8 Ways You're Washing Your Clothes Wrong

Even the messiest collegiette knows that sorting your lights from your darks is the most basic rule of Laundry 101. However, this rule alone isn’t enough to keep your clothes in the best condition possible! Want the dirt on all the laundry mistakes you’re probably making? Check them out below.

1. Putting clothes in the dryer that should be air-dried

As you probably know from personal experience, there are certain types of clothing (and fabrics) that you just cannot put in the dryer without risking ruin. Why is this, you may wonder? Some fabrics have delicate fibers that can’t handle the high temperatures and tumbling motions of dryers.

Avoid tumble-drying your favorite sweaters, bras, silk clothes, wool clothes, and anything with embellishments. Trust us! You will avoid potentially shrinking, pulling, tearing, or completely destroying your staple pieces. For delicate items, we recommend hand washing with warm water. It is by far the best way to keep these items in prime condition!

2. Hanging knits to dry

For the same reason you shouldn’t put a sweater in a dryer, you shouldn’t hang it to dry, either! If you do, you will most likely end up with a larger sweater than the one you hung up in the first place ––or one filled with some funky hanger marks.

So, how do you dry a sweater? Simply lay them to dry or opt for a drying rack. Be wary though, heavier fabrics may sag.

3. Throwing your swimsuits in the washer

It’s no secret that swimsuits are expensive AF. Don’t ruin them (and waste your money) by washing and drying them with your other clothing!

We have a better alternative: Rinse your suit in cold water as soon as possible, and let it soak for thirty minutes if possible. Although this sounds tactic doesn’t sound the cleanest, it actually is! Cold water removes chlorine, perspiration, sand and other body oils ––all of which mess with the elasticity and color of your suit. 

If you really want to use some form of soap, hand wash with a tablespoon or less of liquid detergent.

4. Tumble-drying dark clothes

Attention, collegiettes: you should always hang-dry dark clothes! Tumble-drying causes fading. Don’t hang them outside, either, because the sunlight can also cause fading.

You should also take caution when you are machine-washing dark clothes. Try to avoid washing these items too often. Instead, target small stains and blot them out with a damp rag and dishwasher detergent (seriously)! After you get rid of the stain, rinse the damp area with water.

Related: 10 Hacks to Make Your Dorm Room Cleaner Than It's Ever Been

5. Using fabric softener with your towels

There is nothing better than wrapping your body in a nice, soft towel after a shower. However, you should avoid drying your towels with fabric softener or dryer sheets! Believe it or not, they actually reduce the amount of absorbency a towel has.

6. Forgetting to clean your washer

We get it ––when you’re using a machine to clean your clothes, it’s easy to forget that the machine needs a cleaning, too! Laundry detergents can cause mold and mildew build-ups in places that you can’t see, so you should be washing your washer every few months.

Set your washer to the highest level and hottest setting, and run the cycle with four cups of white cleaning vinegar in the machine. Afterwards, run another cycle with one cup of baking soda. Ta-da, your washer is clean!

Bonus tip: To prevent mold and mildew build-up in the future, leave your washer lid open when it’s not running.

7. Putting your bra in the dryer

Never, under any circumstances, tumble-dry your bra! The heat will damage its shape, fabric and elasticity. After washing your bras (preferably in a mesh bag), seperate them from the rest of the load, reshape and lay flat to dry. 

Also keep in mind that you shouldn't be washing your bras all the time. Use your own judgment, but we recommend washing after two to four wears. 

8. Machine-washing your jeans

This one may sound confusing ––or downright disgusting–– but when it comes to your denim, step away from the washer! That is, if you want to keep your favorite pair of pants in prime condition. Each wash cycle breaks down the dye in the denim and causes fading. 

So, what should you do instead? Turn your jeans inside out and freeze them overnight (yes, in your freezer) once a month to kill any odor caused by bacteria. If you still find that your denim has a strange smell, spritz it with white vinegar or vodka and hang it to air dry. 

Don’t fret, ladies. If you find that you are committing multiple laundry sins, you can rest assured that they are easy to fix. Happy cleaning!