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11 Laundry Mistakes

Are you using too much detergent? Overloading the washer? Overdoing the bleach? Find out the answers to these questions and more, and pick up some smart laundry tips in the bargain.

Mistake 1: Rubbing Stains Furiously

This can make the stain worse and possibly wear away the fabric. Instead, be gentle and methodical. Treat the stain as soon as you can; the less time that elapses, the more success you'll have. And always use a white cloth so that colors can't transfer. Dab, rather than rub, working from the outside in to keep the stain contained.

Mistake 2: Using Too Much Detergent

Excess suds can hold dirt pulled from clothes and get caught in areas that won't always rinse clean, like under a collar, leading to bacteria buildup. The remedy: Use only half the amount of detergent that you normally do, then gradually increase that amount if your clothes are not coming out as clean as you would like. An exception: If you have hard water, you may actually need more soap than you are using. Check the recommendation for hard water on your detergent bottle.

Mistake 3: Filling the Washing Machine Incorrectly

Mistake 6: Overusing Bleach