Wash Day Blues: Hacks To Keep Whites White And Other Washing Woes At BayBy Harpreet K
Doing laundry is one of those necessary evils in life. No matter how much we might complain about it, we all have to do it at some point. Some clothes may be dirtier than others and may require even more work and treatment. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a total pain. With the right supplies and know-how, you don’t have to spend hours doing laundry. There are plenty of hacks out there that can make the process easier and more efficient — you just need to know what they are! Check out these laundry hacks to make your routine a breeze. You’ll learn how to prevent wrinkles, keep your socks in pairs, avoid shrinking your favorite shirts, and more!
1. Organize “dirty” clean clothes
Everyone has a chair or shelf where they keep clothes that are not dirty enough for the laundry hamper, but not clean enough to put back in the closet. After a few days, the pile will slowly start to grow, giving your room a cluttered feeling.
To keep things organized and feeling a bit less chaotic, keep your not-so-clean clothes on a clothesline. You can easily keep track of your clothes without needing to do extra laundry. Getting one or two more uses out of a shirt before you wash it also helps extend its life.
2. Taking care of the lint
Doing laundry requires more than just a washer and dryer, but not every laundry room is big enough to accommodate the washing supplies, trash can, and drying racks. If the space is too small, you might end up using a trashcan elsewhere.
Instead of dropping lint and dust on the floor of your bathroom, kitchen, or hallway, empty the lint trap inside the laundry room. You can attach a small box to the wall, or use an empty tissue box that’s lightweight and portable.
3. Tracking outfits
With a full wardrobe, it may be difficult to keep track of all of your clothes. Come laundry day, you might be in a rush and not remember to sort the load. It becomes all too easy to throw a hang-dry item in the dryer with the rest of the clothes.
Get a dry erase board to hang in the laundry room and write down any separation instructions for the load. Then, when the clothes are ready to dry, you can check the board so you don’t forget what, and how many, items go on the clothesline.
4. Preventing wrinkles
Who has time to iron their clothes anymore? That’s why we rely on the dryer, but what happens when it finishes and you still have wrinkles? One cause could be an overfilled machine. Too many items in one load makes each piece more susceptible to creases.
The first step is to remove some of the clothes. Then, add some ice cubes to the dryer and turn the machine back on. As it runs, the ice cubes act as a steamer on stubborn wrinkles, giving you a perfectly laundered load at the end of the cycle.
5. Don’t shrink your clothes
Although every item of clothing has a label with clear instructions on how to wash it, we sometimes forget — or don’t have time — to check each piece before doing laundry. Unfortunately, a special clothing item ends up in the wrong load and it shrinks a few sizes. Don’t panic; you can still save it!
You can easily shape back your clothes by soaking them in warm water and adding some hair conditioner. The conditioner will loosen the fabric and help it regain its previous shape. After it’s back to normal, just rinse the clothes to remove the conditioner.
6. Spin cycle for delicates
It feels like such a waste to run a whole delicates load for a few items of clothing, but there are never enough to get an efficient load. Instead, turn a salad spinner into a mini washing machine for delicates.
Add your item to the spinner, then fill it with water and detergent. When you’re done washing, the salad spinner doubles as a delicates dryer, too. This method is great for your lingeries crop tops, lace bodysuits, and embellished clothes. The salad spinner will remove the water without damaging the cloth’s fabric.
7. Energy-saving mode
Doing laundry takes a fair amount of energy, so it’s ideal to try and save energy where you can. For the washer, the simplest way is to use cold water. Warm and hot loads are less efficient because the machine needs to use energy to heat up the water.
For the dryer, you can reduce the time it takes by adding some aluminum foil balls in with your clothes. Not only will they shorten thy dryer time, and therefore reduce its energy consumption, but they’ll also reduce static in your clothes.
8. Wool balls to the rescue
There’s nothing better than wrapping up in warm clothes fresh from the dryer. But some clothes don’t always come out as soft, and the scratchy material is a nightmare to wear. Whether it’s a result of the material or the detergent you use, a wool ball in the dryer will do the trick.
Just toss a few wool balls to dry along with the clothes. They will make your clothes soft, huggable, and comfortable for the next wear. These balls are available in the market, or you can DIY them using wool and roll it into balls — it’s right in the name.
9. Cleaning detergent cap
Using the right amount of detergent is key to a perfect load of laundry that’s both clean and soft. Too much detergent and your clothes are dirty from soap; not enough and they might not be clean after running the washing machine.
Using your detergent bottle repeatedly may make the cap sticky and lead to a bad pour. To clean it, toss the cap of the bottle into the washer for one cycle. Remove it from the clothes before using the dryer.
10. Skip the hot water
Although washing machines have a hot water setting, it’s not ideal for all clothes. The hot water is just too much for these poor fabrics, and they start getting damaged. Well, that explains why we find holes in our sheets without any moths around.
However, don’t wash all your clothes in cold water all the time as it will leave them full of soap and may lead to bacterial buildup. The ideal temperature to wash your linens, towels, and other clothes is anywhere between 104 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. The ideal load size
How you approach running a load of laundry is extremely important. For example, separate lights and darks to prevent accidents, like color bleeding. Load size matters, too. Too empty, and you’re running an inefficient load. Too full and the clothes won’t get properly cleaned.
Your washing machine doesn’t have an unlimited capacity, so there is an upper limit on how much you can fit in there anyway. For a perfect load, fill the drum at around 80 percent capacity. It’s important to remember that it can also be too empty; with more space in the machine, clothes can get damaged dmore easily.
12. Freezing fabrics to remove sticky stains
Some things cannot be cleaned in a washer, and in fact, doing so will do irreparable damage. For example, chewing gum from a park bench or a careless sibling will get worse if you try to clean it via the washing machine.
All you need are ice cubes. Rub the cubes on the problem area and the ice will solidify the gum. Now, all you have to do is scrape it off once it hardens. You can use a butter knife or nails for that part.
13. Efficiently fold your clothes
After all the stress of getting the washer and dryer set up right, folding laundry and putting it away can be a pain. Some people may even leave their laundry for days, and that’s when wrinkles set in and you need to break out the iron. You may make your job easier by getting a clothing folder.
These are available online or in retail stores and come in super handy. Used correctly, you can easily fold your clothes within seconds. Better yet, all your clothes will be folded identically, making sorting your closet even easier. Is there even a downside to using this tool?
14. Cleaning the washer
It’s important to keep the inside of your washer clean and free from mold, fungus, or bacteria. If you don’t take care of the insides of the washer, then it can affect how well-washed certain items will be. Some may even start to smell.
One way is to use the self-cleaning mode of the washer, but not every machine has this feature. Don’t worry, you have all you need in your bathroom: mouthwash! Just half a cup in the machine will get rid of bacteria and eliminate any nasty odors.
15. Pool noodle for wrinkles
Drying your delicates may be another big task after you’ve successfully washed them without any damage. Using a drying rack isn’t always perfect as it may leave creases on your delicates. Fortunately, if you have a pool noodle, you can easily keep wrinkles away.
Now you can dry your clothes with confidence that they won’t need some ironing later. Cut up a few pool noodles and use them over the wires of the drying rack. Place your clothes to dry on the soft surface of the pool noodles.
16. Getting rid of the ring
Spot cleaning is one way to get rid of stubborn stains and rings, such as armpit and collar stains. You do not need to ruin your clothes by bleaching the whole fabric. Shampoo and dishwashing liquid can do the same job.
Put a few drops of shampoo or dishwashing liquid directly on the fabric and let it sit there for about 15-20 minutes. Wash the clothes as usual in a regular washer cycle. The stains and rings will be gone for good.
17. When in a pinch
With such busy lives, we can sometimes forget to schedule in time to do laundry. Especially if there are certain clothes that we want to wear again soon. If you have an item of clothing that’s still clean enough for another use, but maybe has an undesirable odor, freeze it!
If these clothes have a little odor, just pop them in the freezer and let them sit there overnight. This will not remove all the bacteria but disinfect it enough for a few more wears. This hack isn’t an alternative to washing, and we don’t recommend doing this for every outfit, but it’ll do in a pinch.
18. Say goodbye to nasty grease
Kitchen towels and aprons are bound to get food stains on them. Unfortunately, with enough use, grease stains can be unsightly and may make you want to get rid of them. Instead, get rid of the stubborn grease with some chalk. Just rub a small piece of chalk on the greasy stain.
The chalk powder will absorb and neutralize the grease. The stain will be gone with the next wash, and your towels and aprons will come out of the washing machine looking fresher and newer. Now you can make your “Kiss the Cook” apron last a lifetime!
19. Know all your stains
Every stain is different, and each needs its own approach to properly cleaning it, if you want to fully eliminate the stain. You can remove oil stains by sprinkling some sweetener or starch on them before putting them in the washer.
For tomato sauce, use WD-40. Remove sweaty discoloration on the clothes with a bleach cycle. Use water and salt mixture to remove wine and coffee stains. Lastly, add baking soda to the washer to remove the stubborn stench from the clothes.
20. Remove ink stains
Pen stains are an absolute pain. This has happened to most of us at some point; either by accident. or perhaps a fountain pen attacked your favorite outfit with a huge splash of ink. Ink stains are stubborn and may never leave the fabric.
Before throwing your clothes in a pile of trash, here is how to save them. Spritz some hair spray on the stain and dab it with a paper towel. The towel will soak the stain, and your clothes will be restored!
21. Keep your blacks black
Black outfits are classic and are always trendy. However, cleaning them may be a bit tricky. They may start to fade if you over wash or dry them too much. Without using any dyes, you can maintain their black shine at home.
Just add a few shots of brewed coffee or black tea without the grounds to the rinse cycle. This will add a touch of dark shade to the fabric and prevent the black color from fading. Use this for black shirts, shorts, trousers, and dresses.
22. No more wrinkles
Your clothes may have a few wrinkles in some places, even after a warm cycle in the dryer. Ironing the whole garment just for a few problem areas is such a hassle. To release the wrinkles, you can easily use a flat iron to go over a few areas, such as the collar or around the button.
Make sure to clean your flat iron before using it to prevent getting new stains on clean clothes. The best part about using a hair straighter is that it’s small and convenient to go over small areas precisely and make your clothes presentable. Not to mention that it’s great if you’re in a hurry.
23. No more color codes
The usual way to separate the laundry is to sort by color; washing like colors together is the classic way to prevent colors bleeding. But you may feel confident in your clothes that this isn’t a worry. If you don’t have enough whites for its own wash, but aren’t worried about color blending, try sorting a different way.
You may separate your laundry on the basis of how dirty and stinky it is. Or maybe sorting casual or office wear from gardening and sports clothes is more convenient. The stains and dirt will determine the type of detergent and the wash cycle strength.
24. Up your fragrance game
Everyone likes their laundry to smell nice and fresh. However, it may be overwhelming to pick the right fragrance that is not too overpowering to cause a headache even after washing. And there are so many to choose from in the market.
Some subtle scents may not even show up on the clothes, and you won’t feel your clothes are clean and may still have a stench if you can’t smell a hint of the detergent. To avoid this, add ten to twelve drops of essential oils such as lemon, tea tree, and lavender for a fresh fragrance.
25. Optimizing the dryer cycle
Dryers are a fast and convenient way to get clothes ready to wear, even for the same day. Sometimes it feels like the drying cycle goes on for hours, which is even more frustrating if the wash load was only 20-30 minutes.
To speed up the drying time, add an extra towel with the wet clothes. The friction from brushing against fabric will speed up drying time, so your clothes will be ready to wear, or neatly folded away in no time flat.
26. Tennis ball for drying
Technically, the right way to dry your linens and towels is on a clothesline in the sun. But that’s not always an option. Whether you live in an overcast place, or there aren’t enough daylight hours, or even a lack of space to hang dry them outside, clotheslines aren’t always the answer.
Tossing a tennis ball in the dryer is a great way to tenderize your linens and make them softer. It’s also good for getting rid of any wrinkles in the towels, so you can be sure they look their best when it comes time to use them!
27. Soft towels for days
Using a soft fluffy towel after a shower is a dream. The relaxation of a hot shower can quickly be dampened if you step out to try off with a hard, scratchy towel. This comes from repeatedly washing the fabric, causing them to harden a bit over time.
This is due to the chemical buildup of the cleaning supplies in the fabric. As a result, the towel becomes rigid. Take a trick from hotels and add a secret ingredient to your wash — white vinegar. It’ll keep your towels super soft!
28. DIY wrinkle releaser
The last thing you need when running late is to have your clothes wrinkled and full of static. Instead, keep this DIY wrinkle releaser on hand so that all those stubborn creases in the fabric can be avoided. No need to grab the iron!
To make this wrinkle remover, add a few cups of water in a spray bottle along with a teaspoon of hair conditioner and a tablespoon of vinegar. Spray this on your clothes to remove the wrinkles from your outfit in no time so you can go about your day with confidence.
29. Don’t just drink vodka
Who knew that vodka could be so powerful? The smell of this clear liquid is enough to make your head spin, but it’s also an excellent way for you to get rid of odor from your clothes. Vodka has a pungent smell in itself but eliminates odors well.
Just get a bottle of cheap vodka — not for drinking but strictly for an odor removing purposes. Add some to a spray bottle and spritz it on your clothes before washing them. You’ll see they are fresh and clean like never before.
30. Avoid color mixing
Color mixing is your enemy when you are washing clothes for the whole family. One single red pair of socks can make all your white clothes pink. This is not the monotone trend you will enjoy. You can protect your whites with color and dirt catchers.
It’s easy to DIY these cloths, and they will last you long for a lot of wash cycles. Use a towel and soak it in a mixture of washing soda and water. Let it dry, and then add it to a load of laundry in the washer.
31. Keep your socks in pairs
Do you often wonder where the other sock went after washing? You may even have several single socks that may no longer be of use. One way to keep both of them together is to use a clothespin after you’re done wearing them.
Toss them in your laundry basket and washer with the pin so that they stay together with the whole cycle. Don’t worry, your socks will not get stuck in the nooks and crannies of the washer-dryer with the weight of the plastic clothespin.
32. Have a solid stain strategy
Everyone is busy and barely has time to keep track of their laundry. But having a plan to get rid of stains is essential. If your clothes get stained, it is advisable to treat that stain as soon as possible, or it’ll become permanent.
Another way to keep track of nasty stains is to mark the stains with a clothespin so that you do not forget to treat them before tossing them in the washer. You may also color-code your clothespin for more convenience.
33. No more dust
With pets that shed, it’s inevitable that your clothes will be covered in hair. If your lint roller is missing, or is out of sticky pages, there’s an easy fix to help get rid of that clingy hair stuck everwhere. All you need is some duct tape and a paint roller.
Wrap the paint roller with the sticky side of the tape on the outside and use it just like the normal lint roller. You can remove your hair, lint pieces, and dust from the fabrics before wearing them. Replace the tape when it loses its stickiness.
34. Magic of shaving cream
Shaving cream straight from the can may have more uses than just getting smooth skin. It has ingredients that are similar to soap. And you can use this feature of shaving cream to get rid of stains on the go.
Get a travel-size can of shaving cream to keep in your briefcase or duffle bag. You can just spray some foam directly on the stains and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a tissue to remove the foam and blot the fabric.
35. Gentle cleaning for delicates
It’s a mistake when you toss your delicate bras and lingerie sets into the washing machine, and they come out looking bad. Their shape has changed, and the fabric has become hard or is wearing out. Ditch the washer to make them last longer.
Hand-washing your bras and underwear is the best way to keep them from getting dirty and wrinkled. After you wash them, let out any excess water in a colander so that they can dry completely without squeezing the liquid residue.