6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Rookie’s guide to laundry

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(ABC 6 News) – The internet is full of laundry hacks, but like a lot of stuff online, some of those supposed tips and tricks are clickbait.

Even worse, some of their “helpful advice” might even harm your clothes or washer and dryer!

Consumer Reports’ trusted advice will never do that – its laundry expert reveals tested tips to live by – whether you’re a seasoned pro or a rookie.

For Consumer Reports’ Rich Handel laundry isn’t just his job, it’s a way of life!

“I am the person that does the laundry at home. My general advice — always check your washer’s manual and look at the care labels on your clothes,” says Handel.

After that, Handel says remember this one don’t! Never use anything other than a dedicated laundry detergent in your washing machine. That goes for vinegar, liquid soap and dish detergent.

Vinegar can damage the rubber seals and hoses in some washing machines. And dish soap, “you’ll just end up with a huge sudsy mess in your machine,” says Handel.

Instead, follow these simple tips to keep your clothes and your washer in shape!

Always add the correct amount of detergent. That’s about 1.5 ounces or three tablespoons.

Too much can leave a residue on your clothes and in your machine which can actually reduce its cleaning capabilities.

Plus, always separate your lights from darks! “You always wash your whites together but if you have a white item that’s stained, do that separately, pre-clean it,” advises Handel.

Also, keep heavy fabrics separate from lightweight fabrics. You don’t want your jeans beating up your delicates.

Always pre-treat stains. Handel says, “Whenever you’re dealing with a stain, pre-treat it, put it in the wash. Check it when it comes out of the wash. Make sure you remove all of the stain because if you put it in the dryer, it will set that stain, making it very difficult to remove.”

Another tip, you can also use your laundry detergent as a stain pre-treatment.

In CR’s tests the top liquid detergents, Tide Ultra Plus Stain Release and Persil Pro Clean Stain Fighter, both earned excellent scores for pre-treating stains.

And one last tip, save money and skip the fabric softener! It can leave a layer of residue on your clothes, irritate sensitive skin and reduce the absorption of your towels.

And while you’re at it, think twice about using bleach, says CR. It’s a harsh chemical that can break down your fabrics over time.

For whites, consider an oxidizing detergent instead.