How to do Laundry: Laundry hacks and tips for making this everyday necessity a little bit easier!
I’ll admit it – my mom did my laundry until I went to college. I have no idea why she didn’t have me start doing it before then, but it is what it is.
Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t a spoiled child who never did anything – I had more chores than anyone else I knew, and I cooked dinner almost every night during my last few years at home! Laundry just wasn’t one of those chores.
When I went away to college, I remember texting my mom and asking her to send me step-by-step instructions on how to do laundry. I know, it’s so silly, but hey….it is what it is!
And I’ll admit, Forrest takes care of most of the laundry nowadays.
However, I do know how to do laundry – and it really is something everyone should know how to do. So, I thought I’d share some of my “wisdom” from over the years, some laundry hacks, as well as some tips for breaking from your “old school” laundry habits and learning a new approach to doing laundry using a simple “new school” laundry regimen from Gain.
Even if you’ve been doing laundry for the past 80 years, hopefully, you’ll find some new information. And if not? Make sure you tune into Colorado & Company on KUSA (channel 9 in Denver) this Friday, May 5th, where I’ll be sharing more tips and ideas, and letting you know how to get some new school laundry products for free!
Sort your Clothes
So, there are times when you are poor and you can only afford to do one or two loads of laundry. And because of this, you throw all your clothes in on the same load – stuffing the washing machine as full as you possibly can.
Or maybe that was just me.
Either way, I quickly learned the importance of sorting your clothes to separate the lights/whites from the dark colored clothing. This is especially important for new clothes. Clothes that have been washed three or four times will not likely significantly transfer their color to other clothing. I still separate clothing most of the time just in case there might be some slow, long-term color transfer.
Another tip for helping your jeans to last longer and keep their color is to wash them inside out. Don’t do like I did once and pour bleach into your darks. It didn’t completely ruin everything, but I did have these annoying light spots on some shirts I liked.
Do you need to wash towels separately? MYTH! Just throw them in with other cotton clothes.
However, if an outfit has lycra or spandex (like in gym clothes), they should be washed alone. If you throw them in with other clothes, it can cause breakdowns in the fabric and destroy antimicrobial and moisture-wicking qualities.
Warm water is generally better for dirty clothes and clothes with natural fibers. Cold water is better for more sensitive fabrics and extra dark colors that you don’t want to bleed into other clothes and fade.
Obviously, if you’re a poor college student with a limited amount of quarters and time at a laundry facility, cold water should be good (as long as your clothes aren’t too dirty). Cold water will make it a little safer to throw about everything in together if you want to do just one load.
Some people will tell you to wash with hot water, but I rarely, if ever, find this necessary. However, you should always read the labels on your clothing to see what they say – they are there for a reason and will help extend the longevity of your clothes.
The knobs and buttons will vary depending on the machine you use, but most machines will give you different options for the load size/water level. In general, we usually just use medium, since our loads are usually pretty full – but the clothes aren’t that heavy. If we are washing a bunch of jeans, pants, and/or sweats and hoodies, we usually go up a level or two.
We rarely use the small load level, but if you are just throwing a few things in the washing machine (perhaps just to get a quick stain out), you can go down to a lower level!
I know it can be hard to change your aundry approach, but sometimes it’s smart to trade in your “old school” laundry habits for some new ones. Detergent pacs like Gain Flings have the best qualities of liquid and powdered detergent – because they have oxi, detergent, and Febreze, they are the perfect one stop shop for dirt, grime and odor! Plus, you don’t have to worry about measuring out the correct amount – the pac already has the perfect blend! Just toss a pac into your washer drum before you add your clothes.
Also, make sure you throw in some Gain Fireworks Scent Booster beads at the same time you add your detergent pac. It really should be required for all loads of laundry…but if you especially need some, ahem, unpleasant odors neutralized, these do a great job. Plus, they keep your clothes smelling Gain fresh all day long.
Read the labels
I melted a polyester jacket in a friend’s dryer once. It ruined the jacket, and it got melted plastic all over the dryer. Plus, melted plastic just smells terrible.
There are a few different kinds of fabrics, and once you read the labels a few times you will have a pretty good idea of how to wash and dry most clothes. It’s always good to double check though, especially if it’s a newer type of material you are working with. Sometimes certain materials have to be hand washed or air dried, so it’s important for the sake of your clothing to make sure you are taking care of them correctly.
Don’t let them sit in the machine forever
I have forgotten a load of laundry in the washer before. If the clothes sit in the washer for too long, they will mildew and mold, which will ruin your clothes.
If you leave your clothes in the dryer to long they will wrinkle. If you don’t want to fold all of you clothes right away, lay them out flat in a pile.
It takes just a few minutes, and it prevents the clothes from wrinkling.
In the past, when I was in a hurry and I had a wrinkled shirt I would wet a towel and throw the shirt and the towel in the dryer for a few minutes. The heat and moisture helped get rid of the wrinkles while I did other things.
Take time to do it right
I joke about when we used to be on a pretty tight budget, and we didn’t always take the greatest care when washing our clothes. However, I want to emphasize that it IS important to take the time to take care of your clothes and wash them correctly. The average American throws away 65 pounds of clothes EACH year (well, unless you are me – I am just now getting rid of clothes from my freshman year of high school..ha!).
But really, how wasteful is that? By taking better care of your clothes, it will save you money in the long run.
I love that nowadays, there are so many options in the laundry department at the store – and really, many of them are quite affordable. For instance, the Gain line of products aren’t going to cost you your child’s college tuition to buy, but they are designed to not only clean your clothes, but protect them in the long run.
So take the time to sort your clothes. Make sure you use the correct temperature of water. Don’t skip the fabric softener in the wash (stick with Gain to complement the fresh scent of your Flings and Fireworks) – it really will help protect your clothes over time. Investing a little more time and money now will save you both of those things in the long run.
Here is a great “New School” laundry routine that you can easily implement – it incorporates tried and true products in a fun and innovative way to keep your clothes lasting long:
Step one: Use Gain Fling pacs – these have detergent, Oxy boost, and Febreeze freshness…no measuring required!
Step Two: Add fabric softener to your load for extra softness and to help strengthen the fibers of your clothes.
Step Three: Add in wash scent boosters to give your clothes an extra scent boost that will last all day long.
Step Four: Before you start the dryer, make sure you use a dryer sheet! This step helps prevent wrinkles and static!
Must-Know Laundry Hacks and Tips
- How to reverse shrinking
If your clothes shrink in the washing machine, don’t fret! Just soak them in some water that is mixed with a couple tablespoons of hair conditioner. After that, gently stretch the fibers in the article of clothing back out.
- Prevent Disappearing Socks
Does anyone else think the laundry machine eats socks? I totally think they do. You can prevent that by putting your socks in a lingerie bag when you wash them. I know we don’t love having to buy new socks when we can’t find any pairs!
- Remove Wrinkles and Static
First off, using a dryer sheet can help IMMENSELY with static and preventing wrinkles. So I think that should always be your first step – just toss one into every load you dry…two for extra large loads.
However, for those times that you forget your dryer sheets, here are a few techniques:
- Toss the wrinkled clothes in the dryer with a Gain fabric softener sheet and a wet sock for a few minutes to remove the wrinkles and static – this will also give your clothes a great scent.
- Put a few ice cubes in the dryer with the article of clothing in question for a few minutes
- Throw an aluminium foil ball in. Both are great solutions
- Filing instead of stacking
This is actually a technique that I learned from my friend Hilary – she wrote this great post about t-shirt filing. It makes a lot of sense!
Basically, instead of stacking your clothes in your draw, file them. It makes it easier to see what clothes are in your drawer so you don’t have to dig through them and displace everything while you are searching for the perfect shirt.
- Prevent Extra Odors – Wash Your Machine!
When you have little kids, you get enough funky odors on their outfits from their day to day activities. You don’t need your washing machine adding more! Did you know that if you don’t regularly clean your washing machine, it make your clothes smell?
Every six months, fill your washing machine with hot water, 3 cups of water vinegar, and a 1/2 cup of baking soda. Let that water sit for about 30 minutes, run the regular wash cycle, and it will be as good as new! Use left over vinegar to spray and clean the drum and seals.
- Prevent Running Colors
To prevent colors from running together, add 1/2 cup white vinegar to your load of laundry.
- Make Things Dry Faster
I can’t be the only one who doesn’t always give myself enough time when I’m drying something in the dryer! If you are in a big rush, you can put an extra, already dry towel in the wash – it will help absorb the water faster!
How to remove common stains:
Oil – chalk
Poop – there are so many techniques for this out there – my friend Katelyn wrote this post about four easy ways to remove poop stains. I think my favorite is using good ol’ sunshine.
Blood – hydrogen peroxide.
Chocolate – milk, detergent, and cold water.
Pen Ink – Milk.
Grease – soda.
Lipstick – baby wipes.
Grass – use vinegar.
Sweat – lemon juice.
Free Laundry Samples – This Weekend!
This next week, select Walmart Supercenters in the Denver Metro area will be handing out FREE samples of some of the laundry products I mentioned above. You can also pick up valuable coupons.
I will be heading to the Walmart on Parker Road in Parker, Colorado, so hopefully, I will see you there. The sample stations will be available from 11 AM until 4 PM. Here are the participating Walmart stores:
Walmart Supercenter 9901 Grant St. Denver CO (May 7)
Walmart Supercenter 60 W. Bromley Lane Brighton CO (May 9)
Walmart Supercenter 7101 E. 128th Ave. Brighton CO (May 4)
Walmart Supercenter 11101 S. Parker Road Parker CO (May 9)
Walmart Supercenter 920 47th Ave. Greeley CO (May 7)
The times for specific days are as follows:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday : 1:00pm-6:00pm.
Saturday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
To learn more about the new school way to do laundry with Gain products, visit www.walmart.com/
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.