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10 Ways You’re Doing Laundry Wrong

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rochester chapter.

We’re college students. We barely have time to sleep, let alone do our laundry. That’s why many of us end up setting aside only ONE day each month to haul our entire wardrobe downstairs, stuff it all into one machine, pour in a crapload of detergent, and run off to study (aka watch Netflix) while we wait for clean clothes.

But how awful is it when you’re taking your clothes out of the dryer and realize you shrunk your favorite shirt?! Or that the zipper from your jeans snagged on your new dress? And, ew, is that someone else’s hair knotted in your sweatshirt?

We will inevitably have mishaps like these from time to time, but here are a few tips and tricks for improving your laundry habits so that your clothes come out looking better than ever.

1. Don’t wash after every wear. 

Unless your clothes smell bad, you don’t need to wash after a single wear. Washing too frequently will make your clothes wear out faster. 


2. Avoid using too much detergent. 

Surprisingly, more detergent actually leads to dirtier clothes. This is because it creates excess suds that trap dirt in areas that won’t rinse clean. Your clothes will come out covered with a sudsy residue and won’t dry properly. Always measure your detergent to make sure you aren’t using too much!


3. Swap dryer sheets for dryer balls. 

Dryer balls are cheaper (you only need a couple and they last forever!), they produce less lint, and reduce drying time!


4. Always read the tags that specify how each item of clothing should be washed. 

Sometimes they instruct to handwash only, to wash in cold water with like colors, or to lay flat to dry, etc. Simply reading the care instructions tag can help avoid ruined clothes and wasted money. 


5. Don’t put your delicates in the washer or dryer. 

Underwire bras and lacy lil’ panties are meant to be hand washed. The washer and dryer can weaken the fabric or distort the shape of the underwire. Wash those babies gently in the sink with cold water and a few drops of detergent, then lay them flat to dry. 


6. Jeans and dark clothing should be washed inside out. 

This will prevent color from fading. Make sure to wash them in cold water and let them air dry, as heat can also cause darker clothes to fade.


7. Clean out your washing machine regularly. 

It’s actually quick and easy! Just run an empty hot rinse cycle with a little vinegar and baking soda and do a little scrubbing to get rid of any built up gunk. If you live in campus housing: I seriously doubt they clean those machines often enough, if ever. Now that campus laundry is FREE, it doesn’t cost you anything to run a cleaning cycle before you throw your clothes in! Your hallmates will thank you, too. 


8. Make sure zippers are zipped and buttons are unbuttoned before they go in the load. 

Exposed zipper teeth = snagging = ripped clothes. Leaving buttons buttoned will loosen the thread as they thrash around in the machine.  


9. There’s a more efficient way to dry your sneakers. 

If you must use your machine to dry your sneakers, clamp the shoelaces in the dryer door to prevent that awful banging noise. So simple!


10. Finally, use this clever hack to SPEED UP drying time!

Forty-five minutes to dry? 

Speed up dry time by putting an already dry towel in the load. Good luck!

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Nikki Fox


Nikki Fox is a Film & Media Studies and Spanish double major at the University of Rochester.