Our 7 Favorite Tips for How to Do Laundry Fast & Well
Many laundry tips seem to assume you have infinite time and patience for laundry. We get it, you’re busy and laundry isn’t your primary job or joy. You want to get it done, do it right, and move on. There are ways you can be more efficient in your laundry workflow that make this inevitable part of adulting a little easier.
The best part: these tips don’t require you to don an apron, whistle while you work, or pray to mysterious laundry gods for success. Hack your laundry routine with these simple adjustments and improve your life.
1. Smaller Laundry Loads are More Efficient
Do laundry more frequently and in smaller loads. Here’s why:
- Washers clean clothes better when there is room to move around inside the machine. Washers agitate or tumble items to create friction and remove dirt. You also need room for the detergent to disperse throughout the load.
- You’ll wash like items together, which is better for them. Remember that one of the important steps of laundry 101 is to sort your clothes. This will create smaller loads and ensure that you’re washing the items according to their optimal care instructions such as water temperate and washer setting.
- You’re more likely to finish. Smaller loads are easier to handle psychologically. It’s easier to motivate to fold and put away a smaller load than a mountain of clothes.
- Washers adjust water usage. . If you’re worried that smaller loads means you’ll use more water, that isn’t true in most cases. Front-load washers use sensing technology to adjust water usage and other machines allow you to choose the load size so you use less water and optimize performance.
2. Use a Mesh Laundry Bag to Keep Socks Together
Seriously, a mesh laundry bag is an underrated laundry hack that everyone needs. Previously called “lingerie bags,” these life and laundry savers are for so much more than bras and undergarments. They’re great for any items with small straps or strings that can get tangled around other items, and they’re essential for keeping socks mated to their partners to save you time matching.
Mesh laundry bags come in various sizes. Keep one next to your laundry bag or hamper to pre-sort items directly into the mesh bag prior to laundry day.
Pro tip: Put all dirty socks into a mesh laundry bag, zip it up and place in the washer with your other clothes. Toss the entire mesh bag into the dryer and when you remove it, your socks are still together and not lost. Instant upgrade!
3. Turn Dark-Colored Items Inside Out to Prevent Fading
Turn dark-colored items inside out as you add them to the washer. This allows the detergent to get to the inside of the garment (that absorbed dirt and odor from your skin) and protects the outer surface from fading and pilling.
Pro tip: Wash dark colors in cool or cold water to reduce fading and use a color-safe, non-chlorine bleach to boost brightness and help with stain removal.
4. Tie Drawstrings Before Washing to Keep them In Place
The drawstrings in sweatpants, pajama bottoms, hoodies, or other items with drawstrings can come out of their channels during the wash cycle. No one has time to fish the string back through the hole, and you may end up tossing the item or removing the string in frustration.
Prevent this from happening by loosely tying drawstrings together as you put the item in the washing machine. Check to make sure they’re still tied before tumble drying. This will also keep the strings from wrapping around other items and creating a twisted tangle you don’t want to see when you open the machine.
5. Use Baking Soda or Scent Boosters to Deodorize Smelly Clothes
Keep a box or shaker bottle of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda near your laundry hamper, in your laundry room, or with your laundry supplies.
- Sprinkle baking soda into a stinky laundry hamper or gym bag to deodorize items when you can’t wash them right away.
- Add ½ cup baking soda to the drum with your clothes. Learn more about this technique to get clothes extra clean.
- To infuse clothes with a pleasant scent that lasts, try ARM & HAMMER™ Clean Scentsations™ In-Wash Scent Boosters
6. Add Ice Cubes or a Damp Towel to Unwrinkle Clothes Left in the Dryer
As much as we mean to pull clothes out of the dryer right away, sometimes we forget. The result? Wrinkles. Here’s a hack to help “steam” the wrinkles from your clothes in the dryer quickly and easily.
- Open the dryer and toss in a handful of ice cubes with the dry, wrinkled clothes. Alternatively, take a hand towel, run it under the sink to get it damp but not soaking, and add to the dryer with the clothes.
- Set the dryer’s timer for 5 minutes or use the “wrinkle release” or “quick fluff” setting.
- Remove the items promptly this time! You got a do-over!
7. Use a Laundry Booster for Heavily Soiled Items & Hard Water
About 85% of Americans have “hard water” coming through the pipes into their home. Hard water has minerals that can be great for drinking water but not-so-great for washing laundry.
Minerals such as calcium and magnesium in water can interfere with how effective a laundry detergent is at cleaning clothes. If you have hard water, be sure to use a liquid detergent such as Arm & Hammer™ Plus OxiClean™ Fresh Scent to get the boost from the nonionic surfactants that are resistant to water hardness.
Other tips for doing laundry with hard water:
- Increase the amount of detergent you use. More detergent means more cleansing ingredients to help counteract the minerals’ interference.
- Add a laundry booster to help improve detergent performance and get clothes cleaner. Try ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda for a powerful cleaning advantage. Here’s how to use it.
The Only Hack for Folding Clothes You Need: Just Do It
You’ll probably see many hacks about folding clothes and the perennial debate about folding vs. rolling items. There are different techniques for folding clothes, but it really comes down to this: fold clothes (however you do it) right away, as the items come out of the dryer.
Here’s why: if you don’t fold and put away the clean clothes, laundry time is never really done, and that can make you annoyed or unmotivated. The best hack for folding clothes is to change your mindset about it.
- Count folding clothes as part of your overall time to do laundry. Don’t just count the time the clothes are in the washer and dryer. Leave yourself 30 minutes after the dryer is done to remove, fold, and put away the clothes. It probably won’t take that long, but the change in expectation will help you have the buffer to get it done within the time you allotted, and to feel good about it.
- Folding clothes right away reduces wrinkles. Taking the time now saves time (and frustration) later!
- Don’t give in to the temptation to toss items into the basket and “fold later.” You always have the best intentions, but you know they just end up on the bed or in the “is it clean or dirty?” game. When items are folded, you know they’re clean.
- Put folded clothes where they go immediately after folding. Whether it’s a closet, dresser, shelf or milk crate, put your folded, clean clothes away so they stay clean and are ready for the next wear. It only takes a few minutes and when you shut the door or drawer, you’re truly done!
Pro tip: If you don’t have hangers and space to hang in your laundry area, drape items that need hanging over your shoulder as they come out of the dryer. Finish folding other items then head to your closet or wardrobe to put the items on your shoulder on hangers. They’ll be less wrinkled and easier to hang individually this way vs. balled up in the basket.
Get More Tips & Tricks to Become a Laundry Pro
Here’s 6 More Tips for a successful laundry day.
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