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Dirty Laundry Secrets: Five Bad Laundry Habits to Break (and One to Keep)

Washer Machine Display in Laundry Room

This article delivers expert advice and laundry tips from the professionals at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials. Read on to learn about five bad habits that are slowing down your laundry routine and one good habit you should definitely embrace.

Make Your Laundry Life Easier

Here at Heritage Park, we love all things laundry-related: doing laundry, folding clean laundry, talking about laundry, hanging out in the laundry room. But we realize not everyone looks forward to laundry day like we do. That’s why we’re always here with solutions to help make your laundry life easier so you don’t have to think about it quite so much.

Break Bad Laundry Habits, Start Good Ones

Unless you have household staff (lucky you!) laundry is a necessary chore that’s part of your daily household life. Like so many daily activities -- getting enough sleep, hitting the gym, meditating -- mastering the flow of laundry comes down to setting good habits and breaking bad ones. Today we’re going to talk about five bad habits that can undermine your efforts and throw your laundry routine into chaos. Read on as our laundry pros delve into five bad laundry habits that you should definitely break, and one important habit that you should keep.

Laundry Habits to Let Go

1. Not Reading the Care Labels

Do NOT skip reading the care labels on your clothing, sheets, towels, and home linen. These tiny tags are not optional reading; they hold crucial care information that can determine the longevity and appearance of your garments. Even if you're not a textile expert or a chemist, ignoring these care labels is a laundry mistake you should avoid at all costs. These labels provide insights into the best washing temperature, recommended detergents, and proper drying methods. Ignoring them might lead to faded colors, shrinkage, and even irreversible damage to delicate fabrics. (And definitely pay attention when a label says dry clean only). Remember, care labels are there to help you make informed decisions and get the most out of your clothing investment. Check out our laundry symbol guide here

Clothing Care Label 

2. Overloading the Wash Machine

Okay, so you’ve put off laundry for a while and now have a mountain (or a mountain range) to be washed. No judgment. But resist the temptation to cram it all into a single load to save time. Overloading your machine is a bad habit that can backfire in the long run. When you stuff your machine to capacity, dirty clothes don't have enough room to move around, which can result in inefficient cleaning. It also puts excessive strain on the machine's motor and other components, potentially leading to breakdowns. To ensure a thorough and effective wash, stick to recommended load sizes (learn about washing machine capacity and load sizes here) and give your clothes the space they need to get clean without compromising the health of your machine.

 Overloaded Washer Machine with Colorful Clothes and a Woman looking Worried 

3. Using Too Much Detergent

Don’t assume that using extra detergent will lead to cleaner clothes. Using too much detergent can actually have the opposite effect by not dissolving during the wash cycle and leaving a soapy residue on your clothes. That residue can actually trap dirt and grime from the machine back on your clothing (ew!) and build up inside the drum, causing unpleasant odors and reduced efficiency. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for detergent usage, and remember that a little goes a long way. And while we are on the subject, use a gentle, pH-neutral detergent like Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent; unlike commercial detergents, which are mostly water, this liquid formula is concentrated to be efficient and eco-friendly.

4. Fabric Softener is Not Your Friend

And neither is any type of dryer sheet! Fabric softeners are sold by “Big Laundry” as a way to make clothes seem softer and smell nicer, but they do more harm than good. These products leave a waxy buildup on clothing fibers, reducing their absorbency and breathability. This is particularly problematic for towels and activewear, which need those properties to do their job. Read more about the evils of fabric softener and dryer sheets here. If you want to naturally soften your laundry and speed up drying time, check out these natural wool dryer balls.

5. Washing Every Load on the Same Cycle

It might be convenient to wash your laundry on the same setting load after load, but this one-size-fits-all approach can yield subpar results. Different fabrics, colors, and levels of dirtiness require specific care. Delicate items deserve a gentle cycle in cold water, while heavily soiled items might require a more robust wash in warm water or hot water. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the cycles and settings on your washing machine and use them to get the best results.

 Washer Machine Control Panel 

 

One Great Habit to Keep: Sorting Your Laundry

Sorting your laundry is a fantastic idea! And remember, sorting isn’t only about separating whites, lights, darks, and colored items; it’s also about weight, fabric type, and level of dirtiness. Properly sorting your laundry can prevent color bleeding, fabric damage, and uneven cleaning. Towels, for example, should be washed together in a separate load and sorted by color. The same goes for other durable fabrics like denim, which can damage lighter weight clothing with their zippers. Lightweight pieces belong in their own load, with delicate clothes and linen placed in a mesh bag for extra protection from snags and tears. Pro tip: use a different laundry basket to sort dirty laundry as you go: one for bed sheets, one for dark clothes, one for towels, etc. 

Following these tips for properly washing clothes and home linen will help your items last longer, perform better, and look great. It will also keep your washing machine and dryer working at peak performance. To learn more laundry tips -- including our advice on stain removal -- check out our helpful laundry blog here. In the meantime, feel free to contact our Clean Team for answers to any of your most pressing laundry questions (unless you’re asking about your missing sock, the whereabouts of which will remain a mystery).

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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