Laundry is a fact of life and most people can’t stand doing it. I’d like to share with you 12 simple laundry hacks that will save you time, leaving you with cleaner laundry and a more efficient washing machine!
If you’re air drying a garment or if you have a garment that can’t go into the dryer, you’ll want to get as much water out of it before you hang dry. Now some people talk about putting clothing into salad spinners, which might work, but will be very rough on your garments.
My favorite way to wring out the water is called the towel roll. What you do is lay the towel flat, put the garment in the middle, and roll it up like a little burrito. I like to hold it at each end and make a little snake, twisting and turning the garment in the towel, then giving it a couple of pats. When you unroll the towel you’ll notice that the garment will come out much dryer. It will obviously still need to air dry, but the moisture won’t have to actually drip out of the fabric onto the floor. You’ve already done that by rolling it up in the towel!
Miracle Stain Remover
Stains happen all the time and you’ve got to catch them quickly otherwise they get embedded into the fabric. My favorite, and most reliable, homemade remedy consists of two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dish soap. The key to this recipe is that you have to make it on-demand, right when you need it. Hydrogen peroxide becomes unstable as it gets poured out of its brown bottle so it’s best to use it on demand. If you’re interested in more home-made cleaning products check out our DIY all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant.
If you don’t want to make your own, you can always have a store-bought product on hand. I have a couple that I go to, like OxiClean and Puracy, both of which offer ready-made sprays. OxiClean happens to be an oxygen-based, bleach product and Puracy is an enzyme cleaner-based product. Both work great! The point is, that you’ve got to treat your stain as soon as possible so that you have a better chance of getting rid of it.
Based on all my research, I have found that people really don’t like having to iron. The thing is, it’s best to eliminate the problem at the source and those pesky wrinkles begin in your wash cycle.
As soon as your garment stops spinning around, the second the song goes off on your machine, pull the garments out and put them directly into the dryer or hang them to dry. As soon as they start sitting wet, the weight of the fabric and the moisture combine to form ugly wrinkles in your clothing. The quicker you can get to them, the fewer wrinkles you’re going to have to worry about it.
Now wrinkles also depend on the type of fabric you are washing. If you are working with a sweat suit, for example, you probably won’t have to worry too much about wrinkles, but if you happen to be washing a cotton shirt, you might want to shake or snap the shirt several times before placing it in the dryer or to hang dry. The great part about this method is that the snap shakes the garment out of the shape it settled in when all of the other clothes sat on top of it, in a lumpy pile, in the washing machine.
If it is something like a blouse, and believe me, I am not the biggest fan of ironing, then I take the garment and stretch it back to form, smoothing out all of the wrinkles. You might think, well, “Why would you snap it if you’re putting it into the dryer?”. You’ve got to trust me on this one. Do a few snaps and you’ll see a change!
Next up you need to know your fabric weights, but don’t worry, this doesn’t require much homework! Separate them accordingly, heavy with the heavy and the light with the light. Don’t worry, this doesn’t require much homework!
There are two reasons why you’ll want to do this. First of all, heavier stuff mixed in with lighter stuff creates a lot of friction with the lighter stuff, leading to piling and tangles which wears out your fabric quicker. If you pull items out of your wash and you say, “Why does this t-shirt look so worn?” Well this, my friends, is due to a mixing of heavy and light items in the wash.
The other issue is that heavier fabrics are hogs in the washing machine. If you complete a full load of towels, it will all wash evenly, but if you’re doing a mixed load of towels and shirts, the towels are going to absorb most of the water and most of the detergent. These items are so thick that other stuff in the wash does not clean properly. Make sure to separate your fabric weights and see a change in your laundry today!
Delicates bags are for more than just delicates! One of the biggest complaints people have about doing laundry is that their socks get misplaced, and being a mother of a 4-year-old, I can tell you those tiny little socks end up in many places, and yes, they go missing all the time.
An easy way to control missing socks, delicates, or things that you want to keep together when washing is to throw those into a delicates bag and do a wash with them. This also goes for small items such as hair bands, scrunchies, or anything like that.
Putting your garments in a delicates bag allows you to wash all of your stuff while still providing a layer of protection between the fabric and the rest of the stuff, thus reducing the amount of friction that is going to experience when it’s in the wash. For bonus points, you can even flip your garment inside out before it goes into the garment bag to further reduce wear and tear.
Set a Timer
One of the things I really like to do to move the process along is to bring all of my laundry into the laundry room. At home, our laundry room is not a very wide space so it gets pretty cluttered. Here I practice the skill of visualizing what I need to do, which helps when cleaning tasks get overwhelming.
It is vitally important to stay on time with your laundry cycles so that you are working efficiently. Our machine sings a little song every time a load is done, but don’t fret if yours does not, simply set a timer on your phone or another device. Some washing machines, called smart machines, actually have apps that will notify you when your laundry cycle is complete.
As soon as the wash is done, move along the assembly line, tossing them in the dryer and then loading up the next wash cycle. You can get a lot of laundry done in a single day if you have a really tight laundry routine. Just stay on time and be prepared!
If you wear deodorant or antiperspirant, then you are probably familiar with those ugly pit stains left on light-colored shirts. This is a mixture of body oils and the product you are using. A really easy way to combat this is to make a paste of baking soda and water. There’s no real recipe here, you just want to get it to a pudding-like consistency. Whip it up and then apply it as a thick paste to the pit area. Let it sit overnight and then launder it the next day.
The point is that baking soda will help to lighten that area. If you want to take it to the next level, you can also swap the water with hydrogen peroxide, which will certainly get out those old stains. Something I have done over the years is use baking soda under my arms instead of using deodorant or antiperspirant, and I have noticed that I don’t get as many pit stains as I used to! Baking soda is also great for removing odors and bad smells.
Laundering your towels is its own topic. In fact, I have a whole video about how to take care of your smelly or stiff towels. One tip I want to share with you is that if your towels are stinky, you need to do a 2-cycle fix.
The first thing you’re going to do is launder using a vinegar load only. Pop a cup of vinegar into the load and pour some into all the different components as well. Just go to town with the vinegar, which will help break down any deposits from the detergent and with the smell.
Once that cycle is done, you can do a second cycle, but this time put in a cup of baking soda right into the drum, which will help further deodorize. These act like a one-two punch to clean away all the grime left over and will help with the odor immensely. Then pop your towels into the dryer and soon you’ll have soft, fluffy towels that smell great!
DIY Fabric Softener
Inflation has been on the rise lately and if you are looking to shave off some of the cost of your laundry routine, try ditching that pricey fabric softener and picking up a jug of white vinegar instead. You can use this plain or add 20 to 50 drops of your favorite essential oil to your jug.
The purpose of fabric softener is to be a like a conditioner but for your laundry. It softens it up, loosens the fibers, and relaxes the garment, but often times it also leaves a coating on your fabric which can make it feel kind of waxy. This builds up over time and is not good for your clothes or your look.
One of the benefits of using this vinegar rinse, aside from it loosening up the fibers, is it can also help to rinse out any excess detergent left over from the wash. Once your clothes come out of the dryer or finish hang-drying, the vinegar smell will be gone and your garments will be silky soft, and smooth. It’s really easy to do and will save you lots of money on expensive laundry products!
Check out more DIY cleaning hacks!
Air It Out
I have probably been saying this for 10 years now, but it bears repeating because I get so many comments and complaints about smelly washing machines. Generally, a washing machine smells for one of a few reasons.
A top reason is that you’re machine doesn’t have the opportunity to air out between cycles. A washing machine has dirt, grime, excess detergent, there’s moisture, it’s dark and warm… Oh, my gosh! It’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria so it’s going to reek if the door is closed! The rule should always be, that whenever the washing machine is not in use, leave the door slightly open. If the smell is really bad, air it out for a whole 24 hours, and be sure to dry all of the moisture.
Don’t Overdo It
It’s safe to say that people get a little bit overzealous with their laundry at times, either by overloading their machine or using too much detergent, thinking “Oh that thing’s really dirty. I’m just going to throw in some extra detergent and it should take care of everything.” Well, I am sorry to say, that’s simply not the case.
First off, if you overload your machine in the hopes of having to do fewer cycles, you will prevent your clothing from flipping and washing properly. You always want to max out at about 3 quarters of the full capacity of your machine. If your machine is too full it won’t be as effective and will lead to more time spent doing laundry.
Next, we have to take a look at the amount of detergent used. Normally you should follow the recommended notches on your detergent cup or use a pod to define how much you are using. Too little detergent and your clothes won’t come out properly cleaned, but too much detergent will leave a soapy residue on your freshly cleaned garments. The key is to not overdo it and stick to the recommended amount.
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily do this in the middle of a frigid, Canadian winter, but if it happens to be summer or you live in a warmer climate, you can always hang your clothing outside. They have done this for centuries and it works very well for a couple of reasons. Mainly this works because the sun is a great dryer and deodorizer, while its UV rays help whiten your whites! These rays, which are horrible for our skin, are actually fantastic for brightening and whitening things. So, pick a warm day and let your white garments bask in the beautiful, bleaching sunlight.
They don’t teach laundry in school but thankfully I teach it here at Clean My Space. I really hope that what I’ve shared with you today will make your laundry routine that much smoother and more efficient!
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