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Laundry lessons as students head off to college

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Posted at 8:32 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 08:48:18-04

If you’ve got a student heading off to college, you’ll probably have less laundry to do. But they might be clueless about how to do it on their own. That’s where Consumer Reports comes in with some laundry do’s and don’ts that all of us can benefit from.

Hot water accounts for about 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy. We’ve been conditioned to think that everything needs to be sanitized and washed in the hottest water.

CR’s tests have found that detergents nowadays are much better at removing dirt and stains at lower temperatures. So reserve the hot water for tackling oily stains or for washing the sheets and towels of a family member who’s sick. For everything else, check the care label and opt for cold water when you can.

Lesson #2: Less is more! Never overload your washer. It can damage the machine and it won’t clean as well if it’s packed to the gills. The same is true when it comes to detergent.

Many people are under the false impression that more detergent will get your clothes cleaner. But too much detergent is bad for the environment can leave more residue on your clothes.

And finally, you’ve heard it before but lesson #3 bears repeating: Keep your laundry separated! Mixing loads on most cycles causes more fabric friction, which can shorten the life span of your clothes.

Consumer Reports says that choosing the right cycle helps preserve your clothes, too. Many people rely on the normal cycle, but take a look at your owner’s manual to find the best options for the clothes and fabrics you’re going to wash. And check out a video on our website that breaks down some common washing machine cycles.