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A Cleaner World Blog

Top 5 Ways You Could Be Ruining Your Clothes

I should change the word ‘you’ in the title to the word ‘we’, because I am guilty of many of these habits too.  Sometimes it’s because I am limited on the proper storage space and other times it is out of sheer laziness.  After all, if you have 2 red tops, a pair of jeans, a bra, and a couple pair of undies, isn’t it just easier to throw them all in one load?

Here are some common things we all do wrong:

  • Not washing clothes promptly.  Items with spills and stains should be addressed immediately.  The longer the stain sits on the fabric, the more difficult it becomes to remove, and failing to act quickly could cause the stain to set into the fabric permanently.  That means that even if you can remove the stain, the fabric where the stain once was, is likely to be discolored. 
  • Not washing clothes properly.  The truth is, there are lots of rules to doing laundry properly.  Check the care label before doing anything.  Separate by both color and fabric weight.  Pull out delicate items.  We’ve actually addressed this in the past, and here are two links that go into greater detail on how to do laundry properly: How often should I wash my clothes? and Home Laundry is Harder than it Looks.
  • Using too much detergent or fabric softener.  Too many suds can hold dirt from clothes and get caught in areas that won’t rinse clean.  If you see suds when the wash load is complete, you’re using too much detergent.  Play with cutting the amount until all the detergent is removed from your clothes.  Using too much fabric softener can cause an oily film on fabric. The film can make clothes feel slimy and it also decreases water absorption on towels.  An alternative to fabric softener is vinegar; add ¼ cup to the rinse cycle, and your clothes will come out soft minus the slimy feel.
  • Not storing out-of-season clothes properly.  The most important thing when storing out-of-season clothes is to wash or dry clean every item before storing it away, even if you only wore it for an hour.  Unwashed clothing contains dead body cells, sweat, food particles, and so on, which are attractive to moths and other pests.  These pests will then munch on the items left behind, ultimately causing the fibers to weaken.  When you pull clothes out of storage, they may initially look fine, but once they are cleaned, the agitation and action from the washer or dry-cleaning machine will cause the fibers to weaken and eventually break.
  • Storing in-season clothes improperly.  For example, using the wrong size hanger can cause the shoulder area to become distorted.  Remember, the hanger should sit just at the end of the shoulder where it meets the sleeve seam.  Another way to ruin clothes is to hang garments instead of folding.  The most common items are sweaters and knit items.  The weight of the fabric pulling downward while hanging on a hanger will again create shoulder distortion.  When in doubt, fold.  

While these are easy fixes, they also require a little extra time.  If A Cleaner World can help in any way, please stop by one of our convenient locations.  We’ll be glad to talk to you about proper storage, clothing care, or even storing your out-of-season garments in our stores.

me with dimple in shoulder of knit shirt.
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