Men are known for being slack with laundry and clothing care. This is done mainly out of laziness, but it’s easy to make excuses for it by saving money. The fact is that it doesn’t. Slacking off on laundry and clothes maintenance will cost you more because your clothes will wear out faster.
And it doesn’t matter if quarantining keeps you at home and thus without a need to be presentable. Practicing good laundry habits is tied to personal hygiene, which keeps us from contracting diseases. No amount of isolation will keep you safe from illness-causing bacteria if your clothes are consistently unwashed.
Laundry is an essential life skill. Even if you send out your laundry to the dry cleaners most of the time, it’s still important to know the basics of washing your own clothes.
The thing about doing laundry at home is that you’ll be investing much of your resources – such as time, energy, water, and electricity. If you’re looking to D.I.Y. most of your laundry, invest in high-efficiency laundry appliances.
High-efficiency washers are also the only kind that you can pair with high-efficiency detergents. These detergents require less water and produce less suds. Suds can do more damage to your garments over time as they can cause the shedding of more fibers.
You may need to use special kinds of detergent for special kinds of fabrics. For instance, sports detergents may be more effective than regular ones for washing your workout attire. But before you even put your activewear in your dirty clothes hamper, make sure you let the sweat air dry to prevent the formation of mildew.
Not all clothes need washing after every use. Garments that absorb many bacteria, sweat, and odors, such as socks, underwear, and activewear, should be washed after every use. Apart from that, other clothes can go for more than one use before washing. These include jeans, ties, and button-down shirts that are worn over undershirts. But it’s also up to your discretion. If you’re the type to sweat a lot or think that the garment needs a wash, wash it.
Turn your clothes inside out before washing them. This allows them to last longer because the insides will be more exposed to the washing. Turning them inside-out enables the detergents to get at the source of odors, especially with fitness attire.
Research shows that heating water for your laundry can do more harm than good to your clothes, the environment, and your wallet. Heating water takes up 90% of your washer’s total energy consumption. Hot water causes your garment to shed more fibers per wash, wearing them out faster. Our water treatment systems cannot process the millions of fibers accumulated in our water waste systems. As a result, these particles – often containing plastic – get sent to our oceans, where they’ll end up in the bellies of the fish that we eat.
Another thing that consumes a lot of energy is using your dryer. If you’ve been working from home and haven’t been leaving the house that much, line dry your laundry instead of popping it into the dryer. But do it for lighter-colored garments as, again, sunlight can cause dark-colored fabrics to fade.
If you plan on using your dryer, know that there are some fabrics and garments that you should never put in one. These include leathers, workout clothes, knits, and furs. Silks and ties should also never be in a washer as they are more delicate than other garments.
Take note of what clothes you can fold and which ones you should hang. This can depend on the fabric. Silks, for instance, are delicate fabrics that should be ironed very lightly – usually on a low setting and with another piece of cloth between the silk and the iron. Folding silks would cause creases, which would require more ironing to get rid of, so hang them as much as possible. Fold fabrics that don’t crease easily and hang those that need to stay crisp such as work attire and formal wear.
A similar logic applies when storing seasonal clothes. Fold clothes that might stretch out or sag when kept on a hanger for too long such as sweaters. Keep seasonal clothes stored in cool and dry places. Humidity may cause mildew and discoloration. Make sure your closet has the right conditions. Having windows in your closet is fine, but remember what we said about sun exposure? It still applies here. Sunlight can fade dark-colored fabrics.
It’s effortless to neglect laundry in isolation when you know you won’t be going out that much. But even the strictest of quarantines won’t protect you from diseases if your clothes are constantly dirty. Practicing a good laundry and clothing care routine will also ensure that your clothes last longer.