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 this troubleshooting guide.

Blitz those bobbles

Problem: soft fabrics go bobbly and look worn out

Solution: as a first step, remove existing bobbles or broken fibres by brushing, cutting or picking them off.

Prevention: 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.

Brighten your whites

Problem: your whites are coming out grey

Solution: try washing clothes again with Fairy Non Bio, a detergent that contains gentle bleaching agents to help maintain whiteness.

Prevention: be sure to use the right amount of quality detergent for the size and condition of your load. 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.

Extinguish dark stains

Problem: dark stains on white clothes, particularly around collars and shoulder areas

Solution: 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.

Prevention: 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.

Clear out the mildew

Problem: patches of small black spots on white clothes, sometimes tinged with red and green

Solution: 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.

Prevention: wash dirty, wet clothes as soon as possible rather than leaving them damp, and dry all laundry immediately after washing.

Stains are the pits

Problem: deodorant marks and underarm stains on light fabrics

Solution: 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.

Prevention: try changing your deodorant and soak or wash your clothes as soon as possible after wearing them.

Keep it smooth

Problem: creases that reappear even after ironing

Solution: 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.

Prevention: always follow the guidance on the fabric care label when washing your clothes.

Honey I shrunk the woollies

Problem: shrunk and felted woollens

Solution: 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!

Prevention: read the fabric-care label and always 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.

Show rubber-marks the door

Problem: grey-coloured marks with a rubbery feel (door gasket marks)

Solution: pre-treat the grey marks with a liquid detergent, then wash normally following the fabric care label.

Prevention: make sure that you don’t overload your washing machine.

Make smells heavenly

Problem: M.O. (machine odour)

Solution: put on a 'maintenance wash' 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.

Prevention: 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. Also, after using the washing machine, wipe around the door seal, and leave the door open.

What are your laundry tips to overcome pesky washing problems?

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