Debunking popular laundry tips

We’ve all heard them—those laundry tips that are said to get your clothes their cleanest and keep them looking as good as the day you bought them. But, what if those laundry tips are actually laundry myths? We’ve found 9 laundry practices that no longer hold true (or may have never held true).

Laundry myths: How to remove stains

At least three popular myths exist about how to get stains out of clothes:

  1. Spraying hairspray on an ink stain. In the 1950s, this method actually worked thanks to the alcohol in hairspray. However, most of today’s hairsprays don’t contain alcohol, so spraying that ink stain may actually lead to twice the stain—ink and hairspray!
  2. Using club soda to remove a stain. It’s not that club doesn’t work—it does. Popular belief holds that club soda works better than water, but that’s not the case. So, the next time you spill food down your shirt in a restaurant, don’t bother ordering a club soda. Dipping your napkin in that glass of ice water will work just as well.
  3. Treating stains from the front. Speaking of treating a stain … most people apply water from the front of the stain. But, that just sets the stain even deeper into the fabric. Treat the stain from the back, and push the stain out.

Laundry myths: How to wash clothes

Many beliefs exist about the best methods to wash and dry clothes. Here are just a few that don’t hold true:

  1. Using more detergent to get clothes cleaner. Excess detergent not only leaves residue on clothes and in your machine, it also could cause dirt to redeposit on clothes.
  2. Chlorine bleach powers up detergent. It’s best to wait five minutes into the wash cycle to add diluted bleach. Adding bleach immediately doesn’t allow the detergent’s enzymes to take effect, so clothes can look dull rather than brighter. Use your washer’s bleach dispenser for best results.
  3. Washing clothes in hot water is best. If your goal is to kill germs, hot water alone won’t kill germs on its own. If your goal is to get clothes cleaner, hot water costs unnecessary energy. Most of today’s detergents are able to clean clothes just as well in cold or warm water.
  4. The dryer’s heat causes clothes to shrink. Lack of moisture, not heat, causes clothes to shrink. And, some clothes are predisposed to shrink, due to how they were made. If you are concerned about clothes shrinking, remove them from the dryer while they are damp. In all cases, use the dryer’s automatic settings, which sense moisture and stop at the right time, rather than a timed setting.
  5. Dark clothes will always fade. Clothes often fade and lose color due to rubbing against each other in the washer. Keep this from happening by washing your clothes inside out.
  6. Shirts should be buttoned. This myth may be an offshoot of the laundry best practice of closing zippers to the top. Zippers should be closed to keep the teeth from snagging clothing. But, fastening the buttons of a shirt may stress buttons and the fabric, meaning you may lose buttons easier or buttonholes may become wider.

Do you have any laundry myths to share? Tell us in the comments!