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Laundry: You're Doing It All Wrong

February 16th, 2017

Sometimes life truly calls for you to just read the signs.

That was my thought after a laundry mishap left me holding my favorite sweater, shrunken, in my hand. Another failed attempt that could have been avoided had I just read the label on my clothing. Instead, I folded the rest of my clothes and sadly bid my $50 top farewell.

Determined not to be a sucker again, I did some research. What do the symbols on our clothes actually mean? Yes, on most items the label says “machine wash, tumble dry,” but there’s more to it and I needed to know what it all meant.

When the average person does laundry, we put like colors together (just like momma told us to), and drying happens without much thought; except maybe adding a mountain fresh dryer sheet.

Little did I know, there’s a method to the madness and everything is done for a reason. Washing, for example, has a benefit of cold, warm and hot; all which produce different results when used correctly. While I love taking a shower in what could be considered scalding waters, my wool sweater may have other preferences.

Washing

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Drying

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Natural Drying

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Bleaching

Show of hands, who only uses bleach for whites? Well, I’ve got some bad news — we’ve all been doing it wrong. Bleach can be safe to use on colors, and this little triangle on the tag says when and how to do so.

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Ironing

Now, if you’ve made it past the washing and drying, the home stretch is near! There’s not much else you can do to ruin your clothes. Or can you? When growing up, I remember my dad would have his shirts ironed and loaded with starch, steam filling the entire room. Over time not only did his shirts lose their luster and become dull, but the fabrication also seemed to change. To iron or not iron is the question, and this is the answer:

ironing image

Dry Cleaning

Are you thoroughly confused and ready give up on laundry altogether? Have no fear. You don’t need to live in soiled clothes. Here are your dry-cleaning options, should your garment call for them.

Pro tip: The letters P and F in a circle are for the different solvents used by professional dry cleaners.

Related Article: At-Home Ways To Remove Ink On Clothes

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It’s understandable your future shopping trips won’t have you reading every label and separating clothes according to shape and letter. But for that favorite piece or super expensive item, reading the care symbols could save you that hard-to-earn money and time.

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