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How to Fix Common Clothes Cleaning Disasters

Have you ever tried to remove a stain, only to make it worse? Or while trying for clean clothes, you make them even dirtier? Consistent maintenance on your washing machine will help keep this from happening Sometimes your wash may pick up colours they shouldn’t have; sometimes they lose colours they should. Use the following list to deal with some common problems:

  • Grey or dull whites: Wash in the machine again using biological detergent. Choose the maximum/heavy soiling amount and a programme that’s as hot as your clothes can take. Line-dry for light bleaching from sunlight.

  • Pink shirts: Make them manly again by using a colour corrector. The easiest to use are in-machine liquids. Alternatively, if your item is bleach-safe, hand soak overnight in a solution of 10 millilitres (ml) (2 teaspoons) of bleach per 5 litres (1 gallon) of water.

  • Stretched out sweater cuffs: A fast spin can stretch cuffs and ribbing out of shape. To restore them, dip the cuff in water, then dry with a hot hairdryer.

  • Shrinkage: Whilst still wet, pull the garment gently back to shape, paying special attention to shoulders. You’ll have more success with acrylics than with woollen items.

    Try gently re-washing shrunken woollens in a mild hair shampoo. Just as it softens your hair, shampoo can add sufficient softness to animal wool to allow you to stretch your garment back to shape.

  • Bobbles (pills): This method works especially on acrylics. Cover affected areas in sticky tape, then pull up sharply to catch the bobbles.

  • Faded patches: Infuriatingly these can be caused by splashes of concentrated detergent in the drum. Your aim is to put colour back onto the faded patch, which can be tricky as usually you’re trying to remove dirt and so on from fabrics. Rewash with other items of the same colour, including any you know aren’t fully colourfast.

  • Stiff-dry clothes: If you left clothes too long in the tumble drier or on the line and they’re now stiff and creased, the simple solution is to wash them again. With cottons, you can struggle to iron instead. But synthetics need to be washed to get rid of creasing. Add fabric conditioner to the final wash.

    Peg (hang on the line) carefully to avoid creasing. Avoid pegging the shoulders. Instead, peg at the underarm seam. Turn brightly coloured clothes inside out, so that they don’t fade in the sun.

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