Are you making any of these 10 laundry mistakes?
It’s a real drag when you’ve gone to the effort of washing, drying and folding your laundry only to find it’s not smelling so fresh or still has stains on it. Get the most out of your washing machine by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Buying fabric softener
You might like how fabric softener makes your clothes feel, but there are three reasons to never buy it.
First, your towels might feel softer, but it can also make them less absorbent because soft textiles absorb less water. Second, fabric softener can also make flame-resistant fabrics, such as those used for kids’ pyjamas, flammable. And last, it’s terrible for your washing machine as it reacts with laundry detergent to produce “scrud” – a waxy residue that can build up and damage your machine.
Instead of using fabric softener, check out our advice to stop towels from being scratchy.
2. Using laundry sheets
The idea is you pop a laundry sheet in with your washing instead of powder or liquid detergent. We included laundry sheets from four brands in our latest laundry detergent test and weren’t impressed by any of them. If you like the idea of popping something in with your washing instead of using the dispenser, go for a capsule instead – there are five we recommend.
3. Using laundry scent boosters
These are small beads that dissolve in the wash to perfume your washing. Laundry scent boosters seem an unnecessary cost to us – a bottle costs about $15 and lasts less than 10 washes – when most detergents already have a fragrance. Check out our advice on how to get fresh smelling washing instead.
4. Forgetting to do a drum clean
A lot of manufacturers now put a tub clean cycle on their machine and will prompt you to do it when it’s time. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to remember to do it about once a month. There are products you can buy for the job, but regular empty hot washes will do the trick.
5. Neglecting your washing machine
Washing machines need to be maintained – and there’s a surprising number of tasks to keep on top of. Check out our guide to caring for your washing machine, which includes tips on cleaning the detergent drawer, drain pump and seals.
6. Closing the door or lid between washes
Leaving the door or lid open between washes will allow your tub to air dry and help prevent the growth of mould, which can lead to stinky washing.
7. Always washing in warm water
A warm wash in a front loader costs three times as much in power than a cold wash; in a top loader it’s about six times the price. The difference in cleaning performance when washing with cold versus warm water is marginal, though. Save the high temp for when you’ve really got dirty clothes.
8. Not using a recommended detergent
Finding the best laundry detergent doesn’t have to be a guessing game or a matter of trial and error. We’ve done the hard work for you with our laundry detergent test. We use specially stained fabric swatches that are also used by detergent companies to test their products.
9. Doing small loads
If you’re frequently doing small loads of washing, you’ll be wasting detergent, water and power. It’s also more wear and tear on your machine. Save your laundry for larger loads, but not so much that it’s packed too tightly to get a proper clean.
10. Not using the delay button
If your machine lets you delay when it starts washing, you could save money on your power bill by switching to a time-of-use power plan and doing your laundry during periods of cheap or free power. If you do the same with your dishwasher, you’ll notice the savings.