Having a washing machine in your home can make doing the laundry easier, especially when you need to take care of a large load. While it may seem convenient to simply throw all your dirty clothes into the washing machine, you still need to inspect each and every piece. You probably already know not to put delicate items such as stockings and lingerie into the machine. However, there are many other clothing items that can be ruined by the harsh tumbling action inside the washer.
If you want to extend the lifespan of your clothes and use your washing machine more effectively, understand that some aren’t meant to be tossed into the washing machine. To find out what they are and how to best handle them, here’s a list of items that need alternative methods of cleaning.
Although swimsuits are designed to be worn in water, their material isn’t meant for the washing machine. The mechanical action of your appliance can damage the straps and inner structure of women’s swimwear. Also, washing them together with garments that have zippers and hooks can punch holes or cause snags on your swimsuit. If you want to retain the quality of your swimsuits, it’s best to wash them by hand.
In addition to hand washing, use mild laundry detergent to prevent the color from fading fast. Look for products that are specially formulated to remove oil and pool chemicals from spandex fabrics without damaging the material.
Neckties are often made of silk, which is a fine material that can easily get damaged in the washer. The tumbling operation inside the washer can ruin the stitching of the garment. Also, washing neckties in the machine can cause them to get twisted and lose their shape. Neckties don’t usually get very dirty, so it’s quite easy to hand wash these accessories yourself.
If you do spill something on your tie, like food or ink, make sure to spot treat the stain before washing the garment. Begin by carefully removing any solid particles using a dull knife or the edge of a card. Avoid rubbing the stain because this will only make it penetrate deeper into the fabric. If the stain is greasy, absorb any excess oil using talcum powder or baking soda. If the spill is liquid, blot the area with a white paper towel or napkin. Don’t use colored napkins as they might leave dye stains on the tie.
Leather jackets are a wardrobe staple for many fashionable individuals. After all, it’s a piece that never goes out of style. Leather isn’t prone to getting dirty in the same way that most fabrics do, but if it does happen, don’t just throw the garment into the washing machine. Prolonged exposure to water and heat can cause the material to crack, warp, and shrink.
If your jacket only requires minimal cleaning, you can wipe down the outer layer using a mild soap solution and a soft sponge. To remove any soap residue, wipe the jacket with a clean, damp sponge. Then, pat the garment dry using a soft, dry towel. If your jacket requires a more thorough cleaning, take it to a professional cleaner who specializes in leather care instead.
If you have sequined, beaded, or heavily-embellished garments, don’t put them into the washing machine after wearing them. Such clothing often requires delicate stitching to attach the decorations to the fabric, and the vigorous motions of the washer can cause the threads to snag or break. The damaged stitching can result in bare spots on your clothes. Gently washing these garments by hand is the best way to keep the precious beading intact.
Clothes Stained with Petroleum Products
Apart from delicate fabrics and decorating techniques, another thing to watch out for is the kind of stains and spills that are on the clothing. It isn’t a good idea to put clothes that are heavily stained with petroleum products, such as oil and grease, directly into the washing machine. These substances won’t only spread to the other items in the laundry load, but may also leave a residue inside the machine that can continue to stain future loads. As such, it’s best to pretreat or presoak the stained garments before including them in a laundry cycle.
If the stain only covers small parts of your clothes, use a solvent-based stain remover or hand wash the item. For bigger spills, use paper napkins to soak up all the excess oil, then presoak the garment to remove all traces of petroleum products.
If you want to save time and effort, using a washing machine is a great convenience. However, you can’t simply put all your dirty clothes into it without much thought. If you want to keep your clothes in top condition, don’t put these items in your washer. And if you’re uncertain if a garment is machine-washable, check the care label and follow the recommended washing instructions.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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