Your laundry may seem pretty straightforward, but there’s more to washing and caring for your clothes than separating lights from darks. Take a look at some common things you may be washing or drying incorrectly, and how changing your habits could help your clothing last longer.


Throwing these in the washing machine is a mistake, even if you put them in mesh bags on the gentle cycle. According to the Clothing Doctor, Steve Boorstein, you should just rinse your swim suit after each dip in the pool. If you’re still getting a lingering salt-water or chlorine smell, soak the pieces in water mixed with a teaspoon of vinegar. Then wring and hang dry. And here’s another tip to start with:

[…]to prevent chlorine or salt-water damage in the first place, wet your suit with regular water before taking a dip in the pool or ocean.

Dark Clothes

Washing dark clothes inside-out will help them stay dark. However, you’ll also want to keep them out of the dryer to prevent damaging them further. Air-drying is the key to keeping your dark clothing looking like new.

Down Jackets and Comforters

There’s a simple secret for washing down: you’ll just want to run an extra rinse cycle.

Residual detergent in the feathers can reduce down’s ability to be fluffy and trap air, which is how it holds heat, says [Clorox scientist] Gagliardi. Part of the problem is that when you wash a coat or comforter, the down gets wet and clumpy and the weight doesn’t distribute evenly, making it hard for your machine to rinse and spin effectively. She recommends taking your down items to a laundromat and washing them in a large-capacity washer. Then, dry items completely with a clean tennis ball.


You’ll want to skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets altogether when washing towels. Fabric softeners actually reduce the absorbency when drying off, which is the the whole point of a towel. So instead, to keep towels from getting a yucky smell, be sure that you don’t overload the washer. Then when washing, use the longest, hottest water cycle and remove immediately after the wash has finished.

White Jeans

White jeans that are a cotton/spandex blend can’t be bleached. If they are, they’ll likely turn a yellow-y color. Instead, just wash them with color-safe bleach.

Check out more tips over at Huffington Post’s 7 Ways You’re Doing Laundry Wrong.