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Why You Should Turn Clothes Inside Out When Washing

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The outside of clothes is the side that gets presented, and most people like to keep it looking new for a longer time. Many people consider washing clothes inside out a myth, but it has several advantages. All of its benefits could help to prolong the life of your clothes. 

You should turn clothes inside out when washing to prevent fading or odor retention. You want to preserve any clothing embellishments and printing and prevent pilling on the outside. This also makes it easy to clean stains.

In the rest of the article, I’ll give an in-depth explanation of the advantages of washing clothes inside out. I’ll also explain why washing machines turn clothes inside out.

Advantages of Washing Clothes Inside Out

When you wash your clothes inside out, you’re keeping them looking as new as the day you bought them, as long as you want them to stay that way. Fading and piling are just two of the things that make clothes look old, but turning your clothes inside out can keep this from happening.

Let’s take a closer look at these benefits. 

It Reduces Fading on the Outside

Some clothes such as dark-colored jeans and dark t-shirts are prone to fading during washing. 

After fading, such clothes usually end up looking dull-colored and old, making you want to abandon them. Washing such garments inside out will reduce fading on the outer side and maintain their rich colors for a longer time.

Washing clothes inside out reduces fading on the outer side since it faces less friction. 

Another example of clothing that’s prone to fading is denim. Washing them inside out helps keep your denim clothes newer and rich in color for a longer time. This method works because denim is made up of blue and white threads intercrossing each other. 

The blue yarns, usually colored using indigo which fades quickly, are more exposed on the outside, while the white ones are more exposed on the inside.

Therefore, when you wash denim from the inside, the white threads are the ones that experience the most friction while the colored ones are less exposed, which reduces color loss and makes the denim look newer for longer. 

By extension, by increasing the wearability of your best jeans, you’ll be saving a lot of money that you could’ve used to buy some replacements. 

Helps To Maintain Printed Designs

Some clothes, such as jerseys, have designs printed on their outer surface. Washing them from the right side causes a lot of friction and agitation on the printings, making them break down and develop cracks.

Some designs even start to fade over time. However, washing such clothes inside out could help solve the problem and preserve the printings for a longer time.  The outside experiences less friction, preventing the printings from cracking.

It Prevents Odor Retention

Workout clothes and clothes with a musty smell caused by dampness and mildew commonly retain the odors after washing. Washing inside out ensures that the smelly areas are in direct contact with the detergents and therefore get cleaned better. 

It Helps To Prevent Pilling on the Outside

Pilling is a process that describes the formation of small balls on the outside of clothes. Clothes prone to pilling after being washed are usually the ones with high percentages of polyester and wool. 

Most people have found that washing clothes with a high polyester percentage and woolen sweaters inside-out keeps them from piling outside and experiencing a lot of wear. Instead, in such cases, pilling occurs on the inside where it wouldn’t be visible.

Preserves Embellishments and Buttons

Washing clothes with embellishments such as sequins and beads inside out helps lessen the agitation on them, therefore preventing the beads and sequins from coming out and getting stuck on other clothes. It also keeps clothes’ buttons and rivets from exposure to a lot of frictional force that could disjoin them.

Stains and Odor are Less Likely To Form

The washing machine can miss stains such as sweat and deodorant patches. 

In some cases, people take their clothes out of the washing machine and find that they still have spots or have to wait longer for the washing machine to clean the stains. 

When you turn your clothes inside out before washing them, the stains are more exposed to the detergent, and there’s a larger surface area of action for the deodorant particles. Therefore, the marks get removed more efficiently and in a shorter time, and you create a wider area of exposure of the sweat stains on your garments to detergents so that they can get rid of them.

Some clothes lose their color during the washing process and might bleed on other clothes that are being washed with them. For this reason, turning the clothes will ensure that if any stains form, they’ll be inside, and the clothes will remain wearable. 

Why Do Washing Machines Turn Clothes Inside Out?

Washing machines turn clothes inside out because of forces created by the action of the agitator and the swirling water. The agitator is rotated by the torque from the washing machine’s motor and it causes the water in contact with it to swirl. 

The Agitator Grabs the Clothing

The main functioning parts of a washing machine are a motor and an agitator. The agitator is the part that rotates to clean the clothes, while the machine’s motor provides the necessary force to offer rotatory movements. 

As the agitator rotates, it grabs on the clothes and turns them inside out. It is essential for the agitator to turn the clothes inside out because it rubs on clothes to remove dirt and stains, causing friction. 

This friction can cause pilling and wear and tear on clothes when the washing machine is used frequently for a long time. Therefore, the washing machine turns the clothes inside-out. 

So even if you forget to turn your clothes inside out before washing them, the washing machine will do it for you. And any pilling or wear occurs on the inside of the clothes. Piling inside instead of outside would enable clothes to continue looking presentable.

Swirling Water Automatically Turns the Clothes Inside Out

Since the torque from the motor turns the agitator to clean the clothes, the agitator causes the water that comes into contact with it to swirl, which then turns the clothes inside out. 

The action of the swirling water to turn the clothes inside out is crucial because some fabrics like wool and cotton are notorious for causing the development of lint, which is a collection of cloth fibers that can be hard to get rid of, usually found on clothes after doing laundry.

When the washing machine turns clothes inside out, it’s less likely that the lint will get stuck on the outside of the clothes, saving you the effort you would’ve used to pluck the lint out of the clothes’ external surface. 

I wrote a detailed guide on if you should dry your clothes inside-out that may interest you to read next.


In conclusion, washing clothes inside out has many advantages, including: 

  • Reducing fading and piling on the outside.
  • Maintaining printings.
  • Helping to clear odors from clothes.
  • Preserving embellishments and buttons.
  • Making the process of getting rid of stains easier.
  • Preventing staining with color on the outside of the clothes.


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