Frequently Asked Laundry Questions

Two answers to this:

Our wash is best at 30/40 degrees so woolens are fine for the temperature. The biggest cause of damage to wool is heat, either through water temperature or through drying. You should never wash wool hot or tumble dry, as it causes the fibers to shrink.

There is no way to reverse this change.

The amino acid bonds present in wool will be affected if they are soaked in enzymes for long periods. However, normal woolen wash cycles, with a normal dose of detergent, aren’t going to cause any harm, and the outcome is a beautiful clean jumper, rather than smelling like a sheep.

Far worse damage is caused by heat and agitation from the washing machine drum.

Acrylic blends are a man-made alternative to wool. They wash and wear really well. They can cope with normal washing at 40 and higher spin speeds, so would wash fine with your jeans.

A cashmere or 100% wool jumper won’t survive a fast spin. If you’ve paid good money for a jumper that is at risk of damage, it will say hand wash only on the label. Hand wash cycle in the machine should be fine but please don’t ever risk a fast spin. Pure cashmere and wool are best washed on their own to prevent fibers shedding and collecting on other garments.

Yes – anything that would carry a hand wash garment label should be treated as above. And, anything that says delicate or dry-clean only!

We would never recommend this. I personally ruined a very expensive silk dress years ago – but bare in mind our formulas are used by specialist dry cleaners in their wet cleaning machines anyway, for a majority of soft furnishing laundering. By soft furnishings, we mean curtains and cushion covers, blankets, and bedspreads.  A tie, or blouse that says dry clean for example, would be fine washed using our formula on a cold hand wash setting, or even left to soak in the sink.

But, please do not tackle dry clean only garments at home as a rule of thumb! A specialist cleaner knows how long a fabric should be in contact with water and detergent, and bigger capacity machines make all the difference to whether fabric will have creasing issues.

Pre-wash is the compartment to the far right of the draw.

You may put extra powder in here if your washing is dirty. Particularly helpful for removing mud or spaghetti Bolognese stains.

Pre-soaking something badly stained overnight in a bowl with a small amount of our formula and lukewarm water before machine-washing as normal, will also achieve the same result. In fact, left overnight you may find the garment is so clean you decide to skip the machine wash afterward.

An optical brightener is a light reflector. These days they are used in a number of cosmetic and cleaning products. They are also used by laundry companies in detergent formulas, to help make whites appear brighter and whiter than they really are. However the uv dyes which typically have a blue tinge to them are also sadly responsible for causing a build up on fabric, and leaving worn and faded patches to coloured clothing.

Under strobe lighting, you’ll know if someone has washed a dark t-shirt wrongly. It will look as though it is covered in flecks of dandruff.

If you want a whiter than white look to shirts, t-shirts or white sports kits for example, then we would recommend adding a scoop of something like Vanish or Glo white, to your wash and doing a white only load.

With old tired whites, only a whitening agent or bleaching product will work to make the fabric appear whiter.

You would not believe how often we hear this – it’s the biggest complaint of laundry in relation to High-Efficiency front load washing machines.

The first culprit is indeed mold!

If you have previously used liquids or fabric softeners in the washing machine drawer, you may notice that residues of these products go black over time. Mold fixes itself to everything and spreads quickly. Even if you have only ever used powder, your machine will need some tender loving care in order to function properly and be mold free.

Take out your washing machine draw (every couple of months) and look inside – even the roof of the compartment. Is it black and horrid? If it is you need to give it all a good clean before doing the laundry.  Water flows through the draw compartment at every stage of the wash, to collect whatever product is there, before taking it down into the drum. (In case you have softener in there, it even does this at rinsing) So, if there is mold present, then no matter how good your detergent cleans your laundry, at that last rinsing stage you’ll be adding mold spores back onto your fabrics.

Meaning your washing will dry with just that faint odor to it – and spores will populate very fast if wet washing is left in the basket before drying.

If you are using Distinctive we want you to get the full benefit of our fragrance, without the taint of old fusty gunk that you’ve left in a machine that needs a good clean.

If you buy a new machine, we’d really advise you start off with powders and no softener in order to keep it as clean and maintenance free as possible. You will be amazed at the difference.


The second is mud!

If you wash muddy sports kit, you may need to wash it through twice. Follow the muddy kit wash with another hot wash. The slightest bit of mud has a bad effect on washing and tends to hold in stale smells. I’ll get a scientist to explain the tech behind this in a blog at some point. Read our blog about regular maintenance for your washing machine – it’s super easy to do.

Softeners are added to the wash cycle at the last rinse, so they really do help add even more fragrance to the wash.

However, softeners are essentially bulking agents so they add other stuff to your clothing fibers too, which washing and chemical experts don’t necessarily agree should be there. Plus, rather more alarmingly, the ingredients contained in all softeners are simply not good for the environment or for sensitive skin.  A combination of lipids (fats) preservatives and synthetic fragrances are just not doing the wastewater that goes out through the drains to the reservoirs any good.

Have you ever seen how quickly mould takes hold of your wastewater pipes, when a lot of hair and conditioner is stuck in the plughole? Well that’s a similar effect to the mouldy residues left from fabric softeners in your washing machine too.

Misconception – These days the enzymes used in laundry are very sophisticated, and whilst ensuring a superior wash to a non-bio, they also have superior rinsing qualities meaning there will be less of the residues left in the fabric. The protease enzyme is actually the one we produce ourselves in saliva. Moreover, it’s as gentle as saliva in the way the dirt is digested from clothing.

Manufactured enzymes (we aren’t providing a spit wash) are in fact grown in huge vats similar to the way wine is made.

Fragrances may cause an allergy – but so far, we haven’t come across anyone that has reacted to ours,  and it has been tested on people with severe eczema as an added fail-safe.

Our own experiences with allergies meant that we needed to find a formula and fragrances that were particularly suitable to sensitive skins, and I hope you’ll agree we’ve perfected our product when it comes to being allergy safe.

Okay, ironing really does take up a bit of time. We’d love to come up with a solution that really did work, to prevent you needing to iron, but we all know non-iron shirts tend to need a quick once over to look their best. Plus, there’s not much point in smelling lovely with Distinctive, to then look badly presented. For all your washing, hang from wet and then iron, its’ really the best routine to get into. If you use the drier, the same applies – give it a quick once over with the iron as soon as the drier finishes.

With the majority of bedding requiring low temperature washing these days, it’s also a great way of making sure that the bed sheets are sterile too. Hot ironing, making sure to get right up to the seams, will eliminate any bed bugs or dust mites.

Most of our trial panel said they preferred to dry the laundry around the house as it helped make the house smell nice too.

We hope we’ve answered the most common laundry questions you might ask us?

But if not please email  or connect with Distinctivewash on any of the social channels.