A little common sense and effort in laundering can extend the life of a garment. While some consumers prefer the economy of buying garments they can wash, others are looking for the convenience of dry cleaning. Regardless, proper handling and cleaning will have the following benefits:
Garments will maintain a fresh appearance longer
Color fading will be minimized
Damage to fabric from laundering will be reduced
The useful life of fabric will be extended, making your money go farther
CARE LABELING RULE
To assist consumers in getting proper information about clothing care, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Care Labeling Rule, as amended in 1983, requires manufacturers and importers to attach care labels giving full instructions for at least one satisfactory method of care necessary for ordinary use of the garment. The rule also requires that the manufacturer or importer possess, prior to sale, a reasonable basis for care instructions.
So, read the label!
Sort articles by color, keeping whites, darks, and medium colors together. Lighter garments can pick up dyes from darker colors.
Separate man-made fabrics, like polyester from natural fibers such as cotton. Man-made fibers can attract the oils that are released from natural fibers during washing. These oils can build up and make spots more noticeable.
Wash heavily soiled, dirty, items separately from slightly soiled items. This will help prevent fading and keep colors brighter.
Try to have large and small items in each washer load. This will let the items move more freely during the washing cycles.
Sort delicate fabrics and loose knits from "tougher" fabrics.
Garments which generate lint, such as fleece sweat shirts and towels, should be washed separately.
It used to be you could help make dyes colorfast by adding 1/2 cup of WHITE vinegar to the washer, before adding the clothes. However, this does not work on today's dyes. If dyes bleed, continue to wash the garment separately until no color bleeds in the wash water.
Deal with the stain as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more time the stain has to soak in and/or dry, making it more difficult to remove.
Lift or gently scrap off any excess material from the fabric. Use a cloth or a towel to gently blot and soak up any liquid. Don't rub! Rubbing can spread the stain and cause it to penetrate deeper into the fabric.
Identify what caused the stain. In order to know what to do for the stain, you need to know what caused it.
Follow the instructions on any presoak, prewash or stain removers. It's best to test a small out of the way area of the fabric first.
If stains aren't entirely removed after washing, try rewashing the item. Allowing the item to dry, or putting it in the dryer, can set the stain for good.
Be sure to check the label for proper care instructions, including the water temperature and wash cycle to use.
Don't overload the washer. If the washer is too full, the clothes won't get enough agitation, and may not get clean. Also, all the detergent may not be dissolved, leaving globs of detergent paste on fabric.
Make sure the items are equally distributed around the tub of the washer to keep the load balanced during spinning cycles.
To minimize wrinkling when washing fabrics containing man-made fibers, wash in hot/warm water using a permanent-press cycle. If your machine does not have a permanent-press cycle, use warm/cool water.
Very important tip - Always be sure to check the pockets of all garments before washing and drying. The stains and damage which can result from one hidden lipstick, lip balm, stick of gum or crayon goes beyond words!
Lightly shake out items taken from the washer, before placing them in the dryer. Tightly balled up fabric dries slower and will likely come out wrinkled.
Don't overload the dryer. A stuffed dryer will not allow the items to tumble. Drying will be slower and clothes will wrinkle.
Keep like garments together. Permanent press items should not be dried with towels, and delicate items, such as lingerie should be dried separately.
All clothes should be left in the dryer just long enough to remove wrinkles and moisture. Any longer and the heat can actually "set" wrinkles, increase static cling, and cause shrinkage. This can be true for both natural and man-made fibers.
Use the proper heat setting and time cycle. Don't use a high or regular setting for all clothes. Read the label! Fabrics made from fibers which have low moisture absorbency are fast drying and should be dried using a low temperature setting. This includes:
After removing garments from the dryer, immediately hang them up or fold them. Don't let them lie in a heap. This can cause them to wrinkle.
Permanent press items should be taken out slightly damp and hung on a non-rust hanger. Close clasps and button buttons. Straighten fabric lines and creases, and gently brush out any wrinkles.
Keep the lint filter clean. A clogged filter increases drying time and costs more money in electricity/gas usage.
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