STYLE

The Straight Man's Guide To Washing His Girlfriend's Clothes

Women, show this to the men in your lives.

30/07/2016 5:03 AM AEST | Updated 31/07/2016 2:02 PM AEST
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A 2014 survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us women spend twice as much time as men caring for and helping household members every day. Fellas. You need to pitch in around the house.

And since the average person is likely to spend 23,214 hours over the course of their lifetime doing laundry, this is an area you should definitely master.

Men: Let’s say your girlfriend leaves a bra over at your place. Would you know how to wash it? How about her swimsuit? You shouldn’t just throw these in with your jeans and send them through the dryer. There are special things you need to know when it comes to washing a woman’s clothes.

Here is your guide:

  • Read The Label
    Alan Marsh via Getty Images
    It might seem obvious, but everything you need to know about the care of any specific piece of clothing is right there on the laundry tag. For example, "dry clean only" means don't put in the washing machine.

    That said, if the tag has been cut off, read on.
  • Bras
    Karin Smeds via Getty Images
    If you wash a bra like you'd wash your socks, you are definitely doing it wrong. It can ruin the bra, which has elastic straps that can get tangled and stretched out and never fit her the right way again.

    Make sure all the clasps and straps are closed, and wash it delicately in cold water -- hand washing is preferred, but since we live in a busy time, you can wash them in a machine as long as you have a mesh bag, which will isolate the bra and keep it from tangling with and hooking onto the other items. Make sure you use the "hand wash" or delicate cycle.

    To dry bras, separate them from the stuff you're putting into the dryer, and hang them up to dry.
  • Lingerie
    Fuse via Getty Images
    Like bras, lingerie and other delicates (bustiers, bodices and teddies) need to be kept separate from the rest of the laundry in a mesh (or lingerie) bag, and washed in cold water by hand or using hand washing cycle. When drying, lay the pieces flat (to prevent the straps from stretching) on, say, an ironing board covered with a towel, which will help absorb the water.
  • Swimsuits
    Tetra Images via Getty Images
    A swimsuit should be washed after every wearing, regardless of whether you went to the ocean or the pool, and hand washing them in cool water is the best option

    “Using a mild soap with cool water is the best option for cleaning your suit,” Kate Wilton, the senior director of merchandising and design at Speedo, told HuffPost. "But shampoo in the shower is an excellent back-up option if you’re in a hurry."
  • Dark Skinny Jeans
    Michael Betts via Getty Images
    Mixing your colors isn't the biggest factor that makes dark colors fade -- it's the drying process. So wash her darks inside-out in cold water, and skip the dryer. “Air-drying is the secret to keeping clothing looking like new,” says Lindsey Boyd, co-founder of The Laundress.
  • Beaded Fabrics
    OlafSpeier via Getty Images
    Shirts or pants with details such as beads or sequins should be washed inside out, because these things might get caught in the other items, unspooling thread or stretching things out. To be extra careful, wash them by hand and let them air-dry (a hot dryer can melt those beads).
  • Yoga Pants
    Peathegee Inc via Getty Images
    Because we sweat in our gym clothes (even when doing yoga, which might be a less sweaty activity, as far as workouts go), these might accumulate more bacteria -- and yeast, natural oils and dead skin -- that tend to make your clothes smell bad. 

    So wash these inside-out in cold water, with less detergent (because using too much will sometimes result in detergent residue hanging around) and add a compound that is known for eliminating odor, such as white vinegar, Racked recommends. Half to a full cup of that in the rinse cycle is all you need. Don't use fabric softeners on them, and let them air dry, as the heat from a dryer will make it harder for you to remove any remaining smell.
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