Here are a few tips on cleaning your clothes like an expert:
1. Don’t scrub stains. It only spreads the stain and embeds it further into the fabric. If you get grape jelly or red wine on your favorite shirt, dip a washcloth into club soda, dab it on the stain until the stain starts to look faint, and run it through the wash.
2. Undo shirt buttons before you wash a shirt. A lot of people think that buttoning your shirts before you wash them helps to maintain their shape, but that’s not the case. Leaving your shirts buttoned will only loosen the threads that hold the button on.
3. Zip up the zippers on your jeans before you wash them. Zippers can scratch other garments in the washing machine. They can also get caught on loose threads, which can ruin other garments. Zipping up your zippers before you wash your jeans will prevent this from happening.
4. Don’t pour detergent onto your clothes. I don’t know who told people this was a good idea, but pouring detergent onto dry clothes will only cause streaks on them. Instead, fill up the washer with water, then pour your detergent into the washer.
5. Don’t use too much detergent. More detergent doesn’t equal a cleaner wash. Soap and hot water kills bacteria, but germs are able to live on the top of suds. The more soap you use, the more suds there are, which means that you’re giving clothing more opportunity to survive. I remember seeing a study once that showed a correlation between the amount of soap used and the number of germs left over after the wash. Obviously, you need to use some detergent, but don’t overdo it.
6. Don’t wash items that need to be dry-cleaned. You’d think this one was obvious, but I worked in a laundromat for years, and people continuously wash items that are supposed to be dry cleaned. At that point, it’s a gamble. Your item may come out of the wash salvageable, or it could be completely ruined. Read the label before you wash something. If it says “Dry-Clean Only”, take it to the dry cleaner.
7. CLEAN. YOUR. WASHER. Just like every other appliance, the washing machine has to be cleaned from time to time. That’s the only way to ensure that it’ll clean your clothes and make them look good. So every six months or so, you should pour a cup of bleach into the wash and run a hot cycle. When that’s done, pour a cup of white vinegar into the machine and run another cycle. The entire process takes less than two hours, but it’ll leave your washer clean and germ-free.