Troubleshooting your common laundry issues

It’s rare to find someone who hasn’t experienced a laundry mishap. Problems such as fading and staining can happen all the time but it’s frustrating when they cause damage to your fabrics. But don’t panic, WASHPOINT is here to help!

Take a look through our list of common laundry issues; we share their causes and how you can prevent them from happening to help make your fabrics last longer.

Colour fading

Colour fading can be caused by a variety of issues, including:

  • Exposure to direct sunlight
  • Incorrect use of bleach in stain removal or laundering
  • Washing or ironing at too high a temperature
  • Localised abrasion at a high wear point
  • Hair products, household cleaners, garden chemicals, perfume or deodorant stains (all can produce localised fading that may look worse after washing)

While colour fading over time is virtually inevitable, you can prevent it from happening when items are still relatively new. Always remember to read the fabric care labels before washing!


Clothes are made from different types of stretched-out fibres that will all act differently during washing and drying cycles. Natural fibres (wool, cotton) are made up of looser weaves than most man-made fibres (polyester, nylon) and are more prone to tightening up or shrinking when exposed to water, heat and agitation.

To help prevent the risk of shrinking, you should:

  • Read the fabric care label to find out how to correctly launder an item
  • Sort laundry according to washing temperatures (try to stick to cold/warm temperatures where possible)
  • Choose the right washing and drying cycles according to your fabric type

Holes or tears

If you find a mysterious hole or tear in your clothing but don’t remember snagging the item, chances are it might have been caused by:

  • Bleaches in household cleaning fluids, disinfectants or hair dye treatments
  • Spark damage from cigarette ash or open fires
  • Abrasion damage from kitchen tools, sharp corners or floor dragging
  • Overloading your machine (can cause fabrics to get hooked on zippers, decorations or buttons on other items)

To help prevent holes or tears when washing and drying, make sure to sort through your items beforehand. For example, try not to wash any delicates with heavy clothing that have zippers or embellishments as they can easily snag and cause damage.

Dye bleeding

Dye bleeding is a headache; one rogue red sock is enough to turn all your whites, pink. Fortunately, it’s usually simple to remove the offending dye if you take quick action by rewashing the affected clothes using an oxygen bleach in addition to your regular detergent – just make sure to find the dye bleeding culprit first!

To prevent it in future, try to sort and wash all new clothes with similar colours several times in cold water. It often takes several washes for unstable dyes to wash out.


While stains are usually visible before washing, odours can become embedded in fibres and stick around for longer. Causes can be:

  • Perfumes (Solution: Mix baking soda and cold water, soak and wash normally)
  • Sweat (Solution: Mix white distilled vinegar and water and scrub using a soft-bristled brush in case of deodorant build up. Soak item in the same solution and wash normally)
  • Food or cooking (Solution: Wash at the highest temperature recommended on the care label with laundry detergent)

Bobbling or pilling

Everyone can relate to putting on a favourite piece of clothing only to find it’s covered in seemingly impossible-to-remove bobbles. They are caused by friction, which forces fibres on the clothes’ surface to rub together. That is why the areas worst hit are often the ones that receive the most abrasion in day-to-day wear, like the underarm area and down the sides of jumpers and cardigans.

There are a couple of steps to take to help prevent bobbling or pilling:

  • Separate items by fabric type to prevent abrasion and lint transfer
  • Wash inside out – even if bobbling does occur, it’ll be invisible to others!
  • Don’t overload your washing machine to prevent the rate of abrasion
  • Check the fabric care label to identify which setting/temperature to use
  • Use a fabric softener
Confused Man