I've ruined a lot of great clothes in my life and most of them could have been saved had I known a few handy laundry facts before I embarked upon my trial-and-error method of clothing care. Official warning: don't make my mistakes! Don't do this stuff anymore.
Mistake 1: Not blotting
While trying to remove some pink ink from my jeans recently, I applied my stain remover and rubbed at the stain with a cloth which only spread the pink blotch around, grinding it into the fabric and covering an even larger area than the original problem. What I should have done was blot the stain to transfer the ink from my jeans onto a rag. Now I know and you know, too.
Mistake 2: Dry cleaning silk that says "hand wash"
I didn't think twice when I recently dropped off a dress at my dry cleaner; luckily he saved me some grief by noticing that my silk dress's tag said "hand wash." According to him, most silk that says "dry clean" can (sometimes, wash at your own risk) be hand washed at home but the opposite is NOT TRUE. Silk that specifically tells you to hand wash has been specially treated and dry cleaning will actually ruin it. Let it be a lesson to always check your labels!
Mistake 3: Linen in the dryer
This one is more about paying attention (always important on laundry day). If you plan to put a linen tee in the dryer "just for a minute to get the wrinkles out," maybe set a timer so you don't wind up with a whole wardrobe of doll-sized summer shirts. D'oh! Lesson learned.
Mistake 4: Using OxiClean on wool or silk
I regularly cheat on my dry cleaner and hand wash my wool sweaters at home but I learned the hard way that stains on wool or silk are best left to the professionals. Oxiclean is my favorite stain-lifter for plant-based fabrics like cotton and linen but on protein-based fabrics like silk and wool it's a big no no. As in, surprise! Your silk is disintegrating. No bueno.
Your turn to spill. C'mon, share your biggest laundry day flubs with us.