Porthole open, dirty laundry in, detergent added, machine on: It sounds easy, but small mistakes can not only damage your wallet, but also damage the laundry.

Washing is not difficult – if you sort the textiles by color and type of material, choose the right program and use the right detergent . The following applies: Much does not make the clothes cleaner and harms both your wallet and the environment.

Low temperatures are sufficient for washing

Today’s detergents can already remove stains from laundry at 30 to 40 degrees. The pieces are hygienically clean even at these temperatures. For normal dirty laundry, lower temperatures are completely sufficient. The advantage: You save electricity. A machine with a 30 degree wash uses only a fifth of the energy of a 60 degree load. However, there is one exception: if there is an illness circulating in the household, it makes sense to wash the laundry at high temperatures to kill germs.

Many consumers tend to use too much detergent because they think it makes their clothes cleaner. But in the worst case you are endangering your health . The reason: Residues collect in the drawer for the detergent that are not completely washed in by the water.

Over time, mold spores form, which get into the laundry and can lead to reddening of the skin or even allergies. You should therefore clean the drawer about every two months, for example with a dish brush.

Special detergents are expensive and superfluous

With the abundance of different detergents, it can be easy to lose track. There are the following types:

  • Universal detergent (heavy duty detergent)
  • Detergent for delicates
  • Color detergent (color detergent)
  • Wool detergent
  • Black detergent
  • White detergent

You can read about which detergent is right for which laundry in our detergent guide . In principle, only three detergents are required . Avoid fabric softeners altogether , as they are harmful to both your health and the environment.

To make your laundry really soft, you can put a teaspoon of vinegar in the fabric softener compartment during the wash cycle. Shake the textiles well before hanging them on the clothesline to dry.

By the way: Detergent for black clothes is often superfluous. As a result, the color did not last longer than when washing with mild detergent.

Eco detergent from nature

If you want to wash without detergent, soap nuts can be an alternative. The peel of this fruit of the soapnut tree contains the fat and dirt-dissolving saponin, which also kills germs. Environmentally conscious people also say that horse chestnuts or even ivy have good washing results.

The correct dosage of detergent

Every detergent has to be dosed differently. The information on this is on the packaging. But what is always the same: The optimal dosage of each product relates to a specific amount of laundry. With a heavy-duty and color detergent, this is 4.5 kilograms of textiles, with a delicate detergent, on the other hand, only 2.5 kilograms. If you put more or less laundry in the drum, the amount of detergent must be adjusted accordingly.

Sort laundry according to how dirty it is

The manufacturer’s dosing recommendations also provide for several degrees of contamination:

  • Slightly soiled: This includes, for example, outer clothing that has been worn for a short time without stains.
  • Normally soiled : This category includes underwear that has been worn once, lightly stained outerwear that has been worn several times, as well as towels and bed linen.
  • Heavily soiled: In addition to particularly dirty textiles, this also includes dish and kitchen towels and baby bibs as well as children’s and sportswear.

Load the washing machine correctly

If you overload the laundry drum, you risk washing in vain. If the laundry is literally squeezed in, the items to be washed will not move properly and cannot be washed properly. Then it may be that the relationship between temperature, amount of water and surfactants – stain removers from the detergent – is not correct. The laundry does not get really clean with a full load. The rule of thumb is: your hand should still have space vertically between the dirty laundry and the top of the drum.


If you put vinegar in the machine, the wash cycle should not exceed 40 degrees. The acid reacts strongly with higher temperatures.

So that the machine doesn’t stink

To prevent a musty smell in the machine and kill harmful bacteria and viruses, you should run a 60-degree wash cycle once a month. it is sufficient if you clean hand and tea towels at the appropriate temperature.

Observe manufacturer’s instructions

The expert advises to follow the information provided by the machine and detergent manufacturers when dosing. On the packaging or in the description of the machine there is usually an overview of which amount is sufficient for which dirt.

The myth of “descaler”

Another source of error: Fearing limescale damage, consumers put a lot of softeners and decalcifiers into their laundry. According to the expert, this is unnecessary. In addition to surfactants and bleaching agents, detergents nowadays contain softeners anyway. Manufacturers often hide this.

Prevent snagging

Sheets or bedclothes can quickly get caught up in each other during washing. Smaller items of laundry can also get caught in it. This puts a strain on both the drum and the textiles. To prevent this, you can knot large items of laundry together beforehand. This at least prevents smaller items of laundry from getting caught in it and large lumps of textile from forming, some of which then do not get clean.