Your Top Laundry Questions, Answered
Should I wash new clothing before wearing it for the first time?
How do I keep my black pants black?
When you are ready to do a load of laundry, turn the pants inside out to minimize color loss caused by the friction from rubbing against other clothes, then choose a short, delicate cycle. “The colder the temperature, the better, since warm water tends to break down fibers and fade clothes faster,” says Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Cleaning and Clothing Care ($5, amazon.com). A specialized detergent for cold-water loads, such as Tide Coldwater ($8 at drugstores), helps neutralize the color-sucking chlorine that can be found in tap water. Then hang or lay the pants flat to dry; don’t throw them in the dryer. And the next time you’re in the market for black trousers, look for a fabric that retains dark dyes, like a washable wool blend or nylon, as opposed to acetate or linen.
How do I keep white knits white?
First, determine whether the stain is oil- or water-based. Water-based stains include most beverages, like juice and wine. These may seemingly disappear into your clothing, but a water-based stain will usually leave a slight ring around the stain as it absorbs into the fabric. Oil-based stains come from items like salad dressing and perfume and are more evenly absorbed into the fabric.
Water-based stains should be washed within one to two days of the spill. If you don’t notice it until the stain has turned yellow, Steve Boorstein, founder of Clothingdoctor.com, recommends soaking the garment in four inches of warm water mixed with either OxiClean Versatile ($10, greatcleaners.com) or a color-safe bleach for about 30 minutes, or until the stain disappears. For more options, see our round-up of the best laundry detergents.
Oil-based stains are trickier to remove, so leave them to a professional. The sooner you take in the clothing, the better. And be sure to confirm that the dry cleaner can remove oxidized oil stains (a process not all cleaners perform). ―Melanie Wagner
What’s the best way to deodorize gym gear?
What’s the best way to clean a bulky comforter?
Wash the comforter with the machine set on the gentle or delicate cycle, using cool or warm water. Since every comforter is a bit different, check the care tag or contact the manufacturer for detergent suggestions. Then dry the comforter on low heat with a few tennis balls to plump it up. Or consider using Down Fluffer rings ($15 for 2, thecompanystore.com), which help, you guessed it, fluff your comforter in the dryer.
Keep your comforter clean in between washings by protecting it with a duvet cover. When the cover needs a cleaning, it will easily fit, just like bed linens, into a household washing machine. ―Sharon Tanenbaum
How do I get the chlorine smell out of a swimsuit?
While a dip in the pool on a hot summer’s day is refreshing, the chemical smell that’s sometimes left behind isn’t. To get rid of the odor and to help your suit last longer, follow these simple steps, courtesy of swimwear expert and Canyon Beachwear store manager Ilene Sofferman.
- Always hand-wash your suit as soon as you can after swimming. This prevents smelly bacteria and chemicals from making themselves at home in the fibers.
- Use a lingerie cleaner that is formulated to gently yet thoroughly clean delicate pieces. But when the chlorine smell is overbearing, Sofferman recommends using a swimsuit cleaner like Canyon Beachwear Swimwear Cleanser ($7, canyonbeachwear.com). These solutions are designed to remove chlorine while restoring the brilliance of a suit’s color.
- Pour one capful of cleaner into a sink filled with cold water (never warm or hot), then add the swimsuit. Swish it around for about three minutes. Depending on the level of odor, you can leave the suit to soak in the solution for a few minutes more.
- After cleaning, rinse the suit and roll―don’t wring―the excess water out with a towel.
- Lay the suit flat to air-dry.
What’s the best way to wash delicate laundry?
For colorfast delicates that are stained, Cobb suggests treating them the natural way, using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which is just as effective as nonchlorine bleach. Pour ½ cup into a full load and your garments will sparkle. ―Elinor Smith
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