Clothing care tips to make your wardrobe last
Make your laundry day less stressful by learning the right way to sort your laundry and avoid damage and accidents.
Hate it or love it, sorting and separating laundry is a necessary part of laundry day. Properly sorting your laundry can help prevent damage, preserve colors, and so much more. Below we teach you everything you need to know in order to separate and sort your laundry like a pro.
Why Is Sorting Laundry Important?
Before you learn the best way to sort your laundry you should first understand why this is such a critical step in the washing process.
Sorting Helps to Identify and Treat Stains
Sorting laundry effectively serves as a way to audit your clothes because you are giving each article of clothing an extra look as you remove it from your laundry bag or hamper.
During the audit process, you can pay closer attention to how dirty your clothes actually are and if there are notable stains on them. If you do come across any stained garments, you can set them aside and treat the stain as needed prior to cleaning the garment.
Sorting Preserves Your Clothing
Separating laundry enables you to segment your laundry according to fabric type and color. Separating clothes by color is especially important because some garments are made from dyes that tend to color bleed during the washing process if they are not properly sorted with similar colors. You may have already experienced color bleeding first-hand, particularly with red garments.
Sorting Protects Your Delicates
Another reason it’s important to sort your laundry before washing is that it allows you to pull out any delicate items that may need special treatment. Delicate items include garments made of silk and satin, or items with netting or lace. To preserve your delicates, don’t just throw them into the washing machine along with other clothing. It’s important to handle your delicates separately so they don’t get damaged during the washing process.
How to Sort Your Laundry
1.) Read The Care Labels
Prior to sorting and washing your clothes you should always read the care labels. The care labels are unique to each garment and include directions on how to properly care for your clothes, including the suggested temperature setting you should set your washer to.
In addition, the care labels provide a breakdown of the fabrics used to make your garments, such as cotton or polyester. This information is valuable because some fabrics may need special attention if you choose to care for them at home versus using a professional cleaner. For instance, cashmere is a fabric that you will want to care for separately.
If you don’t have time to read all your care labels (hint: most people don’t), make sure you check the care labels for items where you aren’t 100% sure they can safely go through the washer and dryer. You know the items we’re talking about...it’s less about t-shirts and socks and more about delicate or unique materials or colors.
2.) Sort Using Piles
Consider sorting your laundry into piles to make your life easier. First and foremost, separate your lights and darks. By doing so, you will limit the chances of color bleeding occurring during the wash cycle.
You should sort your lights and darks into three different categories - darks, other colors, and whites. If your garment is multi-colored or includes a pattern, sort the garment based on the most prevalent color. If it’s too tough to tell, then any of your color piles will suffice.
After your colored piles are set, you can consider the following sub-piles:
- Stained garments - any garment that is stained or extremely dirty.
- Dry clean only - items that cannot be washed using a machine or require dry cleaning service.
- Linens - sheets, comforters, towels, and other related bedding items.
- Daily outfits - garments such as t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc.
- Denim - jeans and denim jackets.
- Workout clothes - activewear and gym clothing.
- Delicates - anything that requires a delicate wash, such as lingerie or silk.
If the above is too detailed, we suggest starting with a more basic system and then working your way up to the “pro” level, such as:
Items that should be washed in laundry vs. items that should NOT. For items that should be washed, just separate your lights and darks.
By using the pile system you are able to ensure you are washing similar garment types together, which will help you to avoid damage or accidents during the cleaning process.
Additionally, piles allow you to set aside stained garments and clothes that need dry cleaning service. Rather than risking damage to your dry clean only garments in the washing machine, consider a professional dry cleaning service such as Rinse so that you can properly care for your dry clean only items and stained garments.
Once you’ve inspected your piles you are ready to start washing!
By following these tips and tricks you’ll be sorting laundry like expert in no time. If you would rather not deal with sorting and washing laundry you can opt for professional services such as Rinse.
At Rinse, we always sort your lights and darks and handle your laundry with care. We’ll pick up, professionally clean, and deliver your laundry straight to your door. You can schedule a pickup here any day of the week, including Sundays!
Now that the warm weather is here, it's time to enjoy al fresco afternoons with wine and cheese. Yet, too often a great outdoor dining experience is ruined by the little spills that mark up your new blouse or pants. Whether you're exploring a new city, enjoying the outdoors or savoring a summer dessert, don't sweat the small stains that you may encounter during the summer with our on-the-go DIY cheat sheet to help you along the way.
Food and drink
Whether it's a box of French macarons, fresh blueberry muffins or chocolate ice cream, summer is the time to indulge in your favorite treats. And it's no surprise that food and drinks can lead to some of the most common summer stains.
Made a mess during Sunday brunch? No worries. Soak up the stain with a napkin, ask your server for some club soda, and lightly dab the stained area. You can take common summer fabrics such as cotton, corduroy or linen to the bathroom to be washed with cold water and soap (this works for iced coffee stains too). For more delicate fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, take them to a professional dry cleaner for the best care.
Since it's also barbecue season, mishaps with ribs or burgers are bound to happen. For fresh stains, act quickly by scraping off any sauce on the fabric. Follow up by soaking the stained area in water. You can apply the same tactic for ice cream spills: rinse and repeat under cool water as necessary. For more stubborn stains, follow up with a professional cleaning.
Sunscreen, sweat and deodorant
You might take advantage of the great weather by lounging at the lake or hanging out on the beach, in which case SPF is a must. If you get some on your clothing, apply pressure with a clean towel to soak up the product and add liquid detergent before laundering as usual.
While you may look great in that poplin sundress or white linen shirt, embarrassing sweat stains can foil your outfit—especially if you're wearing summer whites. To help preempt this issue, make sure you choose an aluminum-free (or low-aluminum) antiperspirant, which won't leave a mark. If your deodorant does leave an unwelcome blemish, a quick cleaning hack is to use fabric softener sheets to remove any traces by rubbing one on the affected area. For delicate fabrics like rayon, blot the area with some water and soap before gently hand washing.
Try as we might, some sweat stains will remain. And, they tend to get darker over time becuase of continued heat and sunlight. It's best to try to prevent them before they occur!
Grass and dirt
Whether you're hiking the Grand Canyon, having a picnic in Central Park or enjoying a game of frisbee in your backyard, you might encounter a few grass or dirt stains—not too surprising if you're the outdoors type. For dirt stains, apply some dishwashing soap right away before tossing the affected article in the laundry. For shoes caked in dirt and grass, this stubborn stain can be easily removed by rubbing it with a damp cloth soaked in soapy warm water. Grass stains on clothing, however, can be extremely difficult to remove, so if you find yourself with one, we recommend a trip as soon as possible to a professional.
If all else fails, get thee to a professional dry cleaner!
Worried about keeping your swimwear in tip-top shape? We've got you covered with our guide to cleaning and preserving swimsuits.
Photos: freestocks.org, Brooke Lark, Nadia Jamnik, Kyle Ryan
Red clothes have a unique makeup, including different types of clothing dye. But is this why they bleed the most? Find out why red clothes bleed the most and how you can limit it.
Contrary to popular belief, red clothes are not more prone to color bleeding than any other color. Below we’ll discuss why this is and help you understand ways you can avoid color bleeding.
Why do red clothes color bleed?
More often than not, red garments color bleed simply due to the type of dye commercial clothing manufacturers oftentimes use when making red colored clothes. The dye is called direct dye and it is actually available in other colors, which are equally as susceptible to color bleeding. However, it’s commonly used with red colored clothing items. Therefore, red colored clothing is associated with color bleeding more than other colors.
Garments with red direct dye are much more likely to color bleed in the laundry as opposed to clothes that use fiber reactive dye. This is because of the chemical makeup of direct dye and it reacts with the fibers of the clothing.
Red color bleeding also can be a result of over dyeing or the dye not being properly settled in the fabric of the clothing.
How do I avoid color bleeding?
Unless you are making your own clothes or dying your own clothes it’s difficult to know much about the dye used on your clothing items.
With that said, there are a few best practices you can follow regardless of they type of dye to limit your chances of experiencing color bleeding on your next laundry day.
- Always separate lights and darks. This is a mandatory practice at Rinse but you may be surprised to know that many people at home overlook this important step when doing their own laundry.
- Use a color fixative such as Retayne or Raycafix on your clothes pre-wash to help prevent color transfer.
- Use cold water over hot water when washing. Hot water can loosen up the fabric and increase the likelihood of color bleeding.
- When possible, adjust your washer settings to delicate or something similar to reduce the amount of friction inside the washing machine.
- Add color catcher sheets to the machine to help catch and hold dyes during washing.
- Turn your clothes inside out to reduce both color fading and color bleeding.
As you can see there are several steps you can take to help reduce the chances of color bleeding. By implementing these basic tips you’ll not only limit color bleeding but improve the lifespan of your clothes.
Extend the life of your clothes by knowing the difference between laundering and dry cleaning.
When you have clothing that needs to look sharp, like a suit, dress, sweater, or dress shirt, chances are you take it to the dry cleaners. But many nice articles of clothing don’t actually need to be dry cleaned—often, having your clothing laundered and pressed is a better choice.
So, what is the difference between laundering and dry cleaning?
The short answer - water.
Dry Cleaning: When your clothes are dry cleaned, non-water based solvents are used to remove stains, before they are crisply pressed.
Launder & Press: With laundered items, water and detergent are used. Your clothes are washed in a commercial-grade washing machine, emerge slightly damp, and then are individually pressed.
Why Launder & Press?
So what's the benefit of using Launder & Press?
• It's gentle on fabric: The chemicals used to dry clean your clothes can cause fabrics to deteriorate over time. Laundering, on the other hand, removes stains and everyday grime using water and gentler detergents.
• It's ideal for removing sweat, oils, and dirt: Laundering is actually more effective than dry cleaning at removing sweat and oil from fabrics, so it is typically the best choice for dress shirts and cotton blouses. After clothes are laundered, they are pressed and hung for that crisp, fresh-from-the-cleaner look.
High-quality laundry services like Rinse read the care label on your clothing and make the call between chemical dry cleaning and laundering to maximize the life of your clothes. When you’re the one making the call, read the label: if it doesn’t say “Dry Clean Only,” ask for Launder & Press. Your clothes will thank you!
Why Dry Clean?
You may be thinking - Why on earth would anyone choose to dry clean when Launder & Press is just as effective (if not more in some cases) and gentler on fabrics? Well, the truth is, it really depends on the fabric and the piece.
• It's ideal for clothing made of natural fibers, like silk or wool because water can have an adverse effect on the fabric. Water can cause the fibers in the fabric to become rigid and even cause the garment to shrink, fade, or lose its shape.
• It's often the only way to get out certain stains: When an item is dry cleaned, it also goes through the “pre-spotting” process where an experienced cleaner will examine each garment to locate stains and determine the source so that they can treat the stain with the appropriate non-aqueous solvent. It’s not uncommon for a pre-spotter to have decades of experience!
A helpful tip to extend the life of your clothes: If you know the source of any stain on your garment, let your dry cleaner know. Be it ketchup, wine, or a splash from a puddle, your dry cleaner will use that information to choose the right solvent and minimize the risk of damage.
There’s a reason both dry cleaning and launder & press are offered today—each serves a different, valuable purpose. Both are aptly named and both keep you looking sharp!
Learn more about How Dry Cleaning Works from our COO James. He grew up in dry cleaning!
Or, read Our Guide For Which Clothes You Should And Shouldn't Dry Clean.
Care label instructions are critical to extending the life of your clothing. Learn what the different care symbols mean!
Extend the life of your clothes by making sure you're caring for them properly
Below is a chart of all of the laundry care symbols that you may see on your clothing's tags. Some laundry symbols are straight forward while others look like alien hieroglyphics so we put them all in one place to make life easy. For more details on the reason behind each of the care instructions - like why wool can't go in the dryer - check out our Guide to Clothing Care Labels.
The washing symbols are used to intruct you how to wash the clothing item.
The tub icon lets you know exactly how to wash the garment with underscored lines indicating the recommended cycle and black dots representing water temperature. An X, of course, warns to not machine wash at all.
The washing symbols can also give you an idea for temperature, indicated by the number of dots in the tub of water symbol, whereas different cycle types are represented by a tub with one or two lines drawn under it.
Ironing symbols will recommend exactly how to iron your clothing. The black dots inside the iron symbol represent the temperature, while an X over the iron means you should not iron the garment.
For drying symbols, first determine whether the item should be air or tumble dried. The lines inside the square will tell you how an item should be air dried, while the dots inside the square indicate the recommended heat setting if you are using a machine to dry your clothes.
Dry Cleaning Symbols
Relative to the other symbols, dry cleaning symbols are a little easier to understand. They will help you determine if an item should or should not be dry cleaned or if you should opt for a wet cleaning.
Now that you know what your clothes' laundry symbols mean, you'll have a better chance of not shrinking or damaging your clothes. When it comes to clothing maintenance, the fine print matters. If you're pressed for time or unsure of specific treatment requirements, consider scheduling a Rinse laundry pickup and let us take the guesswork out of your laundry.
Do you remember to wash your bath mats? They are easy to overlook but you may be surprised why you should start cleaning them more often.
Rinse’s complete guide to properly caring for your bath mats.
Sure, your bath mat probably feels nice and soft on your feet after every shower, but underneath all that comfort may be some pretty gnarly grime and not-so-nice germs.
Before you add burn bathmat to your to-do list, I recommend at least skimming this post. Just as with bed sheets and clothing, there is a correct way to care for your bath mat so that it stays fresh and clean, shower after shower.
Caring for your bath mats in 3 steps
So what can be done to care for your bath mats?
- Determine how much use your bathmat gets - The condition of your bath mat really comes down to how much you use it.
- If you’re like most people, you are using it daily. If you share a bathroom with more than one person you then have to factor in their daily usage in addition to yours.
- You also need to consider the time in between each use where your bath mat can dry and air out. The more it is used and the less time it has to dry the more likely your bath mat has unseen dirt, germs, and even mold or mildew settling in!
- Wash your bath mats accordingly - This answer to how often you should wash your bath mats can be subjective and a bit complicated. To make things simple, a good rule of thumb is to wash your bath mat at least once per week.
- If you find yourself in a household that shares a bathroom between two or more people, then we suggest washing your bath mats every 3 to 5 days.
- If you have your own bathroom, you may be able to get away with washing your bath mats about every 10 days to prevent mold or mildew build up underneath the fabric.
- Minimize long-term moisture - It’s important to create an environment that allows your bathmats to fully dry.
- Turn on your bathroom’s fan or open a window during and after showers. Why? Because adding a little ventilation to your bathroom helps cut down on the steam buildup, which can seep into both soft (read:bathmats) and hard surfaces, making your bathroom a tropical paradise for mold spores, bacteria, and other unpleasant things.
- When you are done using your bath mat, hang it up! Exposing both sides of the bath mat to the light of day will help it dry more quickly and reduce the risk of mold and mildew.
Like most things related to laundry, we have an easy solution for you. If you have regular laundry to do (like most non-nudist adults), our subscription Wash & Fold service, Rinse Repeat, may be just what you need. You just fill up your Rinse Repeat bag with all of your laundry - including bathmats - and we’ll pick it up, wash it, fold it, and deliver it back to you on a weekly or biweekly cadence (depending on your plan).
So, then next time you hop out of the shower, remember your hardworking bath mat and be sure to give it the care it needs!
Leave the cleaning to Rinse experts
Use Rinse's award-winning services for high-quality cleaning and delivery straight to your door.
Leave your clothes to the people who know best. You’ll receive your clothes pressed on hangers, or neatly folded (depending on the service).
Schedule via SMS, web, or app. We pick up and deliver everyday, even if you are not home.
Fast turnaroundOur standard turnaround time is 3–4 days