Laundry. Just the word is enough to stress you out, isn't it?
It's nobody's favorite household job, but sadly our clothes need to get washed, dried, folded, and put away unless we want to go out in the world looking like slobs. Save some time, energy, and your sanity by using these 20 helpful laundry hacks:
1. Learn to follow directions
Every piece of clothing you own tells you exactly how to clean it to keep it looking perfect. The trouble is, those instructions are written in a code that most of us never learned to read. Follow this guide to deciphering the most common laundry symbols and wash your clothes with confidence.
2. Reset your socks
When you're at your wits end trying to match your family's missing socks, at a certain point you have to say "enough is enough." Donate your old socks and pick up big bundles of new ones (stick to one brand per color). That way, it's as easy as finding any two socks and putting them on.
3. Go easy on the detergent
How much detergent do you put in your washing machine? You're probably just adding what's suggested on the label, but detergent makers want you to overuse their product. Cut back by a third and you probably won't notice any difference.
4. Keep your shoes shining
Throwing your child's dirty running shoes in the washing machine can be noisy and annoying. Trapping the laces in the door can help, but you can also clean them by hand. Mix water, detergent, and baking soda, then scrub on the mixture with a toothbrush (not one you use).
5. Re-string your hoodies
There's nothing more frustrating that trying to put a drawstring back in a sweater, pair of sweatpants, or a swimsuit. Staple the string to a plastic straw and feed it through the hole. Now it's much easier to pull through.
6. Un-shrink your clothes
Take a bucket of water. or a sink, and pour in a tablespoon of hair conditioner. Let your shrunken clothes soak in the bucket, then gently stretch them out and let them dry. This loosens the fabric, so your clothes return to normal. You're welcome!
7. Throw a towel in your drying loads
If you put in a dry towel for the first 15 to 20 minutes of a dry cycle, it will soak up the excess moisture and help the clothes dry much faster. Just don't forget to take it out.
8. Don't stretch your sweaters
To avoid bumpy, loose shoulders on your sweaters, try this hanging technique: fold the sweater in half across the body, then place the hanger hook in the armpit. Fold the body and sleeves over the hook. Now it will stay in place, but won't stretch.
9. Resists the urge to wash after one wear
If you're like me and prefer to only wear "clean" clothes, it can be agonizing to wear the same shirt twice in one week. But shirt, undershirts, and pants can last a lot longer than we think before being washed.
Check you clothes labels to see which ones can avoid being washed every week.
10. Use two hampers
This is so simple but it's a handy time-saver: when you put away your dirty clothes, divide them between lights and darks. Now when it's laundry day your sorting is already taken care of!
11. Master the fold
You've probably seen video of Japanese organization master Marie Kondo's origami folding. It's not just stylish, these folds also keep your clothes in good shape. You can follow her techniques step-by-step with this guide.
12. Make your own dryer sheets
Or rather dryer balls. This handy reuseable craft will save you a lot of money on dryer sheets and keep your clothes feeling great. You can go even cheaper by balling up tin foil. These tin balls can be re-used, and help to reduce static cling.
13. Get stains out easily
Every type of stain has its weakness: hairspray and hand sanitizer can remove ink even after it sets in, hydrogen peroxide wipes off grass stains, cold water and hand soap scrubs away blood, and chalk and baby powder remove grease.
Okay, we don't expect you to memorize all that. Print out this clever diagram and keep it somewhere handy for the next tough stain you encounter.
14. Iron without an iron
The classic trick to quickly take the wrinkles out of a shirt is to leave it hanging on the door while you take a shower. If you have even less time, spritz the shirt with water and let it hang in the sunlight for 15 minutes. It may be a little damp, but it won't be wrinkly.
15. Wash your wool
As always check your clothing labels, but many people incorrectly assume that you can't wash Merino wool. You can, with no side effects for your clothes.
16. Fold your pants properly
To keep your pants from sliding off the hanger, trust the famously reliable Savile Row fold. Watch the video below to see how it's done.
17. Freeze your jeans
This trick is not for everyone, but a lot of people swear by it. The hardy denim your jeans are made of doesn't need to be washed, but you can still clean them by putting them in the freezer once a month. This will kill any lingering bacteria, plus makes it easy to scrub off small stains using a toothbrush.
18. Wash on cold water
Speaking of freezing, it's time you switched to cold water washing. The switch will save you about $60 per year on your electric bill, plus it's much gentler on your colors. You can even wash your dark and light clothes together. Just remember you'll need to switch detergents too.
19. Clean your machines
If they're not in tip-top condition how can they make your clothes nice and clean? Wiping out the lint trap is a start, but you should be paying more attention to your dryer's moisture sensor.
20. Don't bother lugging around your hamper
Redditor RedSquaree gave a gift to lazy people everywhere when he unlocked the secret of carrying your dirty clothes inside your dirty clothes. Give the man a Nobel Prize.
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