Washing our clothes is one of those tasks so rote that we could practically do it in our sleep. Add some detergent, add some clothing, press the button, and wait. However, the way that we wash our clothes could be contributing to excess wear and tear, shortening their lifespan in the long run. If you want to keep your clothes—and yourself—looking fresh, you need to learn to load your washer properly. The good news? It’s not rocket science.
Lauren Haynes, cleaning supervisor at Star Domestic Cleaners, says that the very best thing you can do for both your washer and your clothes is to keep your loads small. The more clothes you pile into a machine, the more wear and tear you’re putting on it. Over time, this can burn out the motor on your machine. Unfortunately, when you cram a ton of stuff into your washing machine, the detergent and water you’re using are also being spread thin, making them less effective.
“Make sure you never overload the washing machine, so your clothes can be washed thoroughly, while efficiency remains unaffected,” recommends Haynes.
That also means using the right amount of detergent for they type of machine you have. “Since front-loader washers use significantly less water than the top-loaders (approximately 25 versus 40 gallons), you should use much less laundry detergent in the front-loaders. Because of the lower water levels in front loaders, excess detergent can remain in your clothes, so measure it carefully. You should also pay attention to the type of the detergent because top-loader detergents produce a lot of foam, which can damage a front loader.”
If you still feel like your washing machine isn’t cleaning your clothing effectively enough, a few kitchen staples can help.
“Apple cider vinegar works great against color fading. You just have to pour half a cup during the washing cycle. It will not only preserve the colors but also freshen up the laundry and make it softer. This way you will definitely make their colors last longer,” she says. “Another smart use of white vinegar is for the first washing of darker clothes. Soak them for 30 minutes into a solution of water mixed with half a cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of salt. It will definitely make their colors last longer.”
If your clothes still bear the sweaty smell left over from your last trip to the gym, baking soda holds the solution. “At first, let all the smelly clothes soak in a solution, made of one gallon of water and half a cup baking soda,” recommends Haynes. “After one to two hours, put your clothes in the washing machine. During the rinse cycle, add half a cup of white vinegar. As a result, all the odors will be gone and your clothes will be fresh and clean again.” With your clothes looking cleaner than ever, it’s time to focus on the rest of you. Luckily, the 20 Overnight Beauty Products for Always Waking Up Gorgeous will have you looking like a million bucks.
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