12 laundry mistakes you're probably making

Story highlights

  • Treat a stain as soon as you can, and dab rather than rub the area
  • In a top-loader washer, put in clothes, then water, then soap
  • Most items that say "dry-clean" can be hand-washed and air-dried
  • Running back-to-back dryer loads is more efficient than waiting

(<a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/laundry/top-laundry-mistakes" target="_blank">RealSimple.com</a>)Are you using too much detergent? Overloading the washer? Overdoing the bleach? Find out the answers to these questions and more, and pick up some smart laundry tips in the bargain.

Mistake 1: Rubbing stains furiously
This can make the stain worse and possibly wear away the fabric. Instead, be gentle and methodical. Treat the stain as soon as you can; the less time that elapses, the more success you'll have. And always use a white cloth so that colors can't transfer. Dab, rather than rub, working from the outside in to keep the stain contained.