What if we told you that Oscar Madison had it right when he didn’t throw his clothes in the wash after the first wearing? Of course, Oscar took things too far and never seemed to wash his clothes, but he was onto something.
Washing your clothes after every wearing is a common laundry mistake that can cost you time and money. It can shorten the lifespan of your clothes, plus when you wash clothes that are still clean you’re spending extra money on detergent, fabric softener, water and electricity. For most clothes, including jeans, T-shirts, dresses and shorts, 2-3 wearings between washings is recommended.
Clothes that should be washed after each wearing include undergarments, socks and clothes that have become dirty, sweaty or stained.
While we’re on the topic of common home laundry mistakes, let’s take a look at six other faux pas you’ll want to avoid:
Overloading the Washer
It may seem harmless to put an extra few pair of jeans into that load of darks. But overloading the washer can result in poorly cleaned clothes. Each garment needs a little room to “swim around” and refresh itself.
Poor Load Sorting
At the very least, you’ll want to sort clothes by whites, lights, medium and dark colors. Towels can also be washed and dried separately. If you have enough pairs at one time, jeans are also good garments to wash separately. This is especially true because some jeans bleed — and most jeans take longer than an average garment to dry (more on this soon).
Eyeballing Detergent & Fabric Softener
Approximating amounts for these types of products can be tricky. Too little, and clothes won’t be cleaned or softened properly. Too much means money going down the drain … literally. Taking a moment to measure your detergent or softener can help solve both of these problems.
Water Temperature is Too Low
If you’re finding that your “hot” setting is only feeling warm, it might be a good idea to turn up the temperature on your water heater. Most water heaters have a recommended level for hotness. Going above this benchmark is usually unnecessary, and can also be dangerous. Be careful to increase your water temperature in small increments.
Sort of Sorting
Making sure that garments of approximately the same weight and fabric content get dried at the same time ensures that you’re not over- or under-drying some garments. The two biggest fabrics to be aware of are jeans, which take a long time to dry, and microfiber garments like running gear, which in many cases don’t need to be dried at all.
Overloading the Dryer
Just like washing, clothes need enough room to “breathe” in the dryer. This ensures fabrics dry evenly, within a reasonable time frame.
One Extra Tip
Another way to extend the life of your clothes is to use front-loading machines that are typically gentler on fabrics (without sacrificing cleanliness). Front-load machines use a tumbling motion to clean, while traditional top-load washing machines use an agitator that strikes garments to remove dirt and stains.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to wash your clothes, bring them to your local Klinke Cleaners. We’d be happy to launder or dry clean them for you. Just remember to wear them 2-3 times first to extend their life — and save money!