At the end of a long day, it's easy to bundle another load of washing into the machine and take it out supposedly clean and ready to wear without much thought. But statistics from laundry expert Dr Beckmann show that we're not always wise to how to make our machine work at its best or how to make sure your clothes are really clean.
Instead many of your washed clothes can still be home to thousands of germs, with 83% of our 'clean' underwear containing up to 10,000 living bacteria and our dirty tea towels among the worst offenders in the germ stakes. So they've come up with some top tips for washing with success.
How to take care of your laundry
- Always follow the garment's wash care label and sort your clothes into whites and colours, then into groups by fabric types.
- Try to avoid over-filling the machine as this makes the wash less effective and can make your items more creased (which means more ironing and none of us want that!)
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions for the laundry detergent and your washing machine
- Don't forget to treat your delicates with special loving care by placing them (if they're machine washable) in a pillowcase or net bag to keep them protected. Silks and wool are best washed with a specialist ph neutral detergent.
- Always remove your wash load as soon as the cycle has finished.
How to spot a problem with your machine
- If you notice unpleasant odours coming from your machine, these are often caused by the mould that bacteria leaves in your machine . This mould can then carry onto your clothes, bedding and towels even after they have been washed, which isn't good for your health, so be sure to sort this out.
- If you find a black, slimy residue in and around the door seal or inside the drum, there may be a problem. The residue or soap scum is often the build up of washing detergents and fabric softeners that stay in the washing machine and don't get rinsed away and can leave dirty black marks on your clothes.
- Black spots on your clothes could also be the result of limescale if you live in a hard water area. Limescale builds up on the pipes and elements of your washing machine and can cause expensive breakdowns.
- Using a washing machine cleaner can help clear some of these problems away and are a much cheaper solution than getting in a new washing machine.
Take care of your tea towels
"Many of us don't realise just how much bacteria can be found on our tea towels" says Susan Fermor from Dr Beckmann.
"It's best to use them a maximum of three times between washes to keep them hygienic. And when it comes to cleaning them, do it at a very high temperature as low temperatures will not be enough to kill off the bacteria! Also try not to wash them with any other clothing or bedding as the germs can could spread".
There's more advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.