November 19, 2016

Laundry 101: How to keep your clothes looking new

How do we take care of our clothes so they won’t shrink, stain, tear, and fade, while washing them?

One of the worst things that could happen to you is spend on nice clothes and end up ruining them in the washing machine. Here’s some tips to keep your clothes in tip-top shape.

To Avoid Shrinking


Clothes shrink when they are washed in warm water, so the best way to avoid shrinking your clothes is to use cold water. Natural fibers like cotton shrink and return to their original size/state because fibers are spun and drawn during the fabric-making process. The higher temperature warps the material. Since fibers are spun and drawn in a state or temperature that’s less than warm, cold water does nothing to warp the fiber.

Apart from using cold water, choose a gentle laundry cycle. A gentle laundry cycle keeps the equilibrium of the cloth, and prevents it from stressing the fabric and its seams. Putting stress on the fabric warps them and gives them room to shrink. This is especially applicable when washing natural fibers like cotton, wool, and cashmere.

Lastly, choose the right laundry machine. You may want to consider front-loading machines as they are less destructive and will cause less shrinkage than the customary top-loading machines because the natural tumbling action in the front-loading machines is much more gentle.

To Avoid Staining


The most basic thing you can do to avoid staining or “painting” your clothes is to separate the garments into white and colored fabrics. Never wash whites with colors, such as abayas. Also, consider separately washing new clothes, especially dark, colored cottons because these may release a lot of dye when they’re new.

If you’ve already done this and stains still appear on the fabrics, then you might want to double-check your fabric conditioner. Most fabric conditioners are oil based and if you use too much, or if you added them too soon or too late into the cycle without enough water to dilute them, it may cause oily spots to appear on your clothes. So make sure the fabric conditioners are well dissolved in water before pouring.

Another common type of stain are rust stains. These can come from rust developing in your washing machine or the water you’re using to wash your clothes. To avoid this, always check your washing machine for rust and make a habit of running the water first. It wouldn’t hurt to have your water pipes checked for rust, too.

To Avoid Tearing


Holes in our clothes can be caused by many things. It could be from too much chlorine bleach, abrasive surfaces, setting the washing machine’s spin speed too high, or overloading it.

Just like how we avoid staining clothes, you can avoid tearing by sorting your clothes well. Remember to not wash a delicate garment such as scarves with jeans or any clothes with zippers and other hard parts or protrusions. Delicate garments that have lace and are made of silk could snag on zippers, which could lead to tearing. Additionally, always zip, button, and fasten all clothing before washing to prevent them from catching on other garments. If you can’t wash these separately, consider placing delicate garments in a mesh laundry bag before placing them into the washer.

To Avoid Fading Quickly


The best tip in retaining the colors of your clothes the almost the same tip with the other tips in this list, which is the proper segregation of your laundry. We can’t stress this enough. Just wash black clothes with other black clothes or with other dark garments. Fading happens when the dye runs, but when there are no lighter garments to soak the dark dyes, those dyes will be reabsorbed back into the black clothes they came from.

Apart from sorting the colors, consider the weight, too. Doing so would protect the weave and color of your more delicate black garments. And just like when avoiding clothing shrinkage, use cold water when washing colored clothes. This avoids the breaking down of fibers and its dyes.

When it comes to your washing machine, try using the shortest cycle possible because this means a lesser chance for the dye to run and fade. You might also want to skip the dryer because the heat could accelerate fading. Instead, hang the clothes to dry with them turned inside out, or lay them flat out to dry. When you do, make sure you place them in an area away from direct sunlight. Sunlight acts as a natural bleach, which will fade your black clothes faster. Finally, and if all else fails, consider adding vinegar, salt, black pepper, or baking soda, as these have ingredients that can help retain colors.