CNA Lifestyle asks the experts for tips on how to avoid laundry disasters like fading, tearing and shrinking clothes in the washer.

It’s every fashionista’s ultimate nightmare – the dreadful home laundry mishap.

Discovering a big hole in your brand new top right after its first ever wash; turning a load of fresh whites 50 shades of grey; or simply finding your favourite wool-knit sweater shrunken down to doll-size in the washing machine – these are just some of the standard laundry disasters we all want to avoid.


Which is why it pays to take a minute to carefully read the laundry symbols and understand your washer’s functions. For those who cannot afford to dry-clean everything in your wardrobe, here are some common questions answered for laundry day.

  • Most of my athleisure wear has the laundry care symbol that says wash at or below 40 degree Celsius. How is that effective enough?

Washer technology has improved, so you don’t need hot water to wash out all the blood, sweat and tears from your workout. In fact, using cold water to do your laundry can reduce your electricity bill as heating water up accounts for 90 per cent of the energy used to run your washer.


Laundry detergents have also caught up with times and are mostly formulated with enzymes that can remove dirt and stains at lower water temperatures, according to tests done by Consumer Reports, an independent, non-profit organisation that tests consumer products in the US.

Another reason to minimise using hot water: Shrinkage. Most sportswear is made with fabric that is spun from synthetic fibre, which hold up better against shrinkage. But if your workout T-shirt or socks are made of natural fibres, such as cotton or wool, they may turn out a few sizes smaller.

  • The laundry care symbol says to wash at 30 degrees Celsius. But my washer’s settings only come in 40 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius. What should I do?

Typically, a 10-degree increase in temperature would not make much of a difference, said Ho Semun, chief executive officer of Textile and Fashion Federation Singapore (Taff). According to Ho, what is more important to note on the laundry care label are the instructions like “Machine washable” and “Wash with warm water”.