4 laundry mistakes you didn't know you were making

4 laundry mistakes you didn't know you were making

We’re sure you know how to do the laundry… but you could be oblivious to these common mistakes, which could be ruining your clothes.

When it comes to laundry it’s tempting to bung it all in and hope for the best – you’ve got better things to do with your time, right?

But if you are making one or more of these common laundry mistakes every time you wash, it could take its toll on your clothes.

Here’s how to make sure you get the best results possible each and every time, helping you look after your favourite items of clothing.

Using the wrong detergent for your needs

Standing in front of the detergent shelves at the supermarket can feel overwhelming: do I go for a powder or a liquid? Will liquitabs still get rid of stains?

A lot of it is down to personal preference, but there are some key points to bear in mind.

Liquitabs: These are easy and convenient to use. They don’t contain oxygen bleach and so are great for washing coloured loads. Pods should be placed on the bottom of the drum with the wash load on top. They work well on greasy stains – oils and make-up for example. Try Ariel 3in1 pods for power that cleans, lifts stains and brightens.

Liquid: Liquids, such as Ariel Washing Liquid are great for pre-treating stubborn stains as you can apply them directly to the area. For best results with liquids, use a dosing ball. Putting it on top of the load helps the ingredients to work right from the start.

Powder: Powders contain more bleaching agents so they’re better for washing your whites. Try Ariel Washing Powder for great stain removal on your white sheets or shirts.

Using too much detergent

Why use more detergent when you can use less? But you also need to be sure you use enough otherwise your clothes won’t get cleaned properly. So when deciding on dose, consider the following:

How dirty are the clothes? If there are stains to treat, you will need to use more detergent.

What’s the size of the load? If you’re only doing a half-load, you will only need half the detergent. Also, be sure not to overload the machine as it will prevent the clothes from being washed properly. There should be a gap about the width of your hand between the top of the drum and the laundry.

How hard is the water in your area? If you are in a hard water area you will probably have white scale in your sink and bathtub or shower. To get the best results, people in hard water areas need to use more detergent.

Washing at the wrong temperature

For many years, if you wanted decent stain removal, you had to wash at a high temperature, which can damage your clothes and cause colours to fade over time. But now, with advancements in both washing machines and detergents, it’s possible to get clean, fresh-smelling clothes while only washing at 30°C – or even 20°C if your machine allows it – which is good for your clothes, wallet and the environment.

Try using Ariel and Hotpoint’s new Ultima S-Line machine to make washing at high temperatures a thing of the past.

The only exception is bed sheets, which should be washed at the hottest temperature that’s safe for the material. Polyester blends are best washed using warm water, while cotton can tolerate hot water. Hotter water kills the most germs and takes care of dust mites that thrive in bedding.

Also, if you’re washing with non-bio detergent due to sensitive skin or for your young grandkids, you will have to wash at higher temperatures to get the same stain-removing power as when using bio detergents, due to the lack of dirt-fighting enzymes.


Hang your sheets outside to dry when possible. Sunshine is a natural disinfectant and helps brighten whites.

Hand washing incorrectly

As with a machine-wash, you should hand-wash your whites and colours separately. Use cold to lukewarm water to prevent any shrinkage and use a small amount of liquid detergent such as Ariel Washing Liquid.

Let your garments soak for around 10-15 minutes before giving them a little massage to clean them – don’t go overboard in case you cause damage.

Gently squeeze excess water from the clothing and hang them out to dry (they will be too delicate for the tumble dryer).

Do you have a laundry tip to share? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

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Liz 11/04/2018

Towels should be washed at high temperature using bicarbonate of soda instead of detergent and white vinegar instead of fabric softener as a build up of products meshes them feel hard. Drying or finishing off drying in a tumble dryer also helps to keep them soft.

Hand washing

Hildegard 18/11/2017

The article omits to mention that, after hand washing, you need to rinse your washed items several times until all detergent is removed. Then rinse in fabric conditioner if using any.


Pauline 16/06/2017

Any tips on keeping towels soft other than using a tumble drier. Fabric softener not much help.

Very helpful tips

gnomesinthegarden 02/05/2017

Thank you somethings I was definitely doing wrong,your guidelines were invaluable.

Wash loads

Sue 02/05/2017

When you have a large family it is easier to sort your washing, do so by fabric weight and colours. If you know fabrics are colour fast then you can mix the colours if the fabrics have the same washing instructions. It is best to keep denim weight jeans separate as they could damage more delicate fabrics and keep the black jeans away from the blues.

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