A Few Important Tips for Properly Cleaning Your Clothes

Just tossing all your dirty clothes in the washer, setting the water temperature to warm, and putting everything in the dryer together is a sure-fire way to ruin your entire wardrobe. Some clothing materials are not meant to be washed in warm water or cannot withstand the agitation of a standard washing machine, and the heat and tumbling of a dryer can also ruin certain fabrics and materials. Note, too, that some stains may actually become set in and permanent if you don't address them properly. Consider a few important tips for cleaning your clothes the right way so you know they won't get ruined, but will always look their best.

Know the symbols

Some clothing tags will just have symbols that designate how the pieces should be cleaned; it's good to understand what these symbols mean so you can follow those directions properly. A triangle usually refers to bleach, a circle with a square around it means a dryer, and a plain circle refers to dry cleaning. If there is a line through any of these symbols, you want to avoid using that method to clean your clothes. If the circle that designates dry cleaning doesn't have a line through it, this will be the best way to launder those items, versus putting them in the clothes washer or even washing them by hand.

Adjust the water temperature

Any clothes that are in danger of stretching or shrinking should be wasted in cold water only; warm or hot water can cause fabric fibres to easily pull out of shape. Jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and other such items should almost always be washed in cold water; pre-shrunk towels and other linens, however, can be washed in warm water.

White items are usually best washed in hot water because hot water will clean out more dirt and help to bleach the fabric, whereas cold water can make white fabric look dingy. For white t-shirts that you don't want to shrink, wash them in hot water but on a delicate cycle.

Avoid brushing

When clothes have any type of spot or stain, avoid trying to brush it off of large fibres and without adding  a stain treatment first. Brushing large fibres can make them flat and ruin their surface. You also don't want to brush dry fabric, as this might simply spread the stain. Read the laundering directions on the tag and the pre-treatment you use, and follow these instructions carefully so you remove the stain without making it worse.