Laundry. Easily one of the most loved or most hated chores in the home. You either think it’s loads of fun (see what I did there?), or you know it as the daunting task that eats away at your Saturday morning.
I’ll be honest, laundry used to drive me crazy, but after spending years in the cleaning game, I’ve finally got a routine that makes laundry one of the easier tasks in my home. So, for those of you that dread laundry day, here are my favorite laundry tips and tricks—the things that have really helped make my laundry routine easy-peasy.
Today we’re covering how to create a laundry routine and establish a laundry schedule, laundry tips and tricks including stain removal, laundry room organization, laundry labels, and so much more. Hopefully, you can implement a few of these tips and make your laundry routine a little easier.
1. Establish A Laundry Routine
Preparing is literally half the battle when it comes to laundry. And having a great laundry routine makes your laundry day much more efficient—fewer steps means less time spent.
You’re probably thinking: ‘how do you prepare to do laundry?’ The answer is broken into two key steps: schedule and organize.
2. Create A Laundry Schedule
It’s much easier to get through a task if you allot a specific day and time to do it. On average, a single wash and dry cycle will take between one and one and a half hours from start to finish.
Here’s a laundry formula for you, and not the detergent kind: # of loads x cycle length = time needed.
For big families or anyone else who has a lot of laundry, it may work better for your schedule to split your laundry over two days. Personally, I like to do three loads of laundry a week over three days.
This might seem like a lot of laundry days, but I weave it into my morning routine. On my way downstairs to make breakfast, I grab a laundry basket and toss it in the wash. When breakfast is over, I throw the load in the dryer. That way, I’ve done an entire load of laundry by mid-morning, and I can get on with the rest of my day.
3. Laundry Room Organization is Necessary!
There’s nothing worse than standing in the middle of a floor full of clothes. Actually, I take that back. Putting a load of laundry into your washer and then realizing you’re out of detergent is definitely worse.
If you keep your laundry and laundry room organized, you’ll save so much time by avoiding annoying laundry hassles. I recommend keeping a shelf or cart in your laundry room. You can put all your laundry products on here; detergent, dish soap, vinegar, etc.
If you’re organized, you’ll also be able to keep track of the products you’re running low on and be able to effectively replenish as necessary. Keep a trash can in your laundry room too. That way, you can chuck dryer lint, pocket garbage, and everything else as you go.
I know not everyone has a ton of space in their laundry room. You might be thinking, “how can I fit a whole shelf plus trash can in there?” Well, let me tell you about stackable laundry baskets. They are a huge space saver and allow for easy storage. Plus, they’re great for organizing clothes per load.
Or, if you want to look like a real laundry professional, I recommend the Alimorden Laundry Sorter. It has three baskets so you can separate whites, colors, and delicates. And it has a top shelf that doubles as a fold-out ironing board. Neat, clean, organized, and a real three-in-one space saver!
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4. Color Sort In Advance
There’s nothing worse than realizing your favorite white shirt is now tie-dyed because someone mixed in colors with the whites! To prevent mishaps, have separate hampers for whites, colors, and darks. Request that your family members add their clothing to the appropriate hamper so you aren’t sitting on the laundry room floor sorting piles of laundry come laundry day.
A great tool for this is a multi-sectioned laundry hamper. The Brightshow Laundry Hamper even has its sections labeled for easy use.
5. Prepare Your Laundry Before Washing
Before you pull your hair out in despair, as I tell you even more ways you have to prepare your laundry, relax! You can do this as you load your washer.
As you put clothes into the washing machine, empty pockets, unbutton shirts, hook up bras, and tie up strings. For clothing rich in colors, turn them inside out. This will help prevent color transfer and keep your clothes looking new.
6. Always Read Laundry Labels
In the process of sorting your clothes, be sure to read the labels. Put aside any items listed as hand-wash, delicate or dry cleaning since you’ll want to treat these separately.
For lingerie, swimwear or socks, mesh laundry bags will be your life-saver. If you follow these steps, the days of bras hooked on t-shirts or time spent investigating the case of the missing sock will be gone forever. You’re welcome.
There are so many different laundry labels and symbols, it can definitely get confusing. That’s why I created the Laundry Care Symbol Chart. Check it out!
Laundry Stain Removal: Pre-Treating Tips
The faster you catch a stain, the better chance you have at getting rid of it entirely. Leaving a stained item until laundry day hinders the garment’s chances for a full recovery.
Ask family members to pre-treat their own stains as soon as they happen using one of these very simple techniques.
Stains can be a pain. Enough said. Learn how to keep your boots clean throughout the winter with How To Get Salt Stains Out Of Shoes.
7. Remove Food Stains
Give your clothes a fighting chance and use a little dish soap and water to deal with some of the toughest food stains—think tomato sauce, blueberries, curry, and grease.
After blotting up the stain, apply a coin-sized squirt of dish soap directly onto any cotton or polycotton fabric (avoid using it on delicate fabrics like silk), covering the entire stained area. Use your finger to rub this in.
Remember, you always want to spot test on a small area to make sure the material won’t be damaged. Then, ideally, launder as soon as possible.
8. Remove Stains on Delicates
For delicate fabrics or difficult stains, oxygen bleach is a staple in our stain-removing arsenal. It’s safer to use than chlorine bleach and can be used on colors.
It’s best to err on the side of caution, so always read the care label and test a small area on the fabric first. And if you’ve never used oxygen bleach before, read What Is Oxygen Bleach?
9. Banish Smelly Laundry
If you’re a fitness buff, you might find yourself with a lot of stinky workout gear. Or really anyone who lives somewhere hot may notice their clothes smell… a little funky.
For smelly laundry, pre-treat your clothes in 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water before washing. Don’t worry; your clothes won’t come out smelling like vinegar.
10. Maximize Your Loads
It may come as a surprise, but beyond being energy inefficient, smaller loads of laundry don’t get your clothes as clean. Larger loads tend to have more variety in the size and shape of clothing, allowing them to use friction and agitation to their advantage.
That being said, don’t overload your washer either—your clothes can’t move around, and your machine can’t bear the weight. You want your machine to look about 3/4 full. If you’re using a broom handle to squeeze everything in before slamming the door closed, your washing machine is too full.
Remember, most loads can be done on a normal cycle, but always read and follow care instructions on clothing labels. By using your machine optimally, you can get the most amount of laundry done with the least amount of effort.
Drying Your Clothes
It seems easy to take a pile of clothes and throw it into the dryer, but a few modifications will keep you from breaking out the iron or running a second cycle.
11. Shake it!
Try shaking out your clothes when you remove them from the washer. This will help prevent wrinkles and save drying time.
12. Load It Up
It’s also best to dry full loads of laundry as opposed to a few items at a time. That being said, try not to overload the dryer. It needs room to tumble so as to reduce wrinkles and dry completely. As a bonus tip, I like to add dryer balls to help increase efficiency as well as beat out static cling.
13. Know How Your Items Should Dry
Make sure you always read the labels—some items may need to skip the dryer. Other garments will need to be dried on low (or fluff) instead of high heat. For bulkier items like bedding, you can, once again, try adding dryer balls to help move items around better as they dry.
Clean Clothes Routine
Yes, just like you need a laundry routine for washing and drying, you need a routine for clean clothes too. I know it seems like a lot of work, but putting clean clothes away properly means they won’t get mixed in with dirty clothes, and you can avoid rewashing.
14. Putting It All Away
Always remember to remove clothes from the dryer as soon as possible to prevent wrinkles. Fold them or hang them up as soon as possible.
15. The Basket System
Organize your baskets by room or family member to make sure the right items get to the right person. Determine a delivery system that works best, or have everyone come collect their laundry the same day so clean and dirty clothes don’t get mixed up.
16. The Power of Delegation
Laundry for an entire family is not a one-person job! Don’t overload yourself (wink) with a mountain of laundry. Try having one family member collect and sort items from the dryer while another folds and places them in the right basket.
However you decide to do it, the biggest time saver will be to share the workload. Delegate tasks to kids or a partner to get clothes folded and put away quickly. With kids, you can make a laundry game. Who can pair the most socks in 15 minutes? Who can hang their clothes the fastest? The more hands on deck, the less daunting the task will be.
Washer and Dryer Care
Believe it or not, laundry machines need a little love too. If you’ve ever been the victim of long drying times or a moldy smelling machine, these tips will benefit you.
17. Empty Your Lint Trap
Remember to clean the lint trap after each drying cycle. It’s a good idea to vacuum it out monthly to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.
18. Wipe Your Washing Machine Door
Whether you have a top load or a front load washer, wipe it down after each use (along with the gasket on front load machines). And don’t forget to leave the door open so your machine can air dry when not in use—this will help prevent odor-causing mold and mildew from forming.
19. Monthly Machine Maintenance
Once a month, it’s suggested to perform minor maintenance on your washing machine. Nothing you need a professional for, just small things you can do yourself to keep your machine running perfectly.
For front-loading machines, clean the rubber seals on the door and dispensers as needed. It will help clear up any detergent, hair, and other debris that has built up.
If you’ve noticed a mildew stench, perform a tub cleanse using vinegar. Set your washer to the hottest temperature and add white vinegar to the bleach dispenser to the max fill level (make sure there is absolutely NO bleach in there first).
For top-load washers, add 4 cups of white vinegar after setting the washer to the hottest temperature at the highest capacity. Lift the lid to stop the machine once it’s filled and allow it to sit for a few hours before closing to finish the cycle.
Laundry Tips And Tricks for Your Laundry Routine
Phew–that was a load of information (last one, I promise). But if you follow these steps, laundry will be a Febreze (OK, that was the last one).
With preparation, pre-treating, and my pro-tips, you’ll be having loads of fun before you know it! Don’t let laundry be the daunting chore it once was. Here’s to finding the laundry routine you can’t live without and reclaiming your weekends!
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