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  • Writer's pictureCraig's Dry Cleaners

5 At-Home Laundry Hacks That Don't Work

When an issue arises on laundry day, many people often search the Internet for helpful tips to solve their problems. However, as you find out not all hacks always work as expected. Save your time and clothes by skipping these laundry hacks.

Unshrink Clothes with Hair Conditioner

When you pull a shirt or sweater from the dryer to find it's now too small, the first thing most people do is a quick Google search to learn if they can save their item. One laundry tip you'll find recommended that doesn't actually work is to soak the shrunken clothing in lukewarm water and hair conditioner for approximately 15 minutes. Then, lay the item flat on a towel to dry.

While the hack sounds promising because conditioner helps to reduce tangles by coating your hair, and clothes that shrink are caused by fibers becoming tangled and combined. However, it is not going to help for most fabrics. The only exception is knitted wool sweaters that did not shrink severely.

Disinfect Clothing Using Vinegar

Vinegar is commonly used in household hacks, so it's not surprising to find people recommending it for cleaning your clothes. One laundry hack that is not worth your time trying is adding 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse water to disinfect clothes.

Vinegar can be a good laundry helper, but it is not as effective as bleach for removing bacteria and viruses from fabrics. According to experts, soaking items in undiluted vinegar is only 90% effective for killing bacteria and 80% of viruses, mold, or mildew. Therefore, adding to your rinse water (which is gallons of water) weakens the effectiveness of getting rid of germs even further.

Using Salt to Keep Colors Bright & Keep Colors from Bleeding in the Wash

When searching the Internet for ways to maintain the vibrance of your garments, you often see the laundry hack of adding one cup of salt to your load. For bright colors, some suggest adding a cup of salt to wash water to keep them from bleeding. There is science behind this hack because sal,t along with other ingredients, is used to set dyes in the initial dying process. However, by the time you purchase the shirt and run it through the wash, it is too late to set the dye, as it must be done early during textile production to prevent bleeding.

Another common myth using salt for your laundry loads is adding a cup of table salt to rinse water to keep brights vibrant. While dry table salt can help remove soil and dust that dulls colors because of its abrasive properties, it will not offer any benefit when adding it to the rinse cycle.

Whiten Clothes with Aspirin

This laundry hack says that dissolving five aspirin tablets into hot water and soaking your whites before washing results in super white textiles. However, aspirin does not provide a bleaching effect on fabrics. It is more likely that the pre-soak in hot water loosens the grime and body oils that make whites appear dingy, making the soils removed easier during a normal wash cycle, creating the appearance of whiter fabrics.

Keep Dark Clothes Dark with Coffee or Tea

Although coffee and tea are effective dyes, following the laundry hack for using two cups of the above-mentioned beverages to help keep dark clothing dark is not an effective way to maintain your items. It would require a lot more than two cups mixed with the 5-16 gallons (depending on the type of home washing machine) of water used in a typical washing cycle to cause dying.

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