Protect Your Clothes: Laundry Tips

This is the second post in my Protect Your Clothes Series, you can read the first post here. Today, we discuss laundry tips that can help prolong the life of your clothes.


I found a few guidelines for maintaining the life of your clothes while laundering them. {via wisebread + about}

Read the Care Label

It takes a few seconds, but reading the care labels may save a lot of heartache when your clothes come out of the wash. Check for instructions that may say to wash only in cold, or with like colors. Don't forget to check for drying instructions as well. The label may indicate that the clothing needs to be dried on low, or drip dried.

Stop Washing So Often

Washing is the fastest way for clothing fibers break down. The fewer times you have to wash, the longer it your clothes will last.

The following steps can also help you wear a shirt or a pair of pants more than once before washing:
  • Tide To Go Pen: I am completely obsessed with these pens. I have them in my purse and car. They cost less than $5, last for a long time, and will save your shirt when you manage to spill syrup down the front.
  • Lint Roller: Sometimes a pair of black slacks doesn't really need to be washed — it just needs lint and hair removed. Make sure to swipe a lint roller before leaving the house, to keep yourself looking professional.
  • Deodorant: Your shirts will smell better if you smell better.

Spot Treat

Always treat a stain as soon as possible. Also, remember that heat from a clothes dryer can bake stains in, so don't machine dry a garment until you know it's clean.

Wash in Cold Water

People who wash their clothing in cold water will notice a drop in their energy bills quickly. In addition, many fabrics (especially nylon and elastics) hold up better when subjected to less heat. Cold water detergents (like this one) are designed to remove dirt even without the help of hot water, but even normal detergent will work well. A capful of bleach will do amazing things for the brightness of your whites but it can also help break down the fibers of your clothes, so I would recommend using it sparingly.

Obey the Laws of Color Separation

Always try to keep like colors washed with like colors. Reds and blues fade easily and everyone knows how one red sock can turn a whole load of whites a lovely shade of pink (Felicity's "pink guy" ring a bell?). Try your best to keep dissimilar colors apart in the laundry.

Zip Up Jeans and Hoodies Before Washing

Unzipped zipper edges on pants and hoodies are often very rough, and if left unzipped during the washing and drying cycles, they'll chew up the rest of your clothing in no time! To protect the rest, make sure that all zippers are zipped to the top before tossing them in the wash.


Turn Clothes Inside Out

Some of the wear and tear that happens on your clothing can be prevented by turning your clothing inside out before washing and drying. Washing and drying clothing is rough on the outside of your clothing. Turning garments inside out will reduce pilling. This holds true when you hang clothes outside to dry as well. While the sun is an excellent and efficient drying tool, it will zap the color right out of your clothes.

Don't Stuff the Washer

Stuffing the washer is tempting because it seems like it will save us time. The truth is, it makes the machine work harder and it is tougher on clothes. Clothing can't come clean or have soap evenly deposited when it is packed into a washing machine. And don't forget that clothing takes a lot longer to dry when a dryer is stuffed with wet clothes.

Be Considerate of Your Underthings

Don't tumble-dry your bras. Bras and underwear made of fabrics and fabric blends (especially nylon) besides cotton don't do well in the heat of a dryer. Hang or drape them to air dry instead. Small mesh bags help to keep bra straps from wrapping around other clothing while in the wash. Also, make sure to fasten the hooks to prevent them from catching on delicate knits or sweaters.

Whew.... that's a long list! What are your tips for being kind to your clothes through laundry? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading,

Happy Shopping!


  1. dont put anything that is cotton jersey in the dryer, it will pill.
    i wash my bras in the shower and hang dry or lay on top of a towel to dry. i never put them in the washing machine or dryer.
    use those little mesh bags for anything that seems delicate and another one for anything that has velcro on it (bibs etc..) make sure to always close the velcro.

  2. I didn't really catch on to the color separation until my husband and I both made a conscious effort to do it. It's REALLY made a difference. Our whites are actually white, not grey.

    Don't dry jeans in the dryer. It breaks down the fibers really fast. Hang dry them & then tumble dry your pants just before wearing, that way you'll keep your jeans looking nicer longer AND they won't feel like cardboard.

  3. I agree with Melissa on not drying your jeans in the dryer. I always hang dry jeans and put them in the dryer on low or no heat for a few minutes so they are not stiff (but, in the summer they don't seem to stiffen up so that is not needed).

    I also wanted to tell you that because of your last protect your clothes post I bought an apron (and am making another). Thanks!!

    Oh, yeah one more thing to add - I put my dryer to low when I dry darks and medium when I dry whites and towels. My darks seem to fade less now!

  4. Thanks for the information! I would just add washing nylons in mesh bags. But why do they smell so bad so quickly and do you know how to prevent that? It seems like I have to wash them after EVERY wearing and that ruins them so much faster. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  5. Fun tip! Pantyhose are the perfect thing to remove annoying deodorant stains!! Just rub the pantyhose over the mark and it removes it instantly without ruining the pantyhose. Weird but it works

  6. Thanks for these tips! I hadn't heard about the jeans at all!

    Got any tips for supposedly dry-clean only stuff? When I started my internship, I bought some work clothes and didn't realize that a couple of my blouses/sweaters/pants are dry-clean only. =(

  7. Deodorant can badly stain your underarms. Better to layer a thin shirt underneath to catch the deodorant and sweat (that you can wash less often).

  8. I always had problems with removing oil based stains on my knit tops when I forgot to put an apron on. I tried every laundry stain remover product, nothing worked. Finally I tried dish washing liquid, just drop a little on the greese stain, go ahead and laundry as usual, it has even worked on stains that were set from the dryer.. My second hint to keep knit tops looking like new is to use a press cloth, align all seams making sure all fabric is smoothed out, then using the press cloth, press with a steam iron; if the pilling is really bad use one of the little machine designed to shave cloth. Love your this site.


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