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Top Laundry Tips and Tricks

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Laundry…the never-ending chore. Even with just myself and my husband we got through a lot of laundry. He works two jobs, each requiring a different uniform. I go through fewer clothes because I work from home unless I am going out, but still accumulate a lot of laundry. Here are some laundry tips and tricks that will help you wash your clothes the best way possible and may even save you some money!

Updated 10/05/2021

How to Wash Your Clothes

Washing your clothes starts with sorting the clothes correctly, washing them, drying them, and putting them away so they are ready to clothe your family in a way that shows off your domestic skills.

How to Sort Your Clothes

While it may be tempting to throw all your clothes together in one load, it is not recommended. Darker clothes can bleed and discolor other clothes.

  • Color. First sort clothes by color. You should have 3 color groups, dark, medium, and light.
  • Fabric Type. Wash heavier items, like towels, separately from lighter-weight clothes to prevent abrasion and damage to finer fabrics. Also, wash knits and lingerie in different loads.
  • Dirtiness. If you have some clothes that are overly dirty, wash those in a separate load. This is so you can pre-soak if needed and run on a longer cycle.

While these are best practices, sometimes with older clothes that I know are not going to bleed I will throw a load together of mixed items.

Some people like to sort their dirty clothes before they wash them in a partitioned laundry hamper. I live in a small apartment so I just don’t have room for that. Plus, my hamper was a gift from my wedding shower, it has lasted almost 15 years so I am not changing it now.

Tips for Washing Clothes in a Washing Machine

  • Turn Your Clothes Inside Out. I don’t do this to all my clothes but I do this with t-shirts that have designs on them, jeans to keep them darker longer, and clothes with Velcro so they don’t snag other clothes.
  • Lingerie Bags. Use lingerie bags to put lingerie in, especially if you have them in a common load of laundry.

How to Dry Your Clothes

My current living situation does not have the space to use a clothes line so I am dependent on my clothes dryer. I much prefer line drying and share my tips for both methods.

Tips for Drying Your Clothes in a Dryer

  • Clean the Dryer Vent. Do this every load. First, it prevents the airflow from getting clogged, and most importantly it prevents fire.
  • Clean the Exhaust Duct and Dryer Hose. You should clean your dryer hose with a brush once a year, and inspect the vent for any blockages at least every 6 months.
  • Shake Out Your Clothes. When transferring clothes from the washer to dryer, shake out your clothes. It makes drying time faster and helps prevent wrinkles.
  • Don’t Overload the Dryer. Clothes need room to tumble and let air flow between them to adequately dry.
  • Use Dryer Sheets or Dryer Ball. Use dryer sheets to help keep your clothes smelling fresh. Dryer Balls can be reused many times. I usually use my dryer sheets 2 times before I pitch them.
  • Remove Clothes Promptly. This is the part that I struggle with the most, lol. When I have it together I immediately take the clothes out, hang them up, fold them, and clean the basket out.

Line Drying Tips

For quite a few years I did not have a dryer due to having a really small apartment, so I line-dried my clothes. In the summer, I prefer line drying because it saves money and takes less time, especially here in Florida.

Here are some tips I want to share to make the process easier.

  • Buy the Correct Clothes Line. Use vinyl-coated cording made especially for clotheslines. Vinyl coated cording is also easy to wipe to prevent soiling of your clean clothes.
  • Shake the Clothes Out. Shake out the items before hanging them up to help prevent wrinkles. They dry faster too!
  • Hang T-shirts Upside Down. Hang shirts by the hem and hang them inside out to prevent the design from fading. That way, any marks left by the pins get tucked into your pants.
  • Hang Pants and Skirts by Waistband. Pin pants and skirts from the waistband so the clothespin marks will be in a less conspicuous spot.
  • Get Rid of Lint and Pet Hair. A damp hand or soft cloth will remove any lint or pet hair that doesn’t come off in the wash

More Laundry Tips and Recommendations

Make your own laundry soap. I do this every once in a while. You basically end up paying pennies per gallon. You can make it powdered or liquid.

Use less detergent. Make sure you pay attention to the line on the cap. A lot of companies put the line halfway up the cup, knowing you are going to fill up the cup regardless. Take an extra second and measure it out. It will stretch out the soap a lot more than you realize!

Coupon for Detergent. Many Detergent companies have printable coupons you can use. Pair the coupon with a sale and you save so much money!

Wear clothes more than once. This is especially true of jeans and sweaters. Wearing clothes more than once will also extend the life of your clothes.

Pay attention to tags when buying clothes. Dry cleaning can take a lot of money. My solution is to not buy many clothes that need to be dry cleaned. I also make sure to note if something needs to be hand washed.

Use regular soap for delicates. Despite what they tell you, using regular laundry soap will not ruin your delicates. Woolite is not needed.

Learn natural stain fighting techniques. I don’t think I have ever bought a stain fighter. The Humbled Homemaker has a great resource of lots of homemade stain removers. Sometimes the best action though is taking care of the stain as soon as it happens and checking the stain between washing and drying. Drying the item can make the stain set and you may never get it out.

Learn Basic Washer/Dryer repair or know a friend who knows it. I am not ashamed to say that my washer and dryer were freebies off of Craigslist. My husband had to replace a hose on the washer and I think he also had to replace some small parts elsewhere. I think we ended up paying $15 in parts. The dryer we got just needed a vent. Also, make sure you keep your dryer vent cleaned out.

Only do large, full loads. Get the most use out of your washer. Each load, small or large, uses the same amount of electricity so you might as well get your money’s worth.

Wash in cold water. I only use cold water for my laundry. Haven’t had a problem with it. 90 percent of the energy used when washing clothes is just for heating the water.

What other things do you do to keep laundry costs down?

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