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5 common mistakes to avoid when doing the laundry

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You may think you already know how to do laundry, but that doesn’t mean your routine can’t be improved. Take a peek at five common mistakes that might be holding back your laundry prowess:

Mistake 1: Too much of a good thing

There’s no denying that laundry care products are the best way to restore the beauty, grace and look of a dirty pile of laundry. However if used excessively, they can actually hinder rather than improve results. When too much laundry detergent is used, it cannot be washed out during the rinse cycle, leaving fabric stiff and uncomfortable. Too much fabric softener, on the other hand, can cling to fibres, causing greasy fabric softener stains. Luckily there’s a simple solution: restraint. Follow the product guidelines and, when in doubt, the Vernel rule-of-thumb is that for every 4 kg load you should use roughly half a cap of fabric softener.

Mistake 2: Fabric softener vs detergent

Is fabric softener the same as detergent? Absolutely not. Not even a little bit. Although they are commonly confused as interchangeable, the two products perform very different tasks. Laundry detergents focus on stains and clean clothes by working deep into the fibres to lift away dirt and grime. By contrast, fabric softeners come into action during the very last rinse cycle, which washes away detergent, neutralises static cling and softens fabric, while also protecting it against wear and tear, locking in colour and adding a refreshing scent. You cannot remove stains using fabric softener, just as you can’t soften using detergent.

Mistake 3: Label ignoramus

Peer inside just about any item of clothing and you’ll inevitably notice a little tag with washing care instructions. These little nuggets of wisdom tell you exactly how a particular item should be cared for – from the right water temperature to the correct drying method. Yet all too often they get completely ignored, to the detriment of a favourite pair of jeans or a formerly-white shirt. If you’d like to avoid colour runs and a host of other problems, take a minute to listen to what the care instructions have to say.

Mistake 4: Mix and match

You’re probably aware that fabrics should be separated by colour before being washed. But did you know that they should also be segregated according to their lint behaviour? It’s true. Some fabrics, such as cotton, terry cloth, rugs and chenille, are renown for shedding lint like it’s going out of fashion. Conversely others, like linen, synthetic fibres, knits and corduroy, attract it. As you can imagine, when a shedder is paired with an attractor, the results are less than optimal. If you want to keep lint under control, keep them apart and add a splash of fabric softener – it’ll help to relax the fibres, making lint easier to wash away.

Mistake 5: Dark matter

They might look tough, but don’t make the mistake of assuming dark-coloured fabrics can handle rough treatment. In reality, they are actually among the most sensitive. Too much heat or movement can agitate the surface of their fibres, leading to fading and a disheveled appearance. What can you do about it? When washing dark clothes, turn them inside out, use a gentle, cold wash cycle and don’t forget to add fabric softener. This will relax the fibres and protect them against wear and help to lock colour in. Finally, skip the tumble-dryer and hang dark items up on a line, away from direct sunlight.

You may think you already know how to do laundry, but that doesn’t mean your routine can’t be improved. Read on if you’re ready to take your laundry prowess to the next level …

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