These five common laundry mistakes are the reason your clothes don't last, according to an expert.

We all want our clothing to look as good as new, for as long as possible. 

One of the simplest ways to do this is to launder them properly. Taking just a few considered steps when putting on a wash can help reduce fading, stretching, warping and fibre shed. 

After years studying and working in fashion, I realised how badly laundry can impact the lifetime of our clothing but it's not information many people know. 

Which is why I wrote my best-seller Garment Goddess to help people fix the common mistakes they're making every time they put on a wash. 

So let's get into my five top pieces of advice... 

Prep your load. 

Washing machines clean our clothes by making them rub against each other at certain stages of the cycle. This agitation is stunning for stain removal, freshening up fibres and giving a thorough cleanse. But! It can also be the reason a lot of our clothing ends up losing shape, reducing in weight, or becoming damaged. 

Step one in The Art of Laundry is making sure that all zips are closed, and buttons are open before garments go into the drum. This will ensure that the teeth on zips are not cutting in to any other garments as they agitate and that buttoned items are not getting damaged. If you have a garment with a zip AND a button like jeans, pop that button closed as the risk of warping is not the same as a shirt for example. 


Know your load. 

You’re probably sussing the care labels on your clothes already, but you also need to consider their fabric and what it can endure. 

Cottons are super strong and can withstand lots of agitation, heat and general chaos some washing cycles bring. Which is why they are an ideal fabric for underwear, underlayers, socks and bed linen. 

Synthetics, on the other hand, need a gentler time in the drum. Next time you load, make sure you are selecting slower, cooler cycles for synthetics. Mixed load? Always cater to the weaker garments, not the stronger. If in doubt, check the consumption chart in your manual which will break down the speed and heat per wash. 

Watch: Stain hacks. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Temperature check. 

Now that modern detergents have stunning additions to remove stains and odours without the need for very hot water, we can lower our cycle temperatures for the cycles that need it. This is great news for the environment and our pocket but also for our clothing! 

When it comes to darks, brights, prints and some synthetics, hot water is their kryptonite as it can fade their dyes, even after just one wash. So, keep these and any fast fashion garments at a low temperature (anything from 0 – 30 depending on your machine). 


Anything worn close to the body like underwear, socks etc will need a warmer temp like 40 to 60. Don’t forget, care labels state the max temp for washes, not the ideal temp. 

Put her on fast, she's not going to last. 

Fast washes are too much strain for most garments. Their speed, heat and also how little water they use can cause a host of problem. These are designed for occasions you need something back sooner but not for your daily washes. 

Bag it up, bebe. 

Anything with straps, delicates or a fast fashion garment you love but know is not built to last benefits from being washed in a bag. 

Laundry bags are inexpensive to pick up but will save you so much money in the long run. They allow the garment to be washed with the rest of the load but protect her from harm. 

Using these will keep your bras beautiful, delicates divine and laces lovely. Bonus points for bags that collect any microfibres that have shed in the wash and stop them ruining eco systems. 

Laura de Barra is the author of Garment Goddess. You can follow her on TikTok here or check out her book here. 

Feature Image: @lauradebarra Instagram.

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