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Clothing Care Myths

MYTH: Club soda removes stains better than plain water.

Fact: In GHRI tests, they worked equally well. The most important thing is to treat stains (on washable fabrics) as quickly as possible with a cloth dipped either in cool water or club soda.

MYTH: Soaking fabrics in salt water sets dye and keeps colors from bleeding.

Fact: A fabric’s dye should be set when it’s manufactured. Sometimes loose or excess dye, like what’s added to jeans, comes off in the first few washes, but if a fabric continues to bleed after repeated washes and you are following the care label instructions, something’s wrong and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Either wash the garment separately or return it to the store.

MYTH: Dry cleaning is safe because fabrics don’t get wet.

Fact: Actually, clothing does get wet during dry cleaning, but just not with water. Garments are placed into a large machine and tumbled with a liquid solvent that dissolves body oils and stains. The process is called “dry” because no water is used making it safer for delicate fabrics.

MYTH: Adding bleach along with your detergent helps get clothes cleaner.

Fact: Actually, the best time to add bleach is five minutes into the wash cycle. Adding it at the start of the wash destroys enzymes in the detergent before they can get to work and keeps other ingredients in the detergent from working, too. Today’s washers have timed bleach dispensers to add bleach at the correct moment in the cycle. For an older machine, set a timer and add the bleach manually.

MYTH: Tumble-drying clothes causes them to shrink.

Fact: It’s not heat that causes fabrics to shrink, but a lack of moisture. Most of today’s dryers have sensors in the drum that stop the cycle when the appropriate moisture level in the fabrics is sensed. Over-drying clothes is what removes too much moisture and contributes to shrinkage. To prevent this, select the “automatic”, not the “timed” cycle on the dryer and let it shut off on it’s own.

MYTH: Use hairspray to remove ballpoint ink stains.

Fact: It’s the alcohol in hairspray that helps dissolve ink, but today’s newer formulas have little or no alcohol in them so they aren’t as effective as older formulas were. Sponge ink stains with rubbing alcohol instead.

MYTH: Adding more detergent gets clothes cleaner.

Fact: When it comes to laundry detergent, more is not better. Adding more detergent than is recommend on the label can actually compromise cleaning. Too many suds can cause soil to redeposit onto fabrics and leave a residue on fabrics and in the machine. Always measure according to the label directions and only use more if your garments are heavily soiled or if your water is hard.

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