Laundry tips to make your clothes last longer

July 29, 2015

Here's what you need to know about laundry and dry cleaning. Make your clothes last a long time, and save yourself time, energy and money — a win-win situation all around.

Laundry tips to make your clothes last longer

Doing the laundry can be the bane of our existence. Just when all your clothes are washed, dried, and put away, the hampers have filled up again. Does it ever end? No, but here are some tips that can quicken the washing process and help extend the life of your clothes.

  • Carefully measure detergent. Too little detergent doesn't do the job, leaving lint on your clothes that should have washed away with the rinse cycle. Too much detergent won't all rinse out in the wash, leaving your clothes looking dingy. Remember that if you're using cold water for the wash, use a little extra detergent.
  • Add 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of vinegar to the rinse cycle of the wash load. When you pull these clothes out of the dryer, they will be lint-free. Vinegar also helps soften your clothes and helps them smell fresh. It's cheaper than commercial products, too.
  • If you're dealing with particularly muddy clothes, blast them with a hose first to get out as much mud as you can. They'll be cleaner after you wash them, and the dirt you got rid of won't have transferred to other clothes during washing.
  • If suds cover the walls of your washer drum after finishing a load, throw in a handful of salt to make the suds disappear before the next load. Extra suds can leave traces of soap on your clothes.

Faster drying with less wrinkles

  • Speed the drying of a small laundry load. Throw a towel or two into the dryer. The towel will help absorb the extra water, resulting in drier clothes in less time.
  • If your clothes are wrinkled from sitting in the dryer too long, place a damp towel in the machine with the load and run it five more minutes. The wrinkles will disappear.

Take care with delicate fabrics

Let soap dissolve when cleaning delicate fabrics. Run the water first in the washer if you're using the gentle cycle setting or in the sink if you're washing by hand. Pour the soap in and let it dissolve for 15 minutes; then wash as usual.

  • To get out the musty smell from delicates, mix 60 grams (four tablespoons) of baking soda with one litre (one quart) of cool water. Let the clothes soak for about an hour; then wash the item as you normally would.
  • To speed-dry delicate clothes, place them on a dry towel and roll it up carefully to remove excess water. Then place on a drying rack, or if it's a light piece, hang up using plastic, not wire, hangers. With that extra effort, your delicates will dry faster.

Don't let a stain set

  • Treat stained clothing quickly, especially items that need to be dry-cleaned. It's best to take the garment to the cleaners as soon as possible after it's been stained.
  • When you bring in a stained outfit, make sure to point the stain out to your cleaners.
  • Left untreated, it can become permanent.
  • If you've successfully treated the stain at home, tell them how you did it so they can take steps to avoid making the stain reappear. Never iron a stained garment; heat will set the stain.
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