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Laundry. It's just one of those things we have to do, whether we like it or not. Having clean clothes not only feels good, but it's also essential for making good impressions at work and socially, plus it's the hygienic thing to do.
However, who the heck has time to do laundry? There are so many other things we have to do and many more things we'd rather do. While we can’t get you out of doing your laundry, we do have some tips to make it a bit easier. Want to find out if you could be doing your laundry better? Read and discover some laundry tips and hacks to make your life easier.
Start By Checking the Labels
Unfortunately, no two pieces of clothing are 100 percent the same. Each article is made from different fabrics and is designed to withstand a certain amount of wear and tear. And different fabrics require different care.
Fortunately, clothing manufacturers are aware of this. So they make it easy by including care tags explaining how to properly clean and care for your clothing right on the clothes themselves.
Before you start your laundry, take some time to read the labels on your clothing to figure out which ones require special care. Make note of things like whether you should use hot water or cold water and whether you can safely bleach the garment. If you need help understanding the symbols, you can check out our guide for laundry symbols explained.
Hand Wash Special and Delicate Items
Hand washing might not seem like a great idea when you’re trying to make doing laundry easier, but hear us out. Hand washing your most special and delicate items prevents damage and makes clothing last as long as possible. Doing so also reduces your environmental impact and, when you only need to launder one or two items, hand washing is faster.
Not sure where to start? Our laundry detergent sheets are a great option when you’re looking for a safe and convenient way to hand wash clothing. However, since these sheets are highly concentrated, you won’t need to use a whole one when washing just a few items by hand. Cut a sheet into four sections and add one section to a basin of cool water (warm water is often unsafe for delicate fabrics, especially wool). Add more as needed. For a step-by-step guide, read our post on hand washing clothing with laundry sheets.
Gently swirl your clothes around in the water and detergent. Avoid vigorous scrubbing and wringing of the fabric to prevent damage and pilling. Once you’re confident that the garments are clean, carefully pour out the sudsy water. Rinse your basin and then add cool water. Place your garment back in the water and swish it around to remove the remaining detergent. Repeat as needed until you are sure you have completely removed the soap.
When finished, lay your garment(s) flat to dry on towels, or place them on a drying rack. Avoid hanging as clothes hangers can cause wet apparel to stretch.
Use White Vinegar in Your Washing Machine
Many people don't realize that one of the most powerful cleaning agents they can use not only in their laundry room but in the rest of their home is white vinegar. White vinegar contains acetic acid and does a fantastic job breaking down dirt and leaving things clean. It’s also a great option for removing mildew and is safe for both lights and darks.
If you want, you can even wash your clothes using nothing but white vinegar. This will save you from buying expensive powdered or liquid detergents, and it will leave your clothes just as clean. Plus, plain white vinegar is better for the planet than chemical-laden commercial detergents. And we promise your clean laundry won’t smell like vinegar.
To do this, all you have to do is drop in about a cup of white vinegar per load. You can also use white vinegar in addition to your laundry detergent. However, while white vinegar can most certainly clean clothes, it's not always the most effective against stains and other signs of dirt.
Traditional laundry detergent can get these things out, and by adding a cup of white vinegar, you can take things to the next level and make your clothes that much cleaner. Some folks even add white vinegar during the spin cycle to soften clothes, towels and linens.
Buy a Laundry Folder
Folding laundry is an essential but tedious aspect of cleaning your clothes. You can save yourself considerable time by purchasing what is known as a laundry folder.
These devices are simply a couple of pieces of plastic that connect and fold in the shape of a folded T-shirt. To use them, simply place your T-shirt flat on the folder and then fold the pieces of plastic in the appropriate order. Then, voilà! Your T-shirts are perfectly folded in just a fraction of the time.
Keep Socks in a Small Mesh Bag
One common laundry problem is socks that seem to take on a life of their own and disappear entirely. It's unclear exactly where they go, but it does seem that socks always find a way to go into the wash as a pair and come out of the dryer separate, with one of them gone forever.
To prevent this from happening, consider keeping a mesh bag with your laundry basket for socks and then putting the entire mesh bag into the washer and then into the dryer. Mesh bags with zippers work best because you don’t need to worry about them coming open. This tip ensures that all of your socks stay together throughout the whole wash cycle, reducing the chances that one of them grows legs and decides to walk off.
Another good trick is to put something in between your washing machine and the wall adjacent to it. Block off the gap between your washer and dryer, too. Socks often fall into these spaces as you load and unload the washing machine without you even realizing it — and because you don't realize it, you never think to look there.
How much money do you think you have spent on socks over the years simply because you've lost one out of the two that make up a pair? That's a number we don't even really want to consider.
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Hang Up Not-So-Dirty Clothes
Want to reduce the amount of laundry that you have to do? Wash your clothes less often.
Of course, we're not saying that you should walk around wearing dirty clothes. However, more often than not, we end up washing clothes simply because we didn't take care of them or because we don’t feel like putting them away.
For example, if you wear the same shirt around the house after you take a shower, you can wear that shirt over and over again and it will stay clean. To make sure this happens, it's wise to hang this T-shirt up at the end of each night so that it can air out.
Other things to keep in mind are to avoid putting your clothes on the floor and make sure that wet clothes are given time to dry. Washing clothes when they need to be washed rather than every time you take them off will likely cut down on your laundry significantly. Also, use towels and linens more than once before washing.
Add a Dry Towel to Speed Things Up
To reduce the overall time you spend doing laundry, put a dry towel in the dryer when you tumble dry wet clothes. This works particularly well when you're washing many lighter garments, such as athletic shorts, bathing suits, underwear, etc.
This works because the dry towel absorbs the moisture from the other garments, which reduces overall drying time. Of course, this will add wear and tear to your towel, so make sure to choose one that you don't mind getting a little beat up in the dryer. Also, make note that lint from the towel could attach to certain fabric types.
Mark Down "Do Not Dry" Items
Very few garments cannot be washed in a washing machine, although there are some that still require professional dry cleaning. However, there are many more items that you cannot put in the dryer. Remembering which ones can go in the dryer and which ones you need to line dry or lay flat to dry can be a real pain. If you do have trouble remembering, then this can add time when you go to do your laundry. You have to stop and look at the care labels on every piece of clothing to see if it can go in the dryer or not and to determine the appropriate heat setting.
One straightforward way to save yourself from this is to simply write — quite literally — on top of your washing machine which garments can go in the dryer and which ones cannot. If you do your laundry at a laundromat, make notes on an index card instead. This way, as you sort through the clothes at the end of the washing cycle, you can quickly determine which ones need to be left out of the dryer, saving you time and effort.
Freeze Your Clothes Before Putting Them in the Washer
Yes, you read that correctly. We're suggesting that you put your clothes in the freezer. Why? Well, the microbes that cause your clothes to smell cannot survive in freezing temperatures. So, by freezing your clothes, particularly the night before you do a load of laundry, you can give yourself a head start by removing some of the more difficult dirt from your clothes.
Of course, freezing your clothes does not replace washing them. Yet, it reduces the amount of time you might have to spend pre-treating or soaking a particular garment that is extra dirty.
So, if you've got something that's extra stinky and don't want to put extra effort into cleaning it, put it in a plastic bag, toss it in the freezer, take it out the following day and wash as you usually would. You'd be surprised how much of a difference this can make.
Let's Do the Wash!
As you can see, while it's a simple task we do all the time, doing your laundry is quite a bit more complicated than you might have thought.
However, you are now armed with a handful of tricks and hacks that will make your life much easier, so there's no longer any need to dread doing your laundry.
Instead, you can do it quickly and efficiently and move on with your life, knowing that your clothes are clean and crisp.