We’ve all experienced that terrible moment when you realize you’ve just ruined your favorite piece of clothing while doing laundry.
Whether you used the wrong wash cycle, selected the incorrect water temperature, or left your clothes in the dryer too long, most laundry mishaps are avoidable with a little bit of planning and research!
In this post, we will discuss if washing or drying your clothing is more harmful and how to do laundry without damaging your clothes.
What damages clothes more, the washer or the dryer?
The answer to this age-old question really depends on the specific circumstances. However, generally using a dryer is more damaging to clothing than washing them. This is because dryers tend to shrink, fade, and damage clothing over time. This is especially true if you do not use the suggested heat and dry times suggested on your clothing labels. Ultimately, opting to air dry your clothing will extend the life of your favorite t-shirt, jeans, or dress.
This said washing clothing can also cause irreparable damage if you do not read your clothing labels and follow other best practices.
So what can you do to extend the life of your clothing while doing laundry? Read on for. . . .
Our top five tips for doing laundry without damaging your clothes
1. Use the right amount of laundry detergent and fabric softener
One of the most common laundry mistakes that we see is simply using too much laundry detergent and fabric softener. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing. It may seem like a great idea to pour in a little extra detergent next time you tackle an especially soiled load, but excess detergent actually ends up settling into clothing, resulting in a dull finish and stiff clothing. Instead of just eyeballing it, we suggest carefully reading the directions on the bottle, and only using the suggested amount.
2. Stick to cold water
Another laundry mistake that we see time and time again, is using the wrong temperature. You may be tempted to use the hottest wash possible. This ensures your clothes are really clean, right? WRONG. Hot water is a quick way to damage clothing, with common issues being shrinking, fading, and weakening of the fabric. Instead, we suggest sticking to cold water whenever possible and reserving hot water for extra dirty loads.
3. Do smaller loads
Most of us have been guilty of cramming in as much laundry as we possibly can into a load in the name of saving time (and money!). But this seemingly harmless act can result in major damage to your clothing — especially when done frequently. Overloading your washing machine not only results in clothing that is less clean, it also weakens and damages clothing that is forced to rub together. By opting for smaller loads and taking care as you toss your clothing into your washing machine, you can greatly extend the life of your clothing.
4. Follow the rules!
Just like in elementary school, it is important to follow the rules when doing your laundry to avoid serious consequences. This means carefully reading your clothing labels and doing what they say. This step is especially important when it comes to choosing the correct heat to dry your clothing on.
5. Air dry when possible
As discussed previously, drying clothing is typically more damaging than washing them. To avoid the wear and tear of regularly drying your clothing, we recommend trying out an outdoor clothesline or an indoor drying rack. Obviously, this won’t always be an option, but it is definitely something to consider, especially for your favorite pieces of clothing!