It’s wintertime! Between the rainy weather (not that I am complaining about it, great for our farmers), short days, and lack of warmth in the little bit of sun we are seeing, getting clothes dry is a daily nightmare. Hands up if you’re struggling to keep up with the laundry?
Because we’re hovering around the winter equinox, I thought it was a great time to talk about all things laundry and share with you some of the things I’ve learned over the years as a fashion retailer and Mum.
The highs and lows of the clothes dryer
Every now and then, a customer comes in to tell me that they’ve managed to shrink an item. My first question is “Did you put it in the clothes dryer?” The answer is almost always yes! (Haven’t we all been there!)
In these cooler months, it’s so tempting to put a load of washing straight from the washing machine into the clothes dryer, but before you do, here’s some information about which fabrics can and can’t go in the clothes dryer:
(But before I go any further, always look for the care instructions on the clothing labels. The care instructions will usually state things like, ‘do not tumble dry’ or ‘do not dry clean’. Be warned if you do decide to deviate there could be repercussions. Note the below is general advice so please take as you will.)
- Garments made from 100% cotton should not go in the dryer. Cotton blends however usually can handle the tumble dryer.
- Items made from 100% synthetic materials can go in the clothes dryer. I do recommend a low-temperature cycle for these garments. Synthetic fibres such as acrylics can permanently wrinkle if the temperature is too high.
- I recommend NEVER putting clothing made from linen in the tumble dryer, as it will most likely shrink and crease.
- While clothing made from nylon is usually clothes dryer safe (but check the label first), air-drying is your best option. Clothing made from nylon can damage when put in the dryer at high temperatures, so always select a low temperature and remove it as soon as the cycle finishes. Warning! You may get zapped from the static when removing from the clothes dryer.
- Polyester items dry quickly, but they can go in the clothes dryer at a low temperature if needed. (Again, check that label first.)
Let’s talk about denim
Another question I get asked often, especially in the winter is “How often do I need to wash denim jeans”?
While it’s a personal choice, I believe a less is more approach is the way to go. Each time denim is washed, the fabric is broken down, which causes the item to lose shape. I can’t stress enough that denim should NOT be washed on a hot cycle and shouldn’t go in the clothes dryer.
Have you ever had a good-fitting pair of jeans that became baggy and needed to be repeatedly hitched up? They have more than likely lost their shape and elasticity from overwashing.
What about woollen items?
Ahh, wool and winter go together, don’t they? Wool needs to be treated with the greatest of respect in the laundry. Before you do anything, ALWAYS CHECK THE LABEL FOR CARE INSTRUCTIONS (Are you sick of me saying this yet?). Here are some general wool washing tips:
- When machine washing, always use the wool cycle (usually pre-set to a gentle cycle).
- Use a neutral and mild detergent.
- Always flat dry the garment. Never peg woollen items to the clothesline or hang from a coat hanger as getting the original shape back is next to near impossible.
Other handy tips I’ve learned as a clothing retailer and a parent:
- Always! Always! Check the pockets. A tissue going through the wash has the potential to wreck your day. Along with tissues, rocks, phones, and money don’t wash well, so to dodge a disaster, check every pocket (even the teeny tiny ones).
- Separate your dark items from your light items.
- To avoid lint on your clothes, wash towels separately.
From my laundry to yours, I hope you survive the winter months with not too many disasters. My key takeaways are always checking the washing instruction label on the garment, don’t wash denim jeans after every wear (if possible), and please check the pockets.
Until next time, stay warm!