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The 6 Worst Laundry Myths

1. Apply stain treatments to the front. It seems counterintuitive to treat a stain from the back. Logically, it makes sense that if the you spill something on the front of a garment, you should remove the stain from the front of the garment. But, actually, applying stain treatment to the back of the stain pushes the stain out of the fibers from underneath, whereas treating the stain from the front can push the stain deeper into the fibers.

2. Hot water kills germs. Not really. In order to kill most germs, water must be heated past the boiling point. Your washer may be awesome, but it doesn’t boil your clothes. In fact, any germs that are on your laundry when you put it in the washer are probably just going to be swirled around onto all of the other laundry in the load. So be especially conscious about washing clothes and bedding when family members are sick. What does kill laundry germs? Vinegar, of course! A half cup of white vinegar in your wash cycle will sanitize the clothing, and the smell should dissipate in the rinse cycle.

3. The more detergent, the cleaner your clothes. This is another one of those myths that seems perfectly sensible, but it’s not true! The truth is that excess detergent can fail to dissolve properly in the wash cycle, leaving your clothes with a sticky, filmy residue, and not getting them any cleaner. This is especially likely to happen with cold water washes. Never fill your detergent measuring cup past the top line. In fact, most of the time, it’s probably okay to use less detergent than the manufacturer’s recommendation.

4. Wash your clothes after each wear. Not only is this completely unnecessary most of the time, but it’s also terrible for your water bill and the environment. Most types of clothing—jeans, t-shirts, pajamas, towels, etc.—can be used two or more times before washing. The only types of clothes that really need to be washed after every use are underwear, socks, and clothes that are worn for sweaty manual labor. Save yourselfthe stress of constant laundering, and save a few bucks at the same time!

5. Use more detergent for a heavy load. Even though the manufacturer’s instructions tell you to use more detergent the larger your load is, this is not absolutely necessary. You can probably get by using the “small load” amount for larger loads, unless they are particularly dirty or smelly. But even if that is the case, never fill your detergent measurer past the top line!

6. Dryer lint is no big deal. Okay, if you want to be broke and have a fire in your laundry room, then dryer lint is no big deal. The more lint is clogging up your air filter, the longer your clothes will take to dry, the more energy will be used in drying them, and the more money you will spend on your electric bill. And, even worse, a neglected lint filter can pose a serious fire risk. So clean the lint out of the filter after every load!

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