4 mistakes you're making with laundry — and how to fix them

by TODAY /  / Updated 

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Laundry is (hopefully) a part of your regular routine — but you might be doing it incorrectly. 

Lifestyle expert Elizabeth Mayhew is breaking laundry down to reveal how you really should be loading the washer, tackling those stains and managing the dreaded chore. 

Overloading the machine

When you have a ton of laundry to do, it's tempting to just open up the washer door and stuff everything in. But fight that urge.

"You don't want to stuff it," Mayhew said. "You need the agitation so the water can take the dirt away and clean the clothes." Keep in mind as your sort and load that large front-loading machines can fit 18 pounds while top-loading machines can hold roughly 15 pounds.

Adding too much detergent 

It might seem like the right thing to do to is fill that detergent cup up and pour it in the washer — but it's not.

"Don't use too much," Mayhew said. "It leaves a residue and is not good for your clothing."

Skipping stains

Mayhew suggests reaching for stain remover as soon as that spaghetti sauce hits your child's shirt, and letting the remover sit for 20 minutes before tossing the clothing into the washer.  

"Just wet it if anything," she suggests if you don't have a stain-removing product nearby. 

Mayhew also warns against using bleach, as it can often yellow stains. Instead, she recommends trying these DIY options:

  • To tackle sweat stains: Mix two crushed Aspirin with warm water, then let clothing sit in the mixture overnight while the salicylic acid takes care of the stains. 
  • To make whites whiter: Soak whites in lemon water, then lay them out in the sun.

Welcoming wrinkles

Wrinkles are everyone's enemy, but we're letting them happen by leaving our clothes in the dryer after they have been tried, so make sure to take dry clothing out immediately. 

If you're too late and need to break out the iron, Mayhew has a few tips for getting it done quickly and properly. For pants, turn them inside out to avoid getting the sheen look irons often leave behind. And get ironing done quickly by lining your ironing board in aluminum foil. 

"It acts as an insulation," Mayhew said. "So you're actually ironing both sides as you go." 

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