We’ve all experienced the frustration that comes after making your way through a massive load of laundry only to find that your clothes came out wrinkled, misshaped, and stained. All that water, product, and time wasted, and for whatever reason, you must start over. No one likes wasting money, especially when the waste could have been prevented. Washing laundry wrong can even lead to damaged clothes. For me, making the already frustrating tasks of laundry last longer is a nightmare. Washing clothes is a household necessity, but not everyone received the proper instruction on how to make sure your clothes come out looking clean and smelling fresh. At the Green Hanger, we like to think of ourselves as the experts in laundry, but we want everyone to feel like a pro at home too. Whether you’re a young adult learning how to care for your clothes for the first time, or experienced in washing the clothes for your family, here are five easy ways to ensure your clothes come out clean the first time.
1: Sort by color
Sorting laundry seems like an unnecessary task until a stray red shirt turns your white socks pink, or your favorite denim bleeds into white shirts. Sorting by color and clothing type is the key to ensuring the longevity of your garments. Separating delicates from bulky items prevents premature wear on the fabrics. Different types of clothing require different wash temperatures and products to achieve the cleanest clothing. Like colors are often made with the same material, putting them in the same wash cycle will protect the design of the fabric. Clothing often leaves the manufacturer with access dye in the material. Washing that new black shirt with lighter clothing can leave a dingy or even stained look on your favorites. Improperly washing newly dyed items can also lead to staining on your skin. Separating your light clothing from dark clothing allows for you to safely use the correct products, to ensure your clothes and skin come out looking fresh. Adding bleach to a mixed load could be a catastrophe for your beloved shirts and pants. Color-safe bleach on your darks and bleach on your whites leads to your clothing looking and staying in its best condition. Color-safe bleach protects the dye in more brightly colored items and keeps them looking new. Regular bleach on whites keeps them looking white and new and prevents yellowing of the fabric. Protecting your nice garments helps keep items out of the landfill and can help curb the impact of the fashion industry that is notoriously wasteful. Properly caring for your garments by separating darks and lights sounds like something only our grandmas cared about, but the expense of having to replace items can add up. Adding one more step into your laundry routine will protect the longevity of your clothes and leave the color of your fabrics looking their best. Sorting is simple and easy, but when in doubt, the Green Hanger is always there to help you with your clothing needs.
2: Spot treat stains
Life is messy. If you are anything like me, I often can’t make it through the day without spilling something. It can be tempting to just throw everything into the wash and hope for the best, but spot treating can ensure your clothes continue to look great and stay stain free. Finding the right spot treatment for the type of stain you are dealing with is crucial. Take a pen stain, for example, the ink in a pen is oil-based, so when you accidentally get ink on your favorite shirt, finding a grease-fighting stain remover is ideal. It is possible you already own many of the best stain removers. Dish soap is great for grease stains. However, a lesser-known secret for ink stains: hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is great for lifting out annoying ink stains on shirts and pants. Another great way to get rid of oil and grease stains is to apply cornstarch or baby powder to the area. The powder can absorb the oil from the fabric and even remove it completely. Hydrogen peroxide is good for more than just cleaning wounds, it can also help get deep surface stains, like blood, nail polish, and red wine, out of light clothing. Use caution when handling peroxide around darker fabrics, as it can cause bleaching and discoloration. Adding baking soda to your machine can be a simple way to boost the effects of regular detergent for particularly dirty clothing. White vinegar is a great way to brighten white clothing if bleach isn’t available. It is a great way to ensure your whites don’t go yellow as they age. White vinegar is also a great and affordable way to clean your washing machine. Simply add to the drum and run a regular cycle free of clothing to help eliminate odors and keep your machine working its best. As always, be careful when mixing chemicals with different cleaners in your home to avoid accidents. Coca-Cola is good for more than just drinking, soaking greasy rags in the drink can help eliminate the grease from the fabric. Other products that can help eliminate stains are affordable at the store. Spray N’ Wash, OxyClean, and Tide Pens can also be used on small surface stains. Never underestimate the power of the right product and a good soak before a regular wash cycle. No business can give out too many secrets, if you are really struggling with stains on a beloved clothing item, the staff at the Green Hanger are happy to help restore your favorite items to their best condition.
Cleaning our clothes might seem like it requires a specific set of instructions, which is likely the reason manufacturers include care instructions on their tags. Checking to see what temperature your items should be washed at is an important step in maintaining the quality of your items. Hot water is good for white clothing and clothing that is particularly dirty. The higher temperatures can be great for eliminating germs and deep-set dirt. However, not all material is suitable for this temperature, so always refer to the label on the garment before washing. Warm water is best for general washing. Man-made materials and colors typically wash well at this temperature. Warm water is a generally safe bet for most materials. Super bright and super dark-colored clothing can be prone to bleeding onto other materials and do best in a cold wash. Along with separating your fabrics and materials, using cold water can help keep the dye from transposing onto the wrong clothes. However, cold water may not provide the deepest clean, so pretreating stains and soaking can help ensure your clothes are clean and maintained. Cold washes also require the least amount of energy, so if you are looking to be the most eco-friendly or save money on your energy bill, using a cold cycle can be beneficial. Different types of materials require different temperatures of water to get to their cleanest state, so being diligent about reading the labels can help you clean your clothes most efficiently.
4: Soap quantity
More is not always more when it comes to cleaning clothing. The soap sold to target laundry stains and wash clothing is highly concentrated to be used in a washing machine. Following the directions on the quantity is critical. Using too much laundry soap is not only wasteful but can lead to product build-up on your clothing and in your washing machine. The build-up on clothing can lead to material breakdown and leave your garments looking prematurely worn and faded. People with sensitive skin should be particularly mindful of how much detergent they use, if the soap is built up on clothing, it can also irritate the skin and cause rashes. Making sure your clothing is adequately rinsed and the appropriate amount of product is used can keep you looking and feeling your best. Reading the label on your clothing is important, but the labels on detergent also give direction on the appropriate amount of product to use to see the best results. The measuring cup that comes with the detergent is a great guideline but being sure to use the appropriate quantity and not just filling the cup to the top is important. Washing machines are made to process certain quantities of products, adding too much soap can lead to excessive suds and waxy buildup on critical parts that can damage the machine or affect the drainage. If your machine isn’t draining properly, it can produce an odor in your home and in your clothing. When a washing machine isn’t functioning at its best, it certainly isn’t washing clothes the best, and no one wants to walk around looking and smelling dingy. Who doesn’t want to save money on laundry detergent and save their clothes from unnecessary wear and tear? If you suffer from sensitive skin and find regular detergents irritating, try looking for organic soap options. Buff City Soap in Missoula sells a great natural detergent. Because of its organic properties, it has a more natural, less chemical smell and is much gentler on the skin. Green Hanger had the privilege of washing the University of Montana’s hockey jerseys. Buff City’s organic soap was strong enough to keep the jerseys clean and fresh, while still being gentle and organic.
5: Wash cycle
Cutting corners, especially when it comes to laundry can be tempting. We have all been tempted by grabbing whatever needs washed and shoving it all in the machine with no regard for what is inside. Separating out different clothing items for different wash cycles can seem totally useless. However, pairing bulky items together and washing on the proper setting not only allows for the appropriate level of cleanliness but also protects more delicate garments from being damaged in the process. No one wants to pull their ‘clean’ laundry out only to realize their clothes are far from fresh. Using the wrong setting can cause major problems. There is nothing worse than opening the machine to see a perfectly nice garment torn to shreds or stretched by the inner workings of the washing machine. To prevent this, a good rule of thumb is to wash like with like. Heavy sweatshirts and towels would require the same type of wash as bulky towels, using the bulky or heavy-duty setting are ideal. More delicate fabrics should be washed under a delicate setting. Of course, the garment tag always knows best when it comes to washing and drying. Ensuring the items, you want to wash fit in the washing machine you are using is equally important. Often, the washing machines in our homes don’t have the capacity for larger items like comforters and blankets. Visiting your local laundromat, like the Green Hanger can ensure your items get the right wash cycle.
Learning to keep your clothes clean and fresh can help leave a more positive impression on those around us. Keeping your favorite items stain-free and your nice garments looking and smelling clean is an important step in home maintenance and shows the world you care about how you present yourself. These easy tricks can help make sure your clothes are in it for the long haul. Plus, you can feel good about reducing water usage, money wasted, and clothes ruined by washing your clothes right the first time. Nobody likes to see their favorite clothes worn out too soon, taking the time to properly sort, soak, treat, and wash can help keep everything in its best condition. Still, some stains and projects are too much to handle alone. When in doubt, leave it to the professionals at the Green Hanger to have your items looking and feeling as good as new. They can help answer questions about clothing care, provide dry cleaning services for more delicate items, and have large machines that can handle more bulky items. With years of experience, the staff is certainly able to help.