How to Properly Wash Your Clothes, According to an Expert

Doing a load of laundry may seem like a taxing process, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Obviously, all the clothes you own have different instructions on the labels, meaning each item requires a different type of care. However, since we don't have time to wash every single item as instructed, there are a few universal rules that you could totally get away with following. We spoke with expert John Linden, an interior designer and previous laundromat store employee, who breaks down the mistakes he saw people make, and how to do it the right way.

Keep reading for the full interview on how to properly wash your clothes!

Sweety High: What's the best way to take care of stains?

John Linden: Don't scrub stains. It only spreads the stain and embeds it further into the fabric. If you get grape jelly or something red on your favorite shirt, dip a washcloth into club soda, dab it on the stain until the stain starts to look faint, and run it through the wash.


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SH: How would you recommend washing items with buttons? 

JL: Undo shirt buttons before you wash a shirt. A lot of people think that buttoning your shirts before you wash them helps maintain their shape, but that's not the case. Leaving your shirts buttoned will only loosen the threads that hold the button on.


SH: How would you recommend washing items with zippers?

JL: Zip-up the zippers on your jeans before you wash them. Zippers can scratch other garments in the washing machine. They can also get caught on loose threads, which can ruin other garments. Zipping-up your zippers before you wash your jeans will prevent this from happening.


SH: What's the best way to use detergent? 

JL: Don't pour detergent onto your clothes. I don't know who told people this was a good idea, but pouring detergent onto dry clothes will only cause streaks on them. Instead, fill up the washer with water, then pour your detergent into the washer. Or, follow the directions on your washing machine.


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SH: How much detergent should we use?

JL: Don't use too much detergent. More detergent doesn't equal a cleaner wash. Soap and hot water kills bacteria, but germs are able to live on top of suds. The more soap you use, the more suds there are, which means that you're giving clothing more opportunity to survive. I remember seeing a study once that showed a correlation between the amount of soap used and the number of germs left over after the wash. Obviously, you need to use some detergent, but don't overdo it.


SH: Do you have to take certain items to be dry-cleaned? 

JL: Yes. Don't wash items that need to be dry-cleaned. You'd think this one was obvious, but I worked in a laundromat for years, and people continuously washed items that were supposed to be dry cleaned. At that point, it's a gamble. Your item may come out of the wash salvageable, or, it could be completely ruined. Read the label before you wash something. If it says "Dry-Clean Only", take it to the dry cleaner.


SH: Is there anything else we should know? 

JL: Clean. Your. Washer. Just like every other appliance, the washing machine has to be cleaned from time to time. That's the only way to ensure that it'll clean your clothes and make them look good. Every six months or so, you should pour a cup of bleach into the wash and run a hot cycle. When that's done, pour a cup of white vinegar into the machine and run another cycle. The entire process takes less than two hours, but it'll leave your washer clean and germ-free.


(via Shutterstock)


Isn't cleaning fun? Click HERE for some spring cleaning ideas!