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How to keep your clothes lasting wash after wash

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Posted on July 09 2018

How to keep your clothes lasting wash after wash

Contributed By Gabrielle Zlotin

While you might think that reading a blog about laundry is something to cry yourself to sleep over, it is actually of much underestimated importance.

If you think of how much you spend on clothing and linen for you and your family, and with a growing awareness of the need to reduce our waste, it makes perfect sense to make our clothes last as long as possible.

Optimal washing and drying will keep your fabrics cleaner and in shape for longer.

For Worst Results


1. Check your labels!

Manufacturers have put in a lot of effort to ensuring the fabrics they choose meet product design needs, so they know whats up!

You can check out this awesome site for all the little icons and what they mean.

2. Detergent, and stop using fabric softener!

When it comes to laundry detergent, less is better. Modern washing machines use far less water than the ones we grew up, so the amount of detergent required is a lot less too.

When using commercial laundry detergent, you can use less than ¼ of the recommended amount without compromising washing quality.

Fabric softener is absolutely not necessary, and in fact, is damaging the fabrics it is used on. Fabric softener leaves a coating on your clothes and linens, so your towels become less absorbent, your children’s clothes reduce their resistance to flames and your washing machine becomes clogged with the build up.

Choice suggest some DIY softener recipes, or you can try ½ cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle of linens to act as a softener, and has bonus disinfectant properties.

3. Seperate your colours

Seriously, do it. While you’re drowning in laundry that your pets and small children get lost in, it’s tempting to throw  everything in together. Its worth spending a few minutes sorting your laundry into:

  • Whites
  • Delicates
  • Linen
  • Similar colours

Wash new clothes with similar colours before you wear them for the first time to remove unstable dyes and prevent transfer.

Wash brightly coloured items separately - it maybe more efficient to hand-wash them separately. Use cold water to wash colours to help the colours last longer.

4. Go green and DIY

You can make your own laundry detergent - it's inexpensive and reduces packaging waste, and is gentle and non-allergenic for young skin.

A simple and effective recipe is a mix of:

  • 1 part bicarb/baking soda
  • 1 part borax
  • ½ part Lux Flaxes (or grated soap)

Mix it all up into a lidded container, and use ½ cup for each load of washing.

I buy a giant bag of bicarb soda from Costco and use it for all my cleaning (great for bathrooms, kitchens and sinks too).

You can also buy the bicarb and borax from Bunnings.

5. Stain removal

After complaining about the stains I found on baby clothes I pulled out of storage, a friend suggested that I soak the stains in a paste made with Lux soap flakes and a bit of water. It worked!

6. Clean the cleaner

Clean your washing machine monthly. It doesn’t take long, and will ensure your laundry comes out clean and fresh each cycle, and helps keep your machine going for years.

Find the filter and empty it. Pocket the money, and put the rogue socks back in the laundry basket.

Run an empty machine on the hottest cycle, sprinkling about ½ cup of bicarb soda in the drum, and about a cup of white vinegar in the detergent draw.

Wipe down the seals and surface with a cloth and warm water mixed with a little vinegar, and let fully dry.

Between laundry cycles, leave the door open to prevent mould build up.

(Please refer to your machine’s specific maintenance instruction manual. If like me, you have no idea where it is, most manufacturers keep PDFs online.)

General Tips

Don’t overload the washing machine! Washing machines clean clothes not just by immersion in water, but by agitation - so under-loading, or over-loading, will compromise how effective that agitation is.