If it were up to us, ‘wash and fold’ would be an essential service provided to all Canadians. Or, at least to all parents, because lord knows there’s a never-ending stream of unimaginably filthy clothing in our houses once kids are brought into the picture. Well, we won’t be holding our breath on that one, so in the meantime, we better figure out a way to keep our laundry rooms from looking like a frat house the morning after a kegger.
A big part of our laundry problem is that we don’t always know how to wash certain items, which means they stay in the basket far longer than they should (until we inevitably tempt fate by tossing them in the machine while holding our breath). Sure, we could take them to the cleaners, but who has time for that? Instead, we end up with shrunken sweaters, and faded dresses. Sigh.
When we heard that Tide had partnered with Pink Tartan’s Kim Newport-Mimran, we were intrigued. Washable wear isn’t what springs to mind as you drool over Pink Tartan’s collection each season, but her newfound partnership with the detergent brand inspired her to launch just that. Designer clothing that you don’t need to drag to the cleaners? Sign us up! But more importantly, the designer was working with Tide to dispel laundry myths, and admittedly, we were shocked to learn the truth.
Tide’s Mary Johnson is a biologist and fabric care expert, which basically means she’s a laundry scientist and is maybe one of the only people in the world that can actually decipher those fabric care labels. No, she won’t move in and do your laundry — we asked. But! She did offer to break down some of the biggest myths, and share some truly disgusting facts about our clothing that will totally change how you wash your wears.
Fact: Our clothing is way (WAY) dirtier than it looks.
So, here’s the deal, on top of mustard stains on our shirts and muddy paw prints on our jeans, our clothing is hiding a filthy little secret: it’s full of soils you can’t even see. Only 30 per cent of what needs to be cleaned off of our clothing is actually visible. That means that when we wear a shirt twice (ok, three times) between washes, we’re just bathing in our own dirt. Two billion dead skin cells, 40g of body oil, and 1 litre of sweat without even exercising – that’s what our body discharges every single day. Anyone else feel like they suddenly need a shower?
Myth: You can clean your jeans by putting them in the freezer.
Nope. So not true. Think about it for a second, how are microbes preserved in labs? They’re frozen. What about women’s eggs? Frozen. So, why would freezing our jeans kill off dirt and bacteria? Mary says “never washing your jeans is like never showering from the waist down.” Umm…gross. Ok, we’re convinced. If you want to preserve the indigo dye in your denim, your best bet is to wash them in cold water, with a premium detergent that limits fading. And whatever you do, don’t put them in the dryer.
Fact: Your clothing is a lot like your hair.
Well, in terms of how you should be caring for it. We aren’t all lucky enough to wake up each day with luscious locks, free of frizz. We put a lot of work into getting that shiny finish. We use shampoo, conditioner and try to avoid styling tools with high heat. You should think of your laundry care the same way. No one wants sweaters that pill, or become stretched out or faded, so if you want to keep your clothing looking great for longer, adopt a beauty-based approach. Wash with a premium detergent that’s actually going to rid your clothing of residues, condition it with a fabric conditioner (AKA fabric softener) and air dry. Ok, we know, we don’t all have the time and space to skip using our dryer, so instead, tumble dry on low.
Myth: The dry cleaner is the best option for all clothing.
We, and our wallets, are so happy to say this isn’t true! While an item of clothing labeled with ‘dry clean only’ should definitely be taken to the cleaners, if you have the option, you’ll get a better clean by doing it yourself. That’s because cleaners don’t actually use water, they use chemical solvents. And as with most areas of cleaning, nothing quite compares to lather, rinse, and repeat.
Fact: You need to wash your clothing inside out.
Remember all of those body fluids I mentioned earlier? Well, they’re primarily on the inside of your clothing, so you’re going to want to make sure that the dirtiest part of your garments get the most exposure to the detergent. Your coffee stains will still come out and you’ll feel the difference against your skin.
Myth: You can wash your jeans with other dark clothing.
Have you ever stopped to think about what your clothing actually goes through while being washed? A person who did stuck a Go-Pro in the washing machine and well, it’s nothing short of torturous.
Your clothing is pulling some serious Gs in there, and if you’ve ever been caught in a rainstorm wearing jeans, you know how heavy and waterlogged they get. If your legs get chafed wearing wet jeans, imagine what can happen to a blouse if you threw it into the wash with your denim! For the sake of your entire wardrobe, wash your denim separately.
Fact: You should zip all zippers and button all buttons before washing.
Unless you like opening your washer to find fresh new holes in your favourite outfit, make sure all fasteners are closed. We’re pretty sure that Go-Pro video you just watched sums up why quite nicely.
So there you have it. While we still can’t answer the age-old question of where everyone’s socks are disappearing to, we can at least keep the matches of socks that we do have lasting the longest with this expert info. After all, our clothes aren’t museum pieces — even our most beautiful and delicate items deserve to be worn . So as long as you take care to wash them with the best detergent and follow these simple guidelines, your clothing can last longer than the trends that inspired you to buy them!
WATCH: While we’re on the topic of laundry, here are another few useful laundry hacks: