Having a good laundry routine is the key to maintaining bright whites and clothes that remain smelling effortlessly fresh after more than one wear.

But if you have found your t-shirts turning dull, your favourite trousers constantly shrinking or a musty smell you can’t seem to shake, you’re not alone.

Which? has explained some easy mistakes people make when it comes to doing their laundry in the washing machine.

Let’s take a look at how you can get the most out of your next wash load.

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5 easy laundry mistakes to avoid when using your washing machine

Are you using the same detergent for whites as well as darks?

“It's best to use washing powder for white washes, and liquid detergent (whether liquids, gels or capsules) for darks and bright colours,” explains Which?

“This is because most washing powders contain bleaching agents. This is an excellent way of keeping your white clothes bright, but it could also make your dark clothes fade with repeat washing.”

It’s also suggested that liquid detergents don't use the same bleaching agents, which means it will keep your coloured clothes more vibrant.

Have you been over or under-washing?

Although personal hygiene is an important everyday step, there are some items of clothes that don’t need to be washed after one wear but ultimately it’s up to you to do the sniff test.

You might be surprised how often you should be washing your jeans.

Which? recommends the following washing guidelines which could save you money on your electricity bill by using the washing machine less and could keep your clothes in their best condition:

  • Underwear: 1 wear
  • Bra: 2-3 wears
  • T-shirt: 1-2 wears
  • Whites: 1-2 wears
  • Jeans: 6-10 wears
  • Sweatshirt: 5-6 wears
  • Dress: 1-3 wears
  • Skirt: 5-7 wears

Don’t wash everything at the same temperature

The Northern Echo: What's your laundry routine?What's your laundry routine? (Image: Canva)

Which? said most of its members clean their clothes on a 40°C cycle, but it’s important to adjust the temperature based on the clothes you are washing.

“For lightly soiled clothes, a 30°C or even 20°C wash could do the trick. A Which? investigation into laundry habits found that a 30°C wash uses 38% less energy than a 40°C one. A 20°C wash will cut it down by 62%.

“For bedding, towels, and clothes with lots of tough stains, you'll probably want a hotter cycle.”

There’s no need to put up with a smelly washing machine

Cleaning your washing machine to stop the build-up of mould isn’t the nicest household job and it can be difficult to avoid.

To get rid of the mould and to save your clothes from the musty smell, Which? says: “Run a regular, hot service wash every few months (ideally with washing machine cleaner). Then gently clean the rubber seal with an anti-bacterial wipe.

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“You'll also want to wash the detergent drawer (in most cases you can completely remove it to wash it in the sink), and clean out the lint filter behind the latch just beneath the washing machine door.”

Laundry enthusiasts should also make sure they are leaving their washing machine door and drawer open after every wash to let the humidity escape.

Make sure you’re not throwing everything into the tumble dryer

It can be tempting to throw all your freshly washed clothes into a tumble dryer, especially when the weather isn’t great and you want to get a week's worth of washing done and dusted in a hurry.

However, if you are going to use it, make sure you separate cottons from synthetics as they dry at different speeds.

One safety tip you must remember is to regularly clean the lint filter and heat exchanger to “ensure your tumble dryer is working as efficiently as possible.”

Which? says you shouldn’t dry the following clothes in a tumble dryer:

  • Bras: the heat could bend them out of shape.
  • Jeans: they can shrink in hot temperatures.
  • Swimming costumes: the Lycra in them can distort and break.
  • Tights: the delicate material can tear.
  • Embellished clothes: sequins could put tiny rips into other clothes, and stones or beads can melt.
  • Shoes and trainers: the glue that attaches the sole to the rest of the shoe will melt in high temperatures

When drying clothes inside, ensure this is done in a well-ventilated room to avoid mould growth.

More laundry washing tips and advice such as common washing machine problems and how to fix them can be found on the Which? website.