Laundry Tips for the Undomestic Goddess

You’re supposed to separate colors?

This may not seem like the most exciting topic, but, when you think about it, laundry is the single most crucial chore when it comes to keeping our fashion sense looking fresh. Think about all the ruined pieces that could have been saved: shrunken sweaters, pink-dyed “white” shirts, and hoodies with unraveled ties. Oh, and then there was that one instance with the sash that got itself tangled up in every single piece of clothing in the washing machine. Here are some tips to avoid common laundry mishaps.

Read labels carefully
Clothing labels exist for a reason. Unless you’re cool with ruining that brand new blouse that you just spent half your paycheck on – check out the label. It provides all kinds of important information, like the fabric type, temperature to wash it in, and whether you should throw it in the dryer. If in doubt about whether you should hang a piece to dry or put it in the dryer – air dry. Also, if the label reads “Dry clean only,” trust me, it’s dry clean only. You will lose that battle.

Sort, sort, sort!
Although my boyfriend swears by the toss-it-all-in-and-forget-about-it method, I don’t trust my bold red skirt to mingle with my delicate white tees. There are a few ways to sort by color, depending on how many clothes you need to wash. You can sort into two different loads: darks (including saturated colors like red) in one load and lights in another. Another option: do one load of blacks and navys, another load with whites/light neutrals, and a third load of colors. Typically, darks and colors do best in cold water and white/light colors do best in warm water. Also, to be safe, after you sort (they are in no way a replacement for sorting), you can throw in a Shout Color Catcher, and they will help absorb any dye that may still be loose in the wash. I love seeing just how much damage-control is done by this little sheet after each wash.

Check pockets and zip zippers
Start a pre-wash ritual of turning your clothes right-side out and checking each pocket. You can also use this time to give your clothing another once-over for any forgotten or missed stains that may need attention before washing. Another good idea during this time is to zip up any zippers to avoid a zipper getting caught in the machine and snagging the garment. These steps don’t take long, and are well worth saving a whole batch of clothes from getting ruined by that pen in your pocket – or accidentally giving your iPod a bath.

Remove extras
If you’re washing a top or dress that has a matching, removable sash – it’s best to take that off instead of washing it with everything else. It’s extremely likely to get tied up in the other clothes, which can be a ridiculous hassle to get it out of. Also, tie hoodie strings together to avoid the same problem, or the conundrum of the drawstring that gets lost inside the hoodie.

P.S. Hand wash bras. A bra should never see the inside of your washing machine. Even more so, it should never ever be dried in the dryer.

What laundry tips or horror stories have you faced?


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