Have you ever actually looked at the care instructions of your clothing besides the “Dry Clean Only” text? Hunkered beneath the sterile and sometimes overly-complicated text instructions is a set of hieroglyphic-like symbols that depict just how you’re supposed to take care of your garment. These symbols tell you to wash (or don’t), dry (or don’t), iron (or don’t), and bleach (or don’t). We took to Wikipedia and are here to give you a quick and dirty look at what each symbol means and the products you may need to maintain your clothing properly, rather than just tossing it into the wash and hoping for the best.
Set of 5 Mesh Laundry Bags, $8 on Amazon: When it comes to washing your clothing, it’s not just separating lights and darks. You should be thinking about the weight of the items and what you want to put together. When washing delicates, you’ll want to make sure that they’re all together in a separate bag as to not damage them. Even if you’re on the lowest setting of your washing machine, keeping lace underthings together in one place will help keep them from getting holes torn into them by zippers or buttons from other pieces of clothing as they agitate in the drum.
Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep, $17 on Amazon: Tumble drying is the most common and is acceptable only if you see the square-and-circle symbol above. You can quicken your drying time naturally by adding wool dryer balls to your routine. They’re natural and reusable so you’re not gunking up the system with any one-use dryer sheets.
Home-It Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack, $42 on Amazon: When it comes to “natural” or air drying, things become a bit less concrete. Line drying is usually the most popular, but so is drying flat. Combine both of these with a fold-away drying rack. Use the top for pieces that need to dry while flat and the rods below to line dry.
Charlie's Soap Non-Chlorine Oxygen Bleach, $23 on Amazon: There are many times where you’ll want to bleach something, but you can’t use chlorine bleach to do it (see the striped triangle above). That’s where a non-chlorine bleach comes in. They come in many forms, from crystals to liquids to powdered concentrate, like this natural option.
The Laundress Whites Detergent, $19 on Amazon: If you see the crossed out triangle on a white garment, opt for a white-specific detergent instead of bleach. This option from The Laundress is nontoxic and allergen-free. It’s a mixture of plant-derived anionic and nonionic surfactants (basically soap), stain-fighting and cleaning enzymes (protease, amylase, cellulase, lipase), mineral-derived cleaning enhancers (borax, sodium gluconate, and calcium chloride), essential oils, and fragrance.
Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron, $64 on Amazon: If there’s one thing to invest in when it comes to laundry, it’s a good iron. This one has 400+ holes for a more even steam distribution and a thermostat knob to maintain the ideal heat and steam for the specific instruction written on your garment’s tag.
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