Think you’re doing your laundry right? Maybe not.

For a lot of people, laundry is a part of their weekly routine. This can mean either throwing a load of laundry into the washing machine or washing clothes by hand. When it’s put this way, it all sounds simple. However, you might be surprised that there are things that you’re still doing wrong when it comes to a chore you already do so much of.

Here are some laundry mistakes you didn’t know you might be making:

1. You don’t zip the zippers.

The metal zipper teeth on your clothes have been known to catch and destroy other pieces of clothing. That’s why you should make sure that all of your zippers are completely zipped. For the same reason, make sure you clip your bras before you wash them so they don’t get entangled with other fabrics.

2. You scrub out the stains.

Doing so makes the stain worse, and eventually strips the fabric away. Instead of scrubbing the stains, dab from the outside area towards the stain itself. This helps keep the stain contained and saves your clothes from further damage. When you’re dabbing, make sure to use a white cloth to prevent the transferring of colors.

The Argyle Sweater by Scott Hilburn © https://www.gocomics.com/theargylesweater

3. You don’t wash your socks in a garment bag.

One explanation for why we keep losing our socks without a trace in the laundry is because they can get caught in different parts of the machine. It also doesn’t help that they’re separated from their other half. Instead of leaving socks to fend for themselves, you can put them in a garment bag before washing. This way, it’s easier to keep track of where your socks are so they don’t have the chance to disappear on you.

4. You wash your clothes without turning them inside out.

In any wash, the rotations create friction between the clothes. This friction can damage the printed graphics on the outside part of your clothes. Turning your clothes inside out helps with this issue.

5. You don’t check the pockets.

You know that white fuzz that magically appears on your dark clothes after washing? That’s probably because the small piece of tissue you forgot in your pocket wreaked havoc on your load of laundry. We all sometimes forget to check our pockets when tossing our dirty clothes in the washing machine, leaving coins, tissues, gum, and a lot more. These things stain and damage the clothes. That’s why it’s important to check the pockets of your clothes thoroughly.

6. You leave the shirts buttoned.

If you want to keep your buttons where they’re supposed to be, make sure you unbutton your clothes before throwing them into the washing machine. Washing clothes that are still buttoned will loosen the button’s threads. This tears the buttons off of the fabric. 

7. You only sort by color.

It’s common knowledge to sort your laundry based on color, but did you know you have to sort based on material as well? Separate heavier clothes from the lighter ones in order to get the best clean. For example, you shouldn’t have your denim washed with tissue weight t-shirts because it will ruin the quality of your clothes.

8. You ignore the ‘Dry-Clean Only’ label.

Always read the labels on your clothes because these labels contain the kind of care your clothes need to keep them in pristine condition. Whenever you ignore the “dry-clean only” label, you risk ruining a delicate garment. Delicate garments include leather, silk, and anything with intricate embellishments.

9. You use a lot of detergent per load.

“Adding too much detergent can lead to residue on fabrics, excessive soap in the washer, mold, and possibly even damage to your machine,” says Drew Westervelt, founder of Hex Performance. Start using a little less detergent to get a more effective rinse. Not only does this save money, it also saves your clothes.