Oh laundry. We all hate it. We all have to do it. It took me far too long to realize that how you care for your clothes determines how long they’ll last you.
A good rule of thumb is to always check the tag before you wash. Learning to read a care label is one of the most important skills to acquire in college.
Those strange circles and triangles you see on the underside of the tag are actually pretty handy and can give significant insight into how to care for the piece. I can tell you from personal experience that casually tossing something that says “do not dry” in the dryer will not end well.
Taking a little extra time and effort on laundry day can help extend the life of your clothes, and it will save you money. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you head to the laundry room:
Always use the brights or colors setting. Cold water helps prevent colors from bleeding on each other, helps prevent shrinkage and helps the environment.
Shake your wet garments out before you toss them in the dryer. Seriously. Do it. Your clothes will come out of the dryer with far less wrinkles.
When in doubt, hang dry it. Anything with elastic should never be put in the dryer. This means that jeans, bras and expensive workout gear should always be air dried. Elastic thread is essentially just fancy plastic so when under intense heat, the threads melt and snap, creating unsightly rippling. Instead, smooth lumps and bumps out of the fabric and drape over a hanger for a day or two.
Carry a stain removal stick in your backpack. Treating stains right after they happen increases your chances of actually getting them out.
Check your pockets before you toss things in the wash. Sounds pretty obvious, but let’s face it, we’ve all done it.
And when all else fails … call your mom.