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When it comes to laundry, there is so much information out there that it’s hard to tell which is right when caring for your garments. Today, we’ve picked three common laundry myths and debunked them!
Myth #1: Color-safe bleach is not safe to use with colored laundry.
The word “bleach” can be pretty intimidating for people. Just the mere thought of adding bleach to a load of laundry raises a red flag for many, but understanding ingredients can make all the difference. The active ingredient in many regular bleaches is sodium hypochlorite. Most people use this type of bleach as an additive to their white load to help remove tough stains and the dull appearance whites have over time. The active ingredient in color-safe bleach is hydrogen peroxide. Almost all washable colored items can be laundered with hydrogen peroxide-based bleaches. In fact, as a general rule, if you can machine wash a colored item with detergent, then you can also wash it with detergent and color-safe bleaches, where the active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide (i.e. Clorox2).
If you’re still unsure, you’d better test the garment. First, apply a drop of color-safe bleach to a hidden part of the item. Wait five minutes, and then rinse with water. Allow the item to dry completely and check for a color change. No discoloration means the item can be safely laundered using that brand of color-safe bleach.
In 2013, Consumer Reports reported that color-safe bleach is useful if you need to whiten or lighten up an item (1) that cannot be bleached with chlorine bleach, (2) that has a stain that’s out of the ordinary on it, or (3) that has been run through the wash but a stain did not come out. However, the agency recommends that it is only used as an additive only if needed and that a good detergent is sufficient.
Myth #2: There is no such thing as an invisible stain.
Every now and again, a dry cleaner is accused of putting stains on garments. The customer is adamant that the garment was free of stains prior to being dry cleaned, but a stain was present upon pickup. This type of incident occurs because of invisible stains – stains that show up as a result of oxidation.
Take an apple for example. When the apple is cut in half, it starts off white or off-white, but the air will cause the apple to oxidize and eventually turn brown. The same goes for certain stains. While they may appear colorless at the time of contact with the fabric, after a period of time they absorb oxygen from the air and develop into a visible stain. Invisible stains can occur on any type of fabric or garment. Some examples of invisible stains include vegetable and cooking oil, liquor, tea and many certain types of medicines.
Myth #3: The more detergent, the better.
It’s perfectly logical to think that the more soap you use to clean something, the cleaner it will be. But in the case of laundry detergent, more is not better. Adding more detergent than recommended can actually compromise cleaning rather than enhance it. Too many suds can cause soil to redeposit onto fabrics and leave a residue on fabrics and in the machine. Always use the amount of detergent according to the directions and only use more if your garments are heavily soiled or if your water is hard.