Washing clothes inside out

bry84April 3, 2007

I bet everyone tells me they've been doing this for years, but I thought I'd check.

Anyway, the difference this makes to their condition and longevity is really dramatic. My rough estimates, partly based on items like levi jeans that I have been buying regularly for years, are indicating that it increases the useful life of clothing by around three times.

Having to buy just 1/3rd of the clothing I otherwise would is going to save a lot of money.

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I don't see a difference in any of my clothes.... so I just wash them however they are when I pull them out of the hamper.

But I DO think having a front-loader helps....

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 6:53PM
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The only particular items I've understood need to be turned inside out are polyester fabrics (which I avoid) to help avoid pilling, and clothes with a nap, such as corduroy or washable velvet and valoures, which tend to pick up lint. Or a fabric type or emblishment that might snag. I do this for both washing and drying.

For the life of me, I don't see how most clothes would receive "less wear" by being inside out - as a general rule. Why would it matter which side receives the wear-and-tear. The side that is out will rub on other clothing, and the fabric inside will rub on itself no matter which side is in or out. Why would the inside out garment be more resilient?

In my books, the "life" of any garment depends on the fabric type and thread count, quality of the construction, fit, and the amount and type of wear it receives. Some fabrics are just more prone to wear, and it has little or nothing to do with which side is out during laundering.

Don't remember this being taught in textiles class at KSU. But I DO know that fabrics will wear faster in high-wear and stress areas - cuffs, collars, elbows, between the legs, seat - from friction, despite which side is out. Cloth will wear if worn regularly and NEVER washed - such as items that are dry cleaned.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 8:31PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I haven't done it much, other than a few dark things that I wanted to protect from pilling maybe, but will give it a test try with some new pairs of jeans...Some I will consistently wash inside out, and others without being turned inside out.

3) Turn Clothes Inside Out
Some of the wear and tear that happens on your clothing can be prevented by turning your clothing inside out before washing and drying. Washing and drying clothing is rough on the outside of your clothing. Turning garments inside out will reduce pilling which dulls the look of the fabric. Don't forget to turn clothing inside out when you hang clothes outside to dry. While the sun is an excellent and efficient drying tool, it will zap the color right out of your clothing.

The above is taken from About Housekeeping.

I have seen the sun fade jeans on the line, and would suppose the sun over time would weaken the threads as well.


Here is a link that might be useful: About:Housekeeping

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:55PM
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Interesting that you mention fading and line drying Chemocurl, because I dry all my clothing outside. Perhaps this is accounting for some of the difference.

Grainlady, I agree about the polyester/acrylic, it can develop dulling lumps at the surface. However, I like polyester because when washed right it is a very long lasting material. Doesn't fade or pick up other colours in the wash. I also find polyester jumpers repel water and dry very easily, which is extremely helpful in the winter.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:12AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Interesting that you mention fading and line drying Chemocurl, because I dry all my clothing outside. Perhaps this is accounting for some of the difference
LOL...when I hung jeans out, and the zipper was down, and the material on both sides of the zipper was folded down, I ended up with an unfaded dark "V" area starting at the bottom of the zipper. It really looked strange! When I finally figured out what was causing it, I started zipping the zipper up b4 hanging them out.

I wonder what the folks at the Cleaning Tips Forum might say about turning clothes inside out. I see the folks at the Laundry Room Forum pretty well just talk about appliances there.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:28PM
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I read in several places about turning jeans inside out to eliminate the bottom hems from folding over into a little cuff. I tried it years ago and didn't see much difference. Lately, it's made the difference. Don't know if it's different jeans or what, but it's working for me now so I do turn the jeans. I had given some thought to fading and wear but decided it was too much effort for too little benefit. I don't get that much damage in my washer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:15PM
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I do it because I have seen the difference. I wear dark leggins while cycling. One pair looked really faded in no time at all. The next pair I have worn for 2 years now, and it still looks almost new on the outside. This pair is always washed inside out.

Now I turn all my dark clothes inside out prior to washing.

I also zip all zippers, as they can get damaged, as well as damage other items during the wash cycle.

I have no idea about the dry cycle, as I almost always hang up my clothes to dry. Cheap, and easy on my utility bill.

I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle, gets the detergent out nice, and is so much cheaper than fabric softener.

The only thing that goes in the dryer (and even then, only after partial drying on the clothes line) is my towels and wash rags.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 11:59AM
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I've only noticed a significant difference when I do this to T-shirts with something printed on them. DH is really into the witty T-shirts, and unless we turn them inside-out in the wash they don't go too long before the screen-printing starts to crumble off. I've never heard of this for jeans, but since half of mine are fleece-lined that might be just inviting trouble! Interesting idea!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 9:18AM
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Jane D (ough?),

What would happen if you put your fleece-lined T-shirts into an old pair of pantyhose?

It would stop the water hitting the fleece in a wave and at such high speed while being agitated.

If they'd be too tightly packed in a single pair of pantyhose used intact, how about cutting down the legs and sewing to make a bag?

Or sewing two pair together?

That should reduce transfer of lint to other items in the wash, as well.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:45AM
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"Jane D (ough?)"
Ha! I bake a lot; I'll have to make that the official spelling. :)

I don't know if nylons would survive for very long if cut and sewed, but they do have those "delecates" mesh bags down at the dollar store. I wonder if that would work?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 11:36AM
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I use delicates bags for all my "special" socks (the handknit ones and the ones made of foofy fibers) and I have to say that they make all the difference in the world! My socks last years beyond what I would expect. The other thing, as mentioned above, is to air dry almost everything. I air dry all my socks and underwear and t-shirts, and my DH doesn't. Interestingly, his socks (the same brand and style and bought on the same day as mine) look horrible! Mine don't.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 7:29PM
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I once lived next door to a dry cleaner. The wife was very friendly. She told me, when washing jeans, turn them inside out and zip them up. Protects the seams and the zipper won't snag on the legs. I still do it, twenty years later. Anything else,I don't bother.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:33AM
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I always wash jeans turned inside out and zipped up. I do see a difference. I also use a mesh bag for my pantyhose and lingerie. I used to have a top loader washer, now I have a front loader and I think it's a lot better.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 7:20AM
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This would make a good topic for the Laundry forum. I don't recall ever seeing this one there. I only wash clothes inside out whenever the manufacturer says to do so.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:48AM
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I find that heat is a major wearer and tearer of clothes.. I do not dry a lot of my "good" clothes in the dryer.. I hang dry them on a rack.. with a fan blowing on them to cycle the air around them. A lot of my "good" clothes look wonderful after a year of washing... And I don't have a lot of "good" clothes, so they get washed a lot.. (I have 3 work outfits that I rotate...)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 3:24PM
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If i have so many costly clothes then i wash them easily otherwise i'l give for the drycline ...becoz cloth of costly suits is vey of high quality...:)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 2:19PM
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I turn tshirts inside out before they go in the washing machine if they have transfers or prints on the front to stop them getting damaged by buttons or zips.

I never buy clothes made from synthetic fibres such as polyester. They just don't age gracefully and they never feel as good as natural fibres. Plus, they don't rot so will still clog up landfills in years to come.

My clothes don't wear out fast because I dry them indoors on clothes horses and overhead airers instead of using a tumble dryer. That saves money as well.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I wash panty hose and knee highs in a mesh bag, but not my panties. I want them to move freely and be cleaner, I don't trust them to do that crammed in a sack.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 7:43PM
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My washer seems to have an automatic inside out cycle. But don't try to trick it by turning them before washing. It knows!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 6:11PM
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