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Do you have a washing machine?

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Dear Washing Machine: Do You Want to Destroy My Sweater?

Sure, warm weather has its perks (hooray for flip flops!), but cold weather has something awesome in its favor, too: cozy sweaters. Unfortunately, your favorite woolen-wonders are delicate creatures, and can easily come undone. Literally. If you’ve noticed that your sweaters are coming out of the laundry looking a little ragged, your washing machine may be to blame. Fix these common mishaps with a little washing machine maintenance before your sweaters are destroyed!

Holes and loose threads. These classic sweater casualties are usually caused by a rough spot along your washer tub wall.  Grab a flashlight and wrap some old pantyhose around your hand. Carefully run your hand along your washer drum (where you load your clothes) to check for any rough areas. If your pantyhose snags, you’ve found a problem! To fix this, simply smooth out the rough spot with sandpaper. If you don’t find any rough spots inside your washer, other items in the laundry cycle may be attacking your beloved sweaters! To keep the peace, avoid washing your sweaters with any items that have zippers or large snaps.

Tangles. If your sweater sleeves are coming out in knots, you may be overloading your washer. Split the amount of laundry you’re washing in half, and select a cycle with a more gentle wash option. If you’re trying to conserve quarters, remember: your clothes won’t be cleaned in an overloaded washer, so overstuffing isn’t a great way to save money on laundry (but these seven tips are)!

Detergent Stains. Laundry detergent cleans your clothes and removes stains. Fact. The problem is, sometimes detergent is the stain culprit! If you’re pulling your clothes out of the wash and noticing blue or greasy blotches, it’s probably time to clean your detergent dispenser. To do this, heat one cup of white vinegar in the microwave and pour it into the dispenser. Let it sit for about ten minutes and then run your machine on a normal cycle. Tip: If you have a top-load washing machine, be sure to pour in your detergent before you load in your clothes to avoid detergent stains!

Rust Stains. Are brown flecks mysteriously incorporating themselves into the pattern of your clean clothes? Sounds like rust stains! Use a flashlight to inspect your washer drum. Look for areas that may have exposed metal (these areas are prone to corrosion). If the rust is visible inside the machine, dump two cups of lemon juice into your washing machine and run a wash cycle on the hottest setting. If this doesn’t get rid of the problem, it may be time to purchase a new washer!

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