Unless you’re living at Buckingham Palace and have a Royal Launderer, you’re likely dealing with laundry challenges. So many requests pour in all the time for laundry tips and tricks—so here, I thought I would share some of my favorite ones.
Always Launder Towels Separately
Towel material—terry—is very abrasive and thick by design. When that rubs against your clothing during the wash and dry cycles, it agitates the fibers and creates those tiny little balls, called pilling. If you separate your towels and clothes, you can kiss pilling goodbye.
Get Rid of that Wet Laundry Smell
When you get a whiff of that telltale stink, it means that mildew has started to form. To fix it, you’ve got to kill the mildew. Re-wash the load with a cup of plain white vinegar on the hottest setting the garments can handle. Then run the load through once more with laundry detergent and a cup of baking soda. (Don’t forget about it this time!) Dry as usual.
If you are prone to forgetting about wet laundry, then be pro-active about it! Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your washing detergent at the beginning of each wash. Lavender oil possesses anti-mold properties, so it will help buy you an extra few days, should you forget about your laundry.
Cleaning a Stinky Washing Machine
There are a few considerations if you find that your washing machine is smelling not-so-fresh. First off, use less detergent and fabric softener, especially if you have a front-load washer. Because less water is used with these machines, residue from the detergents can cling to the sides, encouraging mold and mildew growth. If you have a top-load washer, check the agitator (remove the cap), as it may be growing a huge colony of mildew underneath. Your fabric softener ball could also be the source of this bad smell, as it can harbor mildew—so give it a good look-see. Finally, mildew thrives in moist, dark environments (exactly like your washing machine when not in use). To combat this, leave the door of your washing machine open to dry it out. If the machine is dry, no mold can form, and no dingy smell can linger.
Fabric Softener Alternatives
If you want to move away from using fabric softener, there are a few things you can try. Fabric softener is designed to smooth out roughness on fabric and reduce static cling. For the same effect, try adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle for top-loading machines, or 1/4 cup for front-loading. You can even add this to the fabric softener tray if you have one, along with some essential oils for added anti-bacterial properties! You’ll find your clothing is softer and feels better, without the heavy scent or waxy feel of a fabric softener. (Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar, either.) You can also use dryer balls in the dryer to reduce static cling. If you wash synthetics separate from natural fibers, you’ll notice a marked reduction in static cling as well.
So, I hope that scratches your laundry itch—at least for now! What are your favorite laundry tips? Do you have any laundry-related questions that I can answer in an upcoming post?