Laundry Tips

Keeping Clothing looking new
I recently spent a small fortune on clothing for my two school age children and was wondering if there are any tips for keeping these clothes looking new.
Ahhhh! The mixed emotions of fall. A breath of relief as our kids walk out the door for school, and a tremor of fear when we add up how much their attire cost. Given the expense of new clothing, especially brand name articles, it is prudent to keep everything looking new for as long as possible.
Check the pockets. A pen, a piece of gum, or tube of lipstick can easily damage hundreds of dollars worth of clothing in the washer or dryer. If anyone has learned this lesson the hard way, they will tell you that this is the single most important part of doing laundry.
Always sort machine washable clothing into whites, darks and mixed colours.
Pretreat any stains with a stain spray or stick. In a pinch, even a bar of unscented soap can be rubbed on the stains. Always check for and repair any damaged or torn clothing before washing. It will only become more frayed or damaged in the wash.
Some clothing dyes are not colourfast, and they tend to bleed worse in hot water. Colours will usually become permanent after a wash or two, and heat drying will help accelerate this process. For deeply coloured items, and for all jeans, turn them inside out when laundering.
The pieces of clothing inside the washing machine and dryer rub against one another, damaging the surface of the fabric. This is an excellent argument to not overload your machines. New (to North America) front loading washing machines, in addition to using less power and water, also do not agitate clothing as aggressively, which results in less wear and longer useable life spans.
White fabrics contain optical brighteners, which degrade with bleach, sunlight, and age. Ironically, bleach and sunlight can actually help restore some brightness to your whites. Drying clothing in the sun will frequently lighten stains, and can help remove yellowing. While the occasional use of bleach is also helpful, frequent use will soon damage the fibers, resulting in holes and premature aging. Given all of these factors, the most common cause of poor results with whites, is simply using either too much or too little detergent. Oh, and there is also that new small red sock hidden in a white shirt that makes the whole load pink.
When laundering mixed colors always wash in cold water with similar garments. Check and understand the care labels on all of your clothing. With mixed fabrics this is even more important, as there may even be special care instructions for washing and drying!
When transferring clothes from the washer to the dryer, shake out each item, and at the same time check for stains. By shaking out the clothing, it will help prevent wrinkled messes when items ball up on themselves, and by removing and air drying stained items, it will give you a second chance at removing the stain before it is permanently heat set by the dryer.
Clothing should not be over dried. It wastes energy, and will also prematurely age the fabric. Instead of ironing clothes, try removing them from the dryer while they are still slightly damp. Give them a couple sharp shakes, and air dry them on rust proof hangers. You can’t stop your kids from growing out of their clothing, but with a little common sense, you can be sure that this is the main reason an item has to be retired.

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