Yesterday I spent the day at an amazing blogging conference in San Francisco called BlogHerPro. Since I was busy taking notes, mingling, and collecting swag (just kidding, no swag at this conference…which is fine by me…it’s always a dilemma how to get it home!)….I had NO time for working on a post for today.
When I finally got back to the hotel after attending a reception at the Zynga headquarters (any Words With Friends fanatics like me out there??) I started reading the comments from yesterday’s post where I asked you to share your laundry tips and I was floored! I honestly thought I had heard all there was to hear about how to do laundry…but as usual…you exceeded my greatest expectations…and gave me a great idea for a post for today! :-)
So I present to you “laundry tips from the PROS”….featuring YOU…the pros! Because in my opinion you ARE the pros…the ones down in the dirty trenches tackling the tough stuff (or having your significant other or kids do it! brilliant!) day after day. That qualifies for at LEAST pro ranking in my book!
For practicality’s sake, I went through all 300+ comments/tips/tricks and chose the ones that I haven’t already covered in previous posts and eliminated the ones that were basically repeats of earlier comments. I would love to have featured them all…but I know how valuable everyone’s time is….and that ever-growing “Mt. Washmore” and “Mt. Neverrest” of dirty clothes is waiting! :-)
Laundry Tips From The Pros…..YOU!
My favorite laundry tip is to have my husband do it! ;)
My tip would be to pretreat any spots you see prior to washing. If the spot does not come out after washing, do NOT put it in the dryer – that will set the stain. Instead, try another method of pretreating the spot after allowing the garment to air dry.
I also use white vinegar on those hard to remove greasy spots on kitchen towels or dark cotton shirts that I have laundered & dried and then see a dark spot of the shirt. I usually spray the spot with spray-n-wash AGAIN and then rewash adding white vinegar to the wash cycle.
My favorite tip is while sorting the clothes, make sure you zip up all zippers and unbutton all buttons. This keeps the zipper from snagging on anything. It will also keep from stretching out the button holes and pulling the buttons loose.
If you have hard water, add two boxes (about 3 lbs) or 1 bag (about 7 lbs) of baking soda, and one large box of water softener. Then use 2-3 tablespoons. It will begin to even take out old stains after a few washes.
I have my husband tie the sleeves of his dress shirts in a knot if there is a stain – I know to look for it before throwing into the washer!
My favorite laundry tip is to double spin every load. We have a Fischer and Pakel washer that does it for us, but if you don’t, just flip it on spin again. This makes a HUGE difference in drying time for your laundry, resulting in a lot of saved energy!
My favorite laundry tip is to NOT use the dryer in the winter. I hang all shirts (and most pants) on coat hangers from my spare bathroom shower curtain. Undies, socks, some pants, and toddler’s clothes all are hung on a drying rack over the floor heating vent. This helps lower my electric bill (by about $30 a month!), is better for the clothes, and help humidify my home
To keep my sheets from balling up in the dryer, I find the center of the sheet (more or less) and hold it up so that all four corners hang down and more or less meet together (sort of like a parachute). With the sheet draped like that, I then put it in the dryer on its “side.” It truly does keep the sheet from balling up and dries much more efficiently.
My favorite tip is when cleaning a shower curtain to use dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and a towel. The shower curtain comes out spot free.
I use my Fels Naptha as a stain stick. When I make my own detergent I leave about a quarter of one of the bars unshredded. Just wet the stain, and rub with the “stain stick” and wash like usual. Has worked wonders on any kind of stain I’ve come across…especially my daughters white soccer uniforms.
I keep an old toothbrush by the washer, and use my homemade detergent “glop” which I rub in, and then brush with the weave and back and forth (never around) to get most tough stains right out. I also have a nail brush for those big stains.
My favorite laundry tip is to pour boiling water over juice stains while they are still fresh. The stains just disappear!
My tip is to dry my tops/pants about 20 minutes and then hang them to dry on a clothes rack. In winter this is a bonus humidifier.
My favorite “tip” for laundry is to get your kids to do their own laundry and towels as soon as they are able. It takes the focus off “Mom” and onto their own ability to care for their own need for clean clothes.
The best thing I have ever done concerning laundry…..I started keeping the spray bottle of stain remover in the bathroom where I get undressed for bed. If anything has grease or stains on it, I spray the stain remover on it right then.
Kelly @ Semi Homemade Mom
My laundry tip is to fold as soon as the dryer is done! I wish I practiced this more, but when I do it’s so much easier to keep on top of Mount Washmore. :)
My tip is when I change out the homemade dryer sheet I stick to the inside of the dryer with some double sided sticky tape (kinda like the Bounce Bar) that way it is always in there and I dont have to hunt for it everytime we need it!!
SAFETY PINS!!! First of all, I have my husband and kids safety pin their socks together at the top after they take them off. No more missing that one sock that people claim their machines ate. Also helps sort those dark blue and black socks that are almost impossible to tell apart until your husband gets to work and realizes they don’t match. Also I hate wearing socks that have faded differently. This method keeps them together forever! Second, use them to pin the spot where the stain was before you wash the item. Then you can easily find the “spot” to see if it is gone before you put the garment into the dryer.
My tip: use a lingerie bag for infant socks so they don’t get lost. Put the socks in the bag as soon as you take them off. The bag goes right from washer to dryer….no more missing those tiny little things!
I hang a “washer in use ” sign when doing this chore even if I am the only one doing this job in our home. I get easily distracted and this notice keeps me from forgetting a load and then having to deal with the sour smell of a forgotten wash load.
I always use less than half of the recommended amount of detergent for each load. I have 4 kids who are hard on their clothes and they still come out completely clean! This is an easy way to save 50% on laundry detergent! It also prevents detergent build up which makes dish cloths, towels and cloth diapers collect bacteria and become smelly.
My favorite laundry tip is to soak dirty grass stained baseball or football uniforms in about 1 cup ammonia to about 1 gallon of hot water for 1-2 hours (tops!) before laundering in the washing machine. Do not leave this overnight as it will break down the threads of the clothing if left longer… Trust me.. been there.
I use Fels Naptha for a stain stick too! I rub the spot with it then dip a tooth brush in peroxide and scrub lightly. It gets dark red lipstick out of my daughter’s white cheer uniform with no problems at all. Also gets those stains that I missed and have already gone through the wash.
One of my fav tips is to use shampoo on collars…gets that dirty ring out better than anything else I’ve tried because shampoo cuts body oils.
I take Sundays for laundry day. The house is clean from the scrubbing it got on Saturday. And I can sit in my jammie pants, watch an old movie on TV, and just fold warm, clean-smelling clothes.
Dry your nice work clothes for 1 minute on hot heat then hang to finish drying. No ironing needed!
My best laundry tip is to buy a dry erase marker, glue a magnet to it and keep it attached to the washer or dryer. My oldest daughter checks the washer and dryer lids for notes in the after school and my husband checks for notes in the early morning. That way they know if the washer is full or needs filled, or what type of clothes are in either one. It’s helped to save several items from ruin as well by labeling the washer with ” pink sweater needs to air dry flat” or “no bras in dryer!”.
My favorite laundry tips are: cold water wash, cold water rinse…it won’t set stains if you forgot to pre-treat a greasy stain (provided you don’t put the item in the dryer).
My other tip: don’t overload the machine! Overloading the machine means the agitator has to work harder and water and detergent can’t properly “slosh” through your clothes to clean them. Or rinse out the dirt and soap properly.
Whenever a pair of pants goes into the hamper, I check all the pockets, then zip the fly. When it comes to laundry day, if they’re already zipped, no worries, and if they’re not zipped, I know to check if there’s anything. Solves two problems at once and a pretty easy process.
My favorite laundry tip is using corn starch/baby power/baking soda/flour (ie: whatever I have on hand) to absorb an oil stain off of clothing. Just rub the dry power into the stain, add a little extra powder after rubbing and let sit for at least a day. If it doesn’t remove it completely the first time, you can keep doing it over and over again. Works for me!
At the end of the day, I sit down and fold all of the day’s laundry at once while watching my favorite tv shows. The laundry gets folded, and I have absolutely no reason to feel guilty about watching a little TV.
My favorite laundry tip is using dawn for greasy stains. I put dawn on the grease spots and then pour boiling water through the back of the shirt. Hint: do this only if you are sure the fabric can handle it. Like not your best sweater :). Works beautifully.
Fold the clothes directly out of the dryer. I fold everything and put into individual piles on top of the washer. No baskets of laundry to be left until later. Everyone comes down and gets their own clothes to put away or else I’ll put at their place on the kitchen table. No more clean clothes thrown all over bedroom floors.
My tip would be to keep your laundry area clean and organized; and you might also like to add some decorative touches or make your own cute labels if you make your own products. I find that this creates a more peaceful mood around doing this chore, and I think I feel even more energized as a result.
My laundry tip is to add the detergent as the washer is filling with water. Let it disperse in the water and then add the clothing. This will yield cleaner clothing.
Treat stains from the BACK! I like to turn them over onto a white towel. I lay the clothing on it, stain side down, and treat it from the back. Doing it from the front can drive the stain deeper into the fabric. You can check the towel to see if the stain is still coming through until there are no more ‘spots. Then treat from the front, throw it in the washer. I’ve found that this is a much better way of getting them out with less work.
Some of my favorite tips are to air dry as much as possible, year round. We dry outside in the summer and inside in the winter but if we have a nice day I’ll hang stuff out in the winter. (We live in Michigan) Next is my homemade pretreater. One part liquid laundry soap (I use Era), one part white vinegar, one part ammonia and one part water. I mix in a squirt bottle and put some in a spray bottle. Spray, scrub and wash. I have used it for 20 years and it was a life saver when our kids were little.
My laundry tip of the day is to never use bleach with water hotter than 75 degrees. It will leave a film on your clothes or not be as effective because it starts to break down the chemical makeup of bleach itself. Sometimes you even see black flakes or black balls in your laundry after you’ve used bleach with hot water, that is why.
My best laundry tip is to shake out each piece of clothing before it goes in the dryer as this will greatly reduce or eliminate wrinkles. Obviously this only applies to shirts and pants unless you really like wrinkle-free underwear. :)
My tip is to use an old electric toothbrush head for stain removing. Just put the stain remover on the spot, pull the material taught & use the toothbrush on the spot for about 30 seconds, coming at the stain in different directions. That should work to remove the stain. Of course, be careful with the fabric you use on this tip, you don’t want to do this with delicate fabrics.
My laundry tip is to add a dry towel to your dryer load to cut down the drying time.
My tip is to hang all your slacks and jeans to dry. I sometimes have then hung all over the shower, dining chairs, etc. But it helps keep the color, and the fit! There is nothing worse than shrinking a good pair of jeans.
Laundry tip: have a sense of humor…it really helps. My husband has been asking me for years, “are you planning to climb Mt. Neverrest today? I need socks.”
I make my own laundry detergent. For those DIYers out there who do the same, if you like your laundry to be scented, but perhaps your hubby doesn’t want to smell like flowers… or you want your work clothes to have an energizing scent and your bedding to smell relaxing… customize each load with a few drops of essential oils. Citrus for energy, lavender for calmness, sandalwood for your hubster…or whatever your personal favorites are for each of those.
Keep a bank (not a see through one to tempt you to spend it) on the washer, when I find change in pockets I make a deposit. When it gets full the money gets split between the “laundry staff” (me). Also when ever my plastic fabric softener cup (or cap) gets a build up I toss it in with a load.
Lastly, if I get really backed up on laundry, I go to the coin laundry. It is expensive, but I learn a lesson and move on (this rarely happens anymore). Then I don’t feel so overwhelmed.
Here is a last ditch effort laundry tip. I got a spot of olive oil on a brown shirt that I love. I didn’t know the spot was there until after it came out of the dryer. I tried EVERYTHING, including vinegar, dawn, etc. The shirt sat for almost a month and then I got a “bright” idea. I took the whole shirt and submerged in in a cup of olive oil (cheaper stuff, not evoo) and let it sit for a couple hours. Squeezed it out and rinsed it in the sink and then put it through a regular wash and it was finally gone! I know this was extreme, but I really love that shirt and now it is as good as new!
To get the ground in dirt out of white (ONLY WHITES) baseball pants, football pants or sports socks, I use a powdered rust remover called Iron Out. Do NOT use this on colored clothes!!!!
My favorite tip/idea is to do the laundry by person or items. I wash all the son’s clothes/husband’s/mine/etc by themselves, it helps when it comes to sorting out clothes, especially socks. It has saved me loads of time! (pun intended ;)
Unless you want to post to Australia I can’t go in the giveaway, but my tip for my husbands greasy clothes (truck driver) is to put a cup of Coca-Cola in with the first water! It doesn’t go sticky and you can’t smell it, but the acid in the drink eats the grease away! Safe to say we never drink the stuff, it’s place is in the laundry only. :) Really works!
For greasy spots I use dry face mask type clay on both sides of the fabric asap after getting the stain. If I’m not at home, I try to put corn starch or flour or even powder on the stain. Once the oil is soaked up by the dry ingredient, it easily washes out.
I buy only one brand and style of black socks. No need to match them when they are all the same. (and I don’t buy navy socks at all)
Teach kids how to wash their own clothes. I got tired of hearing everyone complaining about their stuff getting mixed up with someone else’s or being washed with their brother’s “nasty” clothes (I have 1 son and 3 daughters)…so my solution was everyone gets to wash their own clothes!! Worked like a charm. : )
My favorite laundry idea is to keep a lint brush near the dryer and if I notice any pet hair or lint I can take care of it right away before the clothes go in the closet.
My family has alot of livestock and runs a feed business. They get “grease” type stains on their t-shirts from carrying feed bags and working with animals. I put a dap of Lestoil on the stain and rub it in, then scrunch the piece into a ball and let it sit for a few hours if I have time. After washing with my homemade detergent the stain removes easily, even manure stains. I only use cold water and air dry everything.
I abhor ironing, so I make sure not to overload or leave clothes in the dryer after it stops running. Sometimes I don’t get to them quickly enough. I keep a spray bottle with water in it to mist them garments and hang them on hangers. Space them out to dry. No ironing needed!
My tip – If anyone complains about the way I wash the clothes, then they are on their own! Hubby does his own work shirts after complaining that I was “shrinking all of them” in the dryer.
I use Lestoil on my kids’ clothes when they get paint/grease/tree sap/mud on them. Which is way more often than you would think. Pinesol and a stiff plastic bristled brush also take out dried latex house paint from clothes. Don’t ask how I know that. :)
I used to own a dry cleaners so I have a couple of tips not listed above.
Tip 1: Never rub a stained area, you run the risk of ruining the fibers, tamp gently up and down with the brush instead. Your goal is to push the stain remover into the fibers, not to rub the stain out.
Tip 2: Several people have mentioned not overloading the washing machine. It is just as important to not “under load” it. A large part of the cleaning process is the clothes rubbing against each other.
Tip 3: Proper sorting is the best way to keep your white clothes white. My ratty old white tee shirts are still white as new because I never ever wash anything but whites with whites. It is the transfer of fibers or lint from colors (even light colors) to whites that dull them most often.
Tip 4: It is the food you have dropped on your clothes that moths lay their eggs on. Then their babies eat the food and accidently the fabric too. Winter coats are most often moth eaten because they are most often hung up without being cleaned. Always have them cleaned or wash them at the end of winter.
Tip 5: Take your clothes out of the plastic bag that the dry cleaner puts over them before you put them in your closet. The bag is only meant to protect them until you get them home. That plastic is not acid free. If it gets wet from a water leak or a humid home it can damage your clothes.
My favorite laundry tip is color coded hangers. Mine are pink. Hubby’s are white, son’s are blue, black, and green. It makes laundry sorting so much easier.
Get some HANGER CLIPS. These are small curved (Like a regular hanger) top with a CLOTHES PIN base. They are GREAT for clipping small items like kids stuff you needed to hand wash. These can be found at RV/camping places…also GREAT for travel! I use these on my curtain rod; shower rods; towel rods or even a door knob will work!
A dryer rack is only bulky when SET UP. Otherwise it folds almost flat! And using it is priceless but—the trick is to find SPACE!!! Set it up in the shower stall or bath tub, or in a spare room; the garage; the breezeway.
OK…I know it’s still a LONG LIST….but I simply couldn’t cut it down any more. There were THAT many good ideas! Can’t wait to try some of these myself! Thanks everyone for contributing (and for helping me with today’s post after a VERY long day yesterday!)