Everyone has their own personal list of most and least hated chores. Sometimes, if we live with family or friends, we can split up the housework and offload some of the most distasteful jobs to members of the household who may not despise said chore as much as we do. In the end though, things gotta get done, so we’d best do the things as well and as efficiently as we can, saving time and hassle so we can pursue some of the more fun things in life. Doing the laundry, for my taste, encompasses the best and worst parts of housework. Throwing stuff in the machine and dumping a cup of detergent in the receptacle, then pressing the buttons: Regular cycle - beep! Water level – beep! Go now – beep! Now that’s some good, clean fun! On the other hand, when the washing and drying is done, my nemesis rears its ugly head – folding. Ugh, I know I need to face this irrational prejudice at some point, but for now I’d like to just avoid the topic altogether. Let’s talk about the cleaning part a little more – specifically, we’re going to share 5 tips to help you get your lights lighter, your brights brighter, save your clothing items from fighting in the wash, and eliminate some of those most embarrassing stains!
- Use Mesh Laundry Bags
One of the most terrifying things in life is seeing what your favorite clothes have been doing to each other for the hour or so they’ve been bathing together. Sweaters, dress shirts, slacks, all in a tangled mess as if they’ve been trying to choke the life out of each other. Items get warped and stretch out, and extra effort is expended in detangling everything. Avoid this. Get a set of mesh laundry bags of various sizes and trust me, laundry life will be but a dream for here on out. These will also prevent your clothing items doing chafing damage to one another while in the wash.
- Choose the Right Temperature
It’s often thought that to get things clean, you need HOT water. But that’s not necessarily so, and in some cases, you want to use lower temperature for delicate fabrics, and colored items that may tend to bleed color. Don’t forget using cold water saves money too!
Warm water is good for more heavily soiled items, while hot should be reserved for whites, towels, bedding and heavily soiled and durable fabrics, especially those with oil or grease stains.
- Detergent: Less is More
Now this tip was a revelation to me. I admit to typically being a “more is more” kind of person, so I was surprised to learn that using too much detergent actually hampers your efforts! Superfluous detergent creates too many suds, which can interfere with water getting into those stains and lifting them out. Try using half to two thirds of the amount directed on the detergent box, and see if you don’t get the same or better results while saving money at the same time!
- Catch Stains in the Act
One of the most painful lessons I’ve had to learn in my laundering journey is that when things get messy (and with me they often do – what can I say, I eat with gusto), you need to attend to the issue on the spot – pun intended! Wet the stain right away, apply some stain remover, soak and repeat if necessary, then get the item into the wash. That’s going to give you the best chance of eliminating the stain completely.
- Dry Cooler
Last but not least, take a moment to consider that if you’re using a high heat setting on your dryer in the interest of getting your clothing nice and bone-dry (understandable) and / or saving time, you may be doing great harm (relatively speaking). High heat can shrink clothing items, damage delicate fabrics, and fade colors more quickly. On top of that, drying on high heat is more costly and environmentally unfriendly. So cool down and be patient – use medium heat and your clothes will thank you.
There’s more to teach, and to learn, about becoming a laundry master, but start with just these 5 tips and you’ll have the vast majority of your washing woes behind you!