9 laundry problems and how you can avoid them

Nobbled by bobbles? Going prematurely grey? Hope shrinking fast, along with your delicates? Spring-clean your laundry once and for all with our troubleshooting guide.

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Q: How do I get rid of bobbles? My knitwear and other soft fabrics get bobbly in the wash and look worn out.

A: As a first step, remove existing bobbles or broken fibres by brushing, cutting or picking them off. A great home laundry tip is to use a razor to quickly shave bobbles off your clothing.
To avoid further bobbles and breakage, wash your clothes in a detergent that contains a softening agent to help protect clothes and improve their appearance, such as Fairy Non Bio.

Q: How can I brighten my whites? They’re fine at first, but after couple of washes later, my whites are coming out grey.

A: Try washing clothes again with Fairy Non Bio, a detergent that contains gentle bleaching agents to help maintain whiteness. Always be sure to use the right amount of quality detergent for the size and condition of your load.
One of the most important laundry tips to remember is to wash heavily soiled garments at the highest temperature on the care label, and mixed loads at the lowest recommended for any of the garments. And don’t over-fill your machine, as it won’t be able to do its best job.

Q: My whites sometimes get dark stains on them, which are hard to get out. They mainly happen around collars and shoulder areas.

A: Soak white clothes overnight in a chlorine-free bleach such as peroxide (other colours may be damaged by bleach). Make sure no part of the garment is allowed to dry, then rinse and wash as normal following the fabric care label.
Lots of hair products can react with detergents during the wash, so taking your top off or covering your shoulders with an old towel when you apply them may solve the problem.

Q: I’ve noticed patches of small black spots on white clothes, sometimes tinged with red and green. I think this is mildew – do you have any home laundry tips to get rid of it?

A: Soak white fabrics in a chlorine-free bleach such as peroxide for two hours (other colours may be damaged by bleach) and then wash as normal following the fabric care label. To prevent mildew in the future, wash dirty, wet clothes as soon as possible rather than leaving them damp, and make sure to dry all laundry immediately after washing.

Q: Stains are the absolute pits! How can I get rid of deodorant marks and underarm stains on light fabrics?

Soak whites overnight in a chlorine-free bleach such as peroxide. Make sure no part of the garment is allowed to dry, then rinse and wash as normal following the fabric care label. There are some deodorants that won’t leave white marks, so if the problem persists then you could try changing your deodorant. Otherwise, try soak or wash your clothes as soon as possible after wearing them.

Q: Even after I’ve ironed my clothes, I notices that sometimes crease can reappear. It drives me mad! Is there anything I can do to stop this happening?

A: Sadly there’s no way to reverse this kind of damage to synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylics, although ironing after every wash may minimise the appearance of creases. Always follow the guidance on the fabric care label when washing your clothes, as this should minimise the chances of this happening.

Q: Honey I shrunk the woollies! I’m wary of washing woollens in the machine, as they have a tendency to shrink, or become felted. Can you give me any home laundry tips to make sure that this won’t happen?

A: Unfortunately, once this has happened to a garment it’s too late to repair the damage – maybe you can go with it as a style statement! Always read the fabric-care label carefully, and wash woollens at the correct temperature and on the correct cycle. Stretch woollens after washing and dry them flat to help them keep their original size and shape.

Q: After taking my clean laundry load out of the machine, I’ve sometimes noticed some grey coloured marks with a rubbery feel on my clothes. How can I get rid of them?

A: These are door gasket marks from the washing machine door seal. Pre-treat the grey marks with a liquid detergent, then wash normally following the fabric care label. To avoid this happening in the future, make sure that you don’t overload your washing machine.

Q: Help! My laundry smells! I think the problem is that my washing machine itself smells. Can you give me some home laundry tips to get rid of laundry smells, and stop this happening in the future?

A: A great home laundry tip is to put on a 'maintenance wash'. This is when you run your washing machine at 60°C with no load and a heavy-duty detergent containing bleach. You may need to do this more than once to fix the problem.
To avoid laundry smells coming back, always use the recommended amount of detergent, taking into account the dirtiness of your clothes, the water hardness and the load size. If you often use colour or liquid detergents, or usually wash at low temperatures, it can also help to make a maintenance-wash a monthly affair. Make sure that after each time you use the washing machine, you wipe around the door seal, and leave the door open.

What are your laundry tips to overcome pesky washing problems?
Let us know in the comments below.