Household Laundry Tips and Advice
Here you will find some great household laundry tips and all the advice you need to get through this household chore with ease.
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Keep it Organized
Dirty Clothes Central. You should have one place that all family members are responsible for putting their dirty clothes. Usually this will be a hamper either in the bathroom or the laundry room itself.
Pockets. All family members should be responsible for emptying their pockets. (I still check anyway, but don't tell them.)
Control. Do not let your laundry pile get out of hand. Wash clothes as soon as you have enough for a load, and as soon as they are dry, fold and put them away. Many working parents will find it convenient to put a load of clothes in the washer before going to work, then transfer the wet clothes to the dryer on arriving home. Oftentimes, one load a day is all you'll need to keep the laundry monster at bay, even with kids.
Keep it Dry
Don't put wet or even damp things in the clothes hamper. You never know how long they will be staying in there and wet things quickly turn to wet, smelly things, which can be hard to get clean. Instead, hang all damp things while they are waiting to be washed. You may like to keep one of these laundry drying racks for hanging wet things near the hamper.
Sorting Laundry Tips
- In general you should try to sort laundry into piles of items with similar care instructions on the labels.
- Wash colored laundry separately from white and pale laundry.
- You may also wish to sort colors further into dark colors and bright colors.
- Wash delicate items separately from heavier items.
- Some clothing labels might indicate that an item should be washed separately (most likely because the dye is not color fast).
- Do not overload your machine. Overloading a machine means your clothes come out less clean and more full of wrinkles as well.
- Washing smaller items with larger items increases the effectiveness of the washing action.
- Shake out each item and place it separately into the machine.
Follow the Instructions
Clothing labels. Most clothing these days is clearly marked with laundry symbols, indicating the correct care for a particular garment. Follow these care guidelines scrupulously to avoid laundry mishaps. Some clothing can not be washed in a machine. Learn more about hand washing clothes.
Product labels. In general, follow the manufacturer's instructions for using a particular laundry product. However, it is interesting to note that many times you can get clothes clean using considerably less of a product then recommended on the box or bottle.
Owner's Manual. You might be surprised at what you can learn by reading the owner's manual for your washing machine and dryer. I highly recommend doing so.
Using Laundry Products
- Detergent - You're probably already aware that most popular laundry detergents are very harmful to the environment. Isn't it time you looked into some greener alternatives?
- Bleach - OK, I have a confession to make. I have never used bleach in my laundry. If you do use bleach, use it only in the bleach dispenser of your machine. If you do not have a bleach dispenser, allow the empty machine to fill with water and then mix in the bleach thoroughly before adding any clothing.
- Washing Soda - This is non-toxic and can be added to the wash cycle to boost the cleaning power of your laundry detergent.
- Vinegar - Distilled white vinegar can help get your clothes clean and soft naturally. Just add a cup to the rinse cycle of your next load and you'll see and smell the difference. Go from laundry tips to vinegar for laundry to learn more.
- Fabric Softener - I highly recommend making homemade fabric softener. It is inexpensive, gets the job done, and is allergen free.
- Dryer Sheets - Why are you using these bizarre things? If it's for the smell, why not try putting a couple drops of your favorite essential oil on an old washcloth and tossing it in the dryer with your next load? Good smell, no gross chemicals. If it's for softness, try adding a couple of tennis balls to your dryer load.
- Stain Removers - Sometimes you may need to use a special stain remover. Follow the labels carefully on stain removers, keeping in mind they may damage clothing themselves if used incorrectly. In general the faster you react to a stain the more luck you'll have removing it.
Laundry Tips for Drying
Ouch! Drying clothes in a dryer is very hard on them. After all, everything you find in your lint collector was once your clothing. Using a lower dryer temperature will save some wear and tear on your clothing.
Sorting. Separate light weight from heavier items for efficient drying. Of course if you followed the laundry tips for washing, it is most likely sorted enough for the dryer.
Savings. Consider air drying. We saved over 200 dollars on our yearly electric bill by switching to a drying rack for half of our clothes. I use it for most light weight items and they are dry within the day. A bonus effect of air drying is that clothing with elastic banding (think socks and underwear) will last much longer.
Ideally you should fold clothes while they are still warm from the dryer. If you let them cool completely, they will end up wrinkly. By carefully folding warm laundry, you can avoid most ironing and still have nice looking clothes.
Having a laundry folding table can make the task of folding clothes a lot easier, and (dare I say?) fun.
Maintain Your Equipment
Needless to say, follow those owner manuals carefully. The dyer lint collector should be cleaned after every use and cleaning the washing machine should be part of a monthly appliance maintenance program.
Keep your laundry room or area clean as well. Laundry rooms tend to collect a lot of lint and sometimes stickiness from various products. A thorough vacuuming and quick wipe down once a week is enough to keep things clean and tidy.
Keeping Laundry Tips In Perspective
Before the advent of the washing machine, it was typical to do laundry much less often. Keep that in mind when following these laundry tips. Here's a little ditty from Marvo at The Impulsive Buy that you may find useful:
If it doesn't have stains, out of the washer it remains.
If worn clothes have no smell, no one else will be able to tell.