You’re Washing Your Clothes Wrong. Here’s All You Need To Know

We get it. We all like to be a little filthy from time to time. But when the morning rolls around and you stumble around your house, picking up your clothes one by one so that the washing machine can turn your foggy memories into wet ones, resist the urge to crank the water temperature up to 11. You might think that the hotter the water, the deeper the cleanse, but you would actually just be compounding your laundry list of issues to work through.

Instead, take a few deep breaths, drink a lot of water, either eat something really fatty or start a smoothie cleanse (why not both?), and turn the water down.

Hot water is great for long showers (though not in droughts!) and saunas (gotta work out those kinks!), but while we find heat cleansing and invigorating, heat is simply damaging when it comes to most fabrics.

Fortunately, cold water will more than sufficiently clean your clothes. Just get the water running and add your detergent. Wait a little while before adding your clothes because you don’t want your clothes to sit on concentrated detergent for too long, because that could cause them to fade unevenly.

Feel free to use hot water for your sheets and towels, though if they are expensive or made out of strong colors, consider switching to cold water.

As an added bonus, colors are less likely to run in cold water, so, other than the first time you wash a new strongly-colored garment, don’t bother separating your clothes into anything more granular than whites or colors.

Now, the dryer. Obviously, don’t put your workout clothes or other synthetics in them. I know, how unfortunate is it when your SoulCycle class starts in an hour, and all your lululemon is still wet from the wash? Sure, you could throw them in a delicates bag and into the dryer and then check on them every five minutes. But you know what? They aren’t going to get dry enough quickly enough, you’re going to be late to class, and it doesn’t even matter because they’re going to give your spot away. Just accept it, throw on some joggers, and go get a smoothie instead. But take your pants out of the dryer first. This is not a make it work moment, unfortunately.

Beyond saving synthetics, you’re probably being too aggressive with your dryer in general. Jeans? Wash cold inside-out and lay flat to dry (though you should almost never wash your jeans; but that’s a subject for another day). Lingerie? Out of the delicates bag and onto your drying rack. Bright colors? Don’t throw them in the dryer. Anything you really care about? Out. Again, sheets and towels are fine in the dryer, and if a warm fluffy towel is wrong, we’re just never going to be right.

For items you do feel comfortable running through the dryer, keep the temperature setting lower, so that there’s less danger of leaving your clothes in for so long that they become bone-dry. You can tell by the almost crinkly way they come out that you’re being way too violent with your clothes. But don’t let them sit in the dryer while damp; something mildewed this way comes.

Little black dogs should shake dry only (credit: kellinahandbasket CC by 2.0)

As a general rule of thumb, the finer the clothes, the more caution with which you should approach cleaning them. Anything made out of wool or silk is almost certainly dry-clean only. If you’ve begun to enjoy JAKE’s new ready-to-wear clothes — Jake by JAKE — you may have already read the tags on the clothes, but as a reminder, all of the items are dry-clean or spot-clean only, except for the joggers and the men’s shirt, which can be gently washed in cold water, tumble-dried on low, and steamed or lightly ironed if needed.

Hang well to dry

If you haven’t bought any of our new ready-to-wear pieces, hustle into our all-new JAKE store in San Francisco’s Jackson Square. Because it’s important to make questionable choices from time to time, except when it comes to what you wear. Take care of your clothes, and your choices may still be questionable, but also fabulous. Turn your walks of shame into runway shows, and never look back.