Here’s what to look for the next time you wash your favorite garments at home:
- Don’t just throw your clothes in the washing machine and hit the start button: Pay attention to what the manufacturer says is the recommended temperature setting. Many clothing items need to be washed with like colors, require permanent press, or a delicate wash cycle.
- Items that require hand washing: Soak and gently rub the item, if a garment calls for hand wash only, it is likely because the item is too delicate for machine cycles. To dry, these items generally will need to be laid on a flat surface.
- Know when to use bleach: Where some items can be washed with any bleach, others may call for non-chlorine bleach only. Some items will be too delicate for even non-chlorine bleach.
- Keep items from shrinking, know the correct drying method: Some items can be dried in a standard tumble dryer, where others may need to be hung to dry or laid flat. If the care label calls for tumble dry, check for the proper temperature level. Certain items may be delicate or require a permanent press that will be noted in the care instructions. Never tumble dry an item of clothing that requires hang drying, drip drying, or flat drying.
- Iron: Many newer irons have settings based on the clothing material. If you don’t have an iron that determines temperature for you, the care label will illustrate the proper ironing temperature level. There are several fabrics that don’t take well to steam or ironing at all. Never iron an item unless the care label calls for it.
- Dry Clean: Some materials can only be dry cleaned.