Laundry can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it. If you have a large family that goes through a lot of clothes or simply dislike wasting your time removing stains and smoothing out wrinkles, there are some tricks you can do to make those tasks easier.
Doing laundry doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore. A little bit of ice, vinegar, a couple of tennis balls, and some aluminum foil (among other things) are great to have on hand to save you time and money. Check out these handy laundry hacks.
Use Baking Soda & Lemon Juice To Remove Armpit Stains
Armpit stains are the worst. But instead of throwing out a gently used white t-shirt because it’s a little bit yellow in the armpits, you can save the article of clothing with this simple hack. To remove ugly yellow stains, squeeze lemon juice onto the affected area. Then sprinkle on some baking soda.
This concoction will do the trick in no time. If the stain is particularly stubborn, put the shirt in the sun to dry for a little while and then wash it like you normally would.
Eliminate Wrinkles With Ice Cubes
Sure, you can iron your wrinkled clothing, but you may not have one. Or you may not have the time required. Yet, no one wants to look disheveled and leave the house in a wrinkled shirt or pants. The solution? Put a few ice cubes into the dryer with your wrinkled clothing.
Keep them in the dryer for about 15 minutes. You won’t need an iron because the steam from the melting ice cubes will naturally smooth out the clothing.
Use Baby Shampoo To Unshrink Sweaters & Other Items
People make mistakes, and that includes accidentally putting items such as sweaters in the dryer. Unfortunately, this can cause certain materials to shrink. However, there is a solution. Fill a sink with lukewarm water and some baby shampoo or regular conditioner. For wool items, you may need extra shampoo.
After 10 minutes, drain the sink, squeeze the sweater to remove the water, and place the item on a flat surface on top of a towel. Roll the sweater up to absorb as much water as possible, and then gently stretch the item. Then lay it flat to dry. It should retain its original shape.
Clean Your Lint Trap With A Ruler
Did you know that a clogged dryer vent is a major fire hazard? If you don’t want your home to go up in smoke, you need to make sure to clean the lint trap. This includes more than just removing the dryer lint from the trap screen.
You should thoroughly clean the lint trap by wrapping a ruler or paint mixing stick with a damp pillowcase or other fabric. Then stick it down the vent area as far as you can. Lingering lint will stick to the material, and you can simply remove it.
Use Cold Water
You can wash most of your laundry in cold water. The biggest benefit is it will save you money. About 90 percent of the energy used to wash a load of laundry is due to heating the water. If you simply switch from hot to cold, you can save as much as $40 annually.
Try it a few times to see if you notice a difference between washing in hot versus cold water. You probably won’t because washing machines are fairly advanced these days and don’t usually require such high temperatures to effectively clean your clothes.
Use Vinegar As A Fabric Softener Alternative
If you typically use fabric softener, you may want to try vinegar instead. Fabric softener contains a lot of chemicals that you may want to avoid. If you want to soften your blouses, pants, and pajamas more naturally, use one-quarter to one-half a cup of vinegar.
Add the vinegar to the washing machine along with your regular detergent. In addition to making your clothes feel more soft and fresh, the acid is also a bit cheaper than commercial products. Plus, it’s a good alternative if you run out of fabric softener.
Separate Socks In Mesh Bags
Anyone who has ever done laundry has managed to lose a sock or two. It’s unclear where they go and whether there really is a sock monster who steals them. If you want to keep your socks from disappearing, the best thing to do is to wash pairs in a mesh laundry bag.
Before you put your socks in the washing machine, simply toss them in the bag, close it up, and turn on the machine. Then throw the bag in the dryer. You’ll never lose track of your socks again.
Invest In A Laundry Folder
Some people have a knack for folding laundry, while other people do not. If you fall into the latter category, you may want to buy a laundry folder. These devices make it simple to fold your laundry into neat piles, which makes it much easier to put away.
Once you get into the routine, you can quickly go through your piles of pants and shirts. It will save you a lot of time, and you’ll love the uniform way your shirts and pants look in your drawers or closet.
Remove Oil Stains (Such As Pizza Grease) With Baby Powder
Some foods can be really messy, such as a greasy slice of pizza. And it’s not uncommon for that grease to end up on your clothing. Oil stains can be really challenging to remove and can completely ruin a good t-shirt and other articles of clothing.
However, you can get rid of these oily spots by using baby powder. Simply sprinkle the stuff on the oil stain, allow it to soak overnight, and then wash as usual.
Use Aluminum Foil Instead Of Dryer Sheets
Again, if you want to avoid the chemicals that are associated with certain cleaning products, such as dryer sheets, you can use a much healthier alternative. Instead of paying for dryer sheets, which have been linked to cancer, use aluminum foil instead.
You can ball up aluminum foil and put it in the dryer, and it will act as a static fighter. The great thing about this alternative is that it works really well, is reusable, and does not contain any chemicals. It’s also economical!
Sort Laundry Immediately
Many people have a lot of things going on in their lives, and it’s really easy to just dump all types of clothing and linens into one laundry bag. Then when you get ready to do the wash, you have to pick through it all to sort out the whites from the colored articles of clothing.
To make things simpler, buy a hamper that has divided sections. Put the whites in one area, and the rest of your clothing, towels, etc. in the other. You will save time and energy this way.
Use A Salad Spinner For Hand Washable Items
Some people avoid purchasing certain items of clothing because the instructions simply say, “Hand wash only.” It can be a real pain to clean these articles of clothing. However, if you must hand wash something, you can use a salad spinner.
Put the item in the spinner along with detergent, baby shampoo, or other gentle cleanser. The motion is more powerful than what you can do with your hands but it’s a lot more gentle than the washing machine.
Avoid Creases With A Pool Noodle
Drying racks are really useful, but they can also cause creases on your clothing, which can be a big pain in the you-know-what. One way of combating this is by using pool noodles. Simply cut one that’s the same length as the rack’s rods.
Then cut it down the middle to open up the center of the noodle. Finally, slip the noodle around the rod of the rack. This will prevent your clothing from creasing.
Add A Towel To Dry Clothes Faster
Sometimes you’re in a pinch and have to wash and dry your clothes quickly. But the process takes time, and there’s not a whole lot you can do if you want a clean pair of pants pronto. Or is there? This is one laundry hack that will definitely save you some drying time.
When you’re done with the wash cycle, put a clean and dry towel into the dryer with all the wet clothes. It will take a much shorter time for the load to dry.
Fluff Up Your Linens With Tennis Balls
It can be a pain to wash linens, including towels, comforters, and sheets (especially king-sized options). They’re hard to fold, very bulky, and tend to get compressed in the dryer. But there is a simple way to inject some fluffiness into these linens. All you need are some tennis balls.
If you want your sheets to be extra soft, two tennis balls will do the trick. They will rotate and move around the load of laundry, which will make your comforter and towels a little bit softer.
Get Rid Of Wrinkles With A Flat Iron
Not many people like to iron (although some may find it strangely therapeutic). It can be time-consuming to take out your ironing board and use it to remove wrinkles from a favorite outfit. Instead, try using a flat iron to smooth out the wrinkles. A flat iron is traditionally used to straighten hair.
The best part about this trick is that it’s great for traveling. Not many people carry irons with them, but you can easily slip a flat iron in your luggage.
Remove Stink By Putting Clothes In The Freezer
Have you ever been to a hibachi restaurant and come home smelling like smoke? Or maybe you hung out at the campfire, and your sweatshirt stinks the next day. Well, you can get rid of these odors by putting these items in the freezer overnight.
This solution will not get rid of bacteria; however, it will remove some of the smoke smell and other minor odors from your pants or blouses. This will enable you to wear the article of clothing at least one more time before it needs a thorough cleaning.
Keep Note Of Items That Aren’t Machine Washable
Not every article of clothing is machine washable. When you buy something new, make sure to read the tag, so you know the best way to clean it. Certain fabrics and materials such as silk and lace may require hand washing, or you need to take it to the dry cleaner.
Make sure to keep track of all the items that have special washing instructions. Write it down, so you don’t forget. You can make a handwritten list or use a dry erase marker and write it on the washing machine itself. That way, you’ll protect your delicate items and won’t have to deal with shrinkage.
Put Detergent In Soap Dispensers
Detergent bottles are very bulky and can take up a lot of space in your laundry room, depending on where you store them. They also frequently leak. If you want to get rid of these large, messy vestibules, use a soap dispenser instead.
You can mount a dispenser on the wall or simply keep it on a shelf or next to your washer and dryer. It will make the detergent much easier to access and keep your laundry area a little more organized.
Or Put The Messy Laundry Cap In The Washing Machine
As we just mentioned, laundry detergent bottles can leak and get very messy. So if you want to keep things a little cleaner, throw the cap into the laundry to wash it. This will remove the messy and sticky drips that make handling the detergent a little frustrating.
You don’t have to waste your time by wiping the detergent from the caps. Drop it in with the rest of your clothes (just don’t wash it with delicates). Note: do not put the plastic lid in the dryer.