After all of the great feedback on 3 Simple Sewing Tricks Every Girl Should Know, I decided to put together a second installment focusing on that one chore that every college student dreads – laundry. Let’s face it, we all need to do laundry. But unlike at home, universities require coins or a card swipe, a time commitment of a couple of hours and having to avoid common mistakes without any parental wisdom.
Unfortunately we can’t send you all rolls of quarters to make laundry day easier, but we can give you tips and tricks to help avoid and fix all of those common laundry day mistakes. One of the best ways to preserve that hard-earned cash is to keep all of the clothing you own in the best shape possible. By avoiding color bleeds, shrinking and fading, your favorite clothes will last you years to come.
When Your Whites Turn Pink
We’ve all been there – somehow that one red sock found its way into a load of laundry with your favorite white t-shirts and tanks. There really is no way to describe the terrible feeling of opening the dryer and realizing that half of your wardrobe is now baby pink. Luckily, there is still some hope for those newly dyed t-shirts:
- First things first – find the culprit and get it out!
- Rewash all of your whites with a non-chlorine bleach or a cup of distilled vinegar, in addition to your regular detergent.
- Depending on how significant the bleeding was, you may need to repeat the wash a few times to get the color out.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the worst at separating my laundry – who wants to pay for two loads when you can fit everything in one? Not me, that’s for sure. But with this silly mindset, you’re risking ruining of a whole load of laundry! Isn’t it worth the extra two dollars to avoid that travesty?
Prevent Your Clothes from Pilling
Whether you knew it or not, “pilling” is the technical term for those little lint balls that pop up after you wash certain garments. It’s most common with polyester-based fabrics and comes from rubbing and abrasion from everyday wear and (obviously) doing laundry. But don’t fret – there are ways to prevent it!
- Wash any garment that may “pill” inside out.
- Opt for a gentle wash cycle – this will minimize agitation and also has a shorter wash time.
- Use liquid detergent rather than powdered.
- Avoid the dryer altogether if you can. If not, try to take the garments out of the dryer as soon as you can to minimize extra abrasion.
To late to prevent it? I know it’s sad to see your favorite new sweater with little bumps all over it, but there are a couple ways to get it looking new again.
- Try a battery-operated pill remover. (Need I say more?)
- You can also stretch the fabric taut over a hard surface and use small nail scissors to clip the fabric pills off of the fabric.
- A small razor blade can also be used, but be very careful not to cut into the fabric (or yourself!) by accident.
Un-Shrink a Shrunken Sweater
Wool is notorious for shrinking in the wash. Whether it’s a sweater dress, a cardigan or a thick pair of tights, there’s nothing worse than seeing an item come out of the wash a few sizes smaller than it was when you put it in. Although some pieces may be beyond saving (especially if they have already been through the dryer), there are a few tricks to try before you throw that sweater in the trash (or give it to your little sister).
- Fill your sink or a large pan with cool water and add two tablespoons of baby shampoo. This concoction helps to loosen the fibers of the fabric and make it easier to stretch back to normal.
- Make sure your clothing is completely submerged in the mixture and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
- After a half hour, remove the item but don’t rinse it.
- Wrap the garment in a thick towel to absorb some of the moisture and then use a cork bulletin board to reshape it.
- Use push pins to stretch it back into shape by pinning it in place on the cork board.
- Leave the item in place to dry and check on it every couple of hours to make sure that it is reshaping correctly.
Unfortunately, sometimes even this home remedy won’t rectify your shrunken clothing. If this is the case, just learn from the mistake! In the future, take extra time to read and follow the wash directions of the tags on every wool item to ensure that everything will get washed successfully.
What do You Think?
Have you encountered any (or all) of these laundry pitfalls? Do you have any of your own “home remedies” for common mistakes? As fashion-loving students, we all want to take the best care possible of our clothing – I’d love to hear your own tips, tricks or common problems! Be sure to leave a comment.