machine, such as oxygen bleach, borax, washing soda or even vinegar. Additionally, keeping your washing machine itself clean can prevent dinginess. Some washers have self-clean technology that exterminates dirt and detergent residue.
Keep Dark Fabrics Dark
The best way to keep your darker fabrics dark is to wash them infrequently. Instead, use an at-home dry cleaning method by combining equal parts vodka and distilled water in a spray bottle. This mixture extracts odors, leaving clothes feeling and smelling freshly laundered. You can also purchase dry cleaning products at the store. When you do wash your dark clothing, turn articles inside out to minimize friction and wash in cold water.
Pre-Treat Stubborn Stains
Stains happen, but they don't have to be permanent. Various stains—such as wine, oil, ink, blood and grass—require different pre-treatments, so research the type of stain you're dealing with and follow the directions. By pre-treating the stain before you even throw the garment in the washer, you'll keep your fabrics looking sparkly and new. Often it's as simple as applying a stain remover or liquid detergent to your stained fabric, then soaking.
Separate Towels From Clothing
You're likely already separating your dark clothes from whites, but don't forget to separate towels from regular clothing, too. Towel material is typically abrasive and thick, which can damage the more delicate fibers in your clothing. Separating them keeps your clothing in pristine condition for longer. It also prevents fabric pilling (those ornery tiny balls of fabric that collect on your fabrics).
We have all forgotten about a load of laundry, and we are all familiar with that funky smell that sets in as a result. That funky smell is mildew, and it's pretty easy to get rid of. Simply re-wash the same load of mildewed laundry with a cup of white vinegar and hot water. The white vinegar and hot water will kill the mildew and, consequently, the funky odor.
Fix and Prevent Color Bleed
So you bought a new shirt, washed it with your other garments, and now everything's pink. Or purple. Or brown. You get the picture. Before throwing the load into the dryer—and crying—re-wash the same load with color-safe bleach and regular detergent. This should pull those excess dyes out of your fabric. Next time, wash new clothes in cold water with like colors to prevent bleeding.
Nix Odors on Gym Apparel
Out of all your clothing, athletic apparel probably gets the smelliest and dirtiest. To prevent bacteria infestation in your gym bag—and the accompanying odors—remove gym clothes as soon as possible and rinse in the sink. Before throwing them back into your gym bag, wring out excess liquid and place in a plastic bag. When you get home, wash the clothing right away following the tag's instructions.
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