My Clothes Get Ruined When I Wash Them!

Keep clothes looking as good as new with these simple laundry tips.

lint
Photo by Peter Oumanski

“My clothes pill and collect lint every time I put them through the washer and dryer.”

Cher, via e-mail

The fix: Sort laundry strategically to prevent fuzz from proliferating. Wash major lint producers (towels, terry-cloth robes) in one load, medium lint producers (corduroys, fleece jackets, sweaters) in another, and low lint producers (jeans, dress shirts, exercise gear, T-shirts) in a third, says Jim Kirby, the chief fabric-testing analyst for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. To lessen pilling, turn clothing inside out, use the gentle cycle, and be careful not to over-stuff the machine. (Fill to only 80 percent capacity.) Set the dryer at a low temperature, and remove clothes as soon as they’re dry. The friction of dry fabrics rubbing against one another creates additional fuzz balls, says Dean Brindle, the director of laundry-product marketing at Samsung. After every load, clean the lint filter, and—if you’re really ambitious—wipe down the interiors of the washer and the dryer with a damp cloth. This step staves off lint buildup in the machines.