two women in vintage clothing do laundry
All photos: cottonbro

If you want to make sure that your favorite pieces last longer, that you’re always wearing your clothes in their best condition, or even to save money by having to buy fewer clothes per year, then you should be thinking about how you maintain and care for your clothes. Keeping them washed is a big part of that, but a lot of people are surprised to find that their washing machine isn’t keeping their clothes in as good a condition as they had hoped. 

Why is this the case? Here, we’ll look at some of the reasons that your clothes might not be getting the kind of wash that you expect from them.

#1. You’re machine washing products that have to be hand washed

First of all, you should make sure that you’re reading the tags of every piece of clothing that you have. Know which pieces have to be hand-washed. You’re likely to have a lot fewer of them. Aside from not washing them properly, a washing machine is likely to cause damage to these garments, which is why you might be seeing holes popping up in them, so you really don’t want to be making this mistake.

#2. You’re not using the right wash setting

Another reason to read the labels on your clothes is that the buttons on your washing machine are actually there for a reason! There are a lot of settings you should take just a little time to learn. When you’re sorting your clothes out, make sure that you know what kind of cycle they should be on and for how long. You can approximate with some clothes that have close to the same settings, but you shouldn’t be putting them all on for the same type of wash, that’s not going to help anyone.

#3. You’re overloading your washing machine

Are you the type of person to shove clothes into the washing machine until it’s all packed up to the top? If that’s the case, you’re not being efficient, you’re making it harder to wash your clothes. The water and detergent aren’t going to be able to circulate around the washing machine properly, which means that more dirt and grime are going to stay right where it is. You don’t want to get the tub any more than two-thirds full and you want to make sure the clothes aren’t all packed in tight and mixed together, they need some ease of separation.

woman in vintage clothing does laundry

#4. There’s a fault with the washing machine

Sometimes, the fault isn’t yours, but it might be the washing machines'. There are plenty of common washing machine faults that can result in you not getting clean clothes at the end of a cycle. This can include faulty connections that stop or pause cycles, faulty heating elements, leaks, and more. You might be able to use the manual and learn how to fix a washer that won't spin on your own. Many faults can be solved with a little DIY and research, but don’t be afraid to call out a technician if you have no idea what you’re doing.

#5. Your washing machine needs a wash

Who washes the washing machine? You do, of course. As much as these machines might be designed to clean, they need some care, as well. If your clothes are coming out with visible and fresh dirt, you seriously need to clean your machine. There are cleaners that you can use, simply put them in for a cycle and they should do most of the work for you. Your washing machine also likely has a tub clean cycle that you should run once in a while. Keep an eye out for white gunk caused by washing detergent buildup, too. This is a sign you need to use a little less.

#6. You might need a different detergent

The problem might not be too much detergent, however, it might simply be that you’re not using enough of it. There are all kinds of laundry detergent compatibility issues that can arise, and you should try to make sure that you’re picking the right detergent for the clothes that you are washing. Similarly, you should choose a detergent that works best for your washer, as high-efficiency washers have detergents made specifically for them to prevent too much suds (which stops the cleaning friction that your clothes need.)

With the tips above, you can make sure that you’re seeing your clothes get the care that they need, staying fresh, clean, and gorgeous without worrying too much about the integrity of the clothes.

Lots of love,

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