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13 No-Nonsense Laundry Tips That Will Make A Huge Difference

laundry tricks

As of this year I’ve been blogging for a full decade, and laundry has been a focus of mine from the very beginning! Keeping a household up and running and staying on top of laundry often go hand in hand, especially for those of us who fulfill the role of CHO, or Chief Household Officer. :-)

There isn’t much variety involved in doing laundry, which can make it a somewhat tedious chore. For that reason, I’ve always been interested in finding ways to improve the laundry experience by making it faster, easier, or more efficient.

And while some of the laundry tips I’ve share over the years are quite specific (like the best way to remove blood stains, for example), I’ve found that it’s the more general tips and tricks that tend to save me the most time and energy. So today I wanted to share some of my top game-changing laundry tips with all of you, so we can all work smarter, not harder, when it comes to keeping our clothes and linens clean!

13 Smart Laundry Tips That Will Save You Time And Money

laundry tricks

1. Know Your Laundry Symbols

Those mysterious little symbols on the tag inside your clothes can tell you exactly how to wash and dry that item—you just have to know how to read them! The easiest way to interpret laundry symbols is with the help of my Laundry Symbols Cheat Sheet, which is free to download and print.

Keep a copy somewhere in your laundry room (I taped mine to the inside of the cupboard door directly above my washing machine) so you can reference it quickly to make sure you’re washing your clothes the correct way.

laundry tricks

2. Wash Expensive Items Carefully

You get what you pay for with certain items of clothing, and that’s especially true for bras. If you’ve invested in a quality bra, then you probably want to get your money’s worth out of it!

The best way to ensure your bras and other expensive items last as long as possible is to wash them carefully and correctly. But the good news is that it isn’t all that difficult or time-consuming to wash your bras and other delicates properly!

Related: How to Wash Silk Safely!

laundry tricks

3. Maintain Your Washer & Dryer

And speaking of protecting your investments, major appliances like your washing machine and dryer are definitely investments worth protecting too! Keeping them in tip-top shape is as simple as giving each of them a good deep cleaning at regular intervals.

Give your dryer a tune-up to cut down drying times, save money on your power bill, and most importantly, avoid a potential house fire! And deep clean your washer to eliminate grimy buildup inside the machine that can impair its ability to keep your clothes clean.

laundry tricks

4. Cut Down On Drying Time

From saving money on electricity to plain old impatience, there are plenty of valid reasons you may want your laundry to dry in less time! And luckily for us, there are couple of laundry tips that make it easy to do just that.

Adding several wool dryer balls to your dryer along with each load will improve airflow and help your laundry dry faster. Another simple option is to add an extra spin cycle to the end of a wash cycle. More spinning means less water, and less water means faster drying!

laundry tricks

5. Use Fast Folding Hacks

If you dread the monotony of folding laundry once it comes out of the dryer, learning a few folding hacks can speed up the process considerably. Check out my favorite way to fold a t-shirt quickly, a fast folding hack for fitted sheets, and my helpful folding guide for time-saving and tidy folding tips!

laundry tricks

6. Never Lose Another Sock

We may never truly understand the dimensional disturbances or metaphysical phenomena that cause socks to disappear from our washers and dryers forever. But at least we can ensure that it never happens again, simply by choosing one of these three foolproof ways to stop losing socks!

laundry tricks

7. Iron As Needed…

Keep a towel on top of your washer or dryer for quick ironing jobs. There are lots of times that I just need to iron a hem and I don’t want to drag out my ironing board, so I just toss the towel over my dryer and iron away!

You could even keep a hair straightener handy to quickly sort out unruly collars and cuffs. And for those who are really short on space, like in small apartments and dorms, a made bed makes a suitable ironing surface too!

laundry tricks

8. …Or Avoid It Altogether

Avoid ironing all together by whipping up a batch of your own homemade wrinkle release spray! Just spritz it onto wrinkled items, gently stretch the fabric to release the wrinkles, and then let the item air dry.

laundry tricks

9. Wash In Cold Water

Conserve energy and save money by washing the majority of your laundry in cold water. Hot water is great when you need to dissolve tough residues or eliminate bacteria, but for most everyday loads that are lightly soiled, cold water works just fine!

laundry tricks

10. Air Dry Often

Air drying your clothes is another simple way to save energy and money! If you don’t like that stiff, starchy feel that air dried clothes sometimes have, throw your clothes in the dryer for 5-10 minutes, then hang them to dry the rest of the way.

In the winter, air drying your clothes inside can help combat dry air from your heating system, especially if you put your line or drying rack near one of your heating vents.

laundry tricks

11. Know When To Wash

Should you be washing your clothes more often, or could you stand to wash them a little less frequently? You won’t know the answers until you find out what those guidelines actually are! Learn how often you should wash different items so you can adjust your laundry habits accordingly.

laundry tricks

12. “Dry Clean” At Home (Option #1)

You may not need to make the trip to dry cleaners for every piece of clothing that’s labeled “dry clean only.” Learn how to determine which of those items you may be able to clean at home, plus how to wash your “dry clean only” items safely.

laundry tricks

13. “Dry Clean” At Home (Option #2)

Another way to cut down on dry cleaning bills is to make a homemade version of Dryel dry cleaning cloths! These special at-home dry cleaning kits are sometimes available in the laundry aisle at the store, but you can easily replicate it at home and save yourself the money (and the trip to the store!)

Want More Laundry Tips And Tricks?

What are the best laundry tips you’ve ever learned?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • Great laundry tips. I’ve used the wrinkle release spray a lot. I also have 2 of the travel size wrinkle release bottles. I just refill them from my big spray bottle before I go on trips. It’s worked great. Really nice when staying with family and don’t want to mess with ironing , also at hotels or other places.

  • Does anyone know how to remove old nail polish from a cotton duvet cover?(whispers “please say yes, please say yes!”)
    Thank you!

    • Eileen, you can put rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and dab the stain and that should remove it. You can also try hairspray if you don’t have alcohol. Good luck!

  • FYI I have pinned my socks together for years. But, I buy the safety pins in the craft section that do not have the curlyQ on the end that often get stuck in the sock.

  • My mom learned the hard way not to use safety pins in the washing machine. One came loose, got into the inner workings of the washer, and caused an expensive repair. The appliance repairman said that safety pins should never be used in the washer.

    • I agree NOT to use safety pins. I use a mesh bag, which come in varying sizes. Use one mesh bag for each member of the family and they can fold their own socks…………….

      • I’ve been doing that for years. I put each person’s initials on the corner of the bag (color coded ).

  • In some areas of our country, the temperatures dip to below 32 and are often down into the single digits, in which case the water will freeze in the lines to your washer, so use warm water when those temperatures drop.
    When the weather is warm, sunny, and breezy, I hang my wash on a clothesline.

  • Hi jillee. I’ve recently made a batch of your homemade laundry detergent and LOVE IT. No more smelly workout clothes or towels! Just a quick question on the detergent and using cold water. Does the homemade detergent dissolve well enough when using cold water?
    My washing washing (overseas) does not have a warm or hot option – it’s cold or nothing and I’ve been boiling water to dissolve it then adding that to the wash load. Thanks!

    • Sarah, I am so glad you love the detergent as much as my team and I do. There is no need to boil the water. I use the detergent in cold water all the time. It dissolves great in any temperature. :-)

  • The Very helpful and informative blog.This blog and hicare helped me a lot in providing information that helps me in home cleaning in a very easy manner.You must go through their blog for easy daily life tips and tricks. And also follow them for amazing blogs.

    • Using two or three (depending on load size/fabric) balls of crumpled up foil is great, too! When you need new foil balls, just recycle! Foil is inexpensive and doesn’t irritate allergy-sufferes, or interfere with your parfum/ fragrance.

  • Hi-Lo to all! I have been doing laundry for over 50 years now and have gone from using an old wringer washer & wash tub to my HE washer! One thing I have not seen anyone mention is wash load size/weight…if your load is too heavy, it cuts down on how clean your clothes will be! Never over stuff your washer or dryer to save time…4 or 5 pair of adult jeans, 8-10 towels depending on size, one change of bedding NOT everything at once, separate blankets from sheets & pillow cases, separate quilts…overtaxing your appliance wears them out faster, doesn’t save on drying time or washing time!!

  • I do the brief stint in the dryer AFTER I line dry as a way of fluffing, softening, and shaking out pollen and bugs that might collect in my clothes while hanging outside. (Also to finish off any damp patches that might remain; I actually try to bring them in before totally dry so the last bit of moisture creates a softening burst of steam.) Also, I never iron: for my husband’s button-down shirts–even his dressiest ones–I hang them upside down, pinned at each side seam and overlapping the button placket, so that the shirt is stretched as flat and level as possible. The action of flapping in the breeze while drying somehow makes them virtually wrinkle-free and when they are almost dry I simply slide a hanger in between the buttons (I only button the collar and 4th button) and then hang it up. There are never any more wrinkles than my husband puts in them in the first thirty seconds of getting dressed!

      • Jillee–Here’s a laundry tip–Don’t sort by colors, sort by dryer load temperature. Color catchers and today’s color fast clothing eliminate worries about fabric dyes bleeding. The bigger issue is keeping all the Low Dryer Temperature clothes in their own load, the heavier fabrics that need High Temperature drying together, and even an Air Dry load can be separated out. Today’s clothes are more likely to be damaged by the dryer than the washer. We put all the shiny nylon sports shorts and tops in one load, for example, cotton jeans and slacks together, bath towels and sheets together, etc.

  • One thing I occasionally due with heavier fabrics that take longer to dry is if there’s a clean towel by the dryer to put the towel in with the load. This really helps to speed up the drying process. I also keep a bottle of Febreze in our hall closet. It’s great for if I get all sweaty at work. I can just spray stuff like my bra with, instead of having to wash.

  • Thank you for all your wonderful tips! I have just recently moved out with my fiance in our new home and your website is an absolute joy to read and follow! Thank you for all the work that you put into writing and sharing your amazing ideas! I look forward to reading more :)

  • I just read your instructions on cleaning front loaders and I just wanted to mention that I have had one for seventeen years and I have managed to keep the moldy smell out by wiping the door and putting a rag in the rubber part to soak up the water that accumulates there during the wash. After eight hours I remove the rag and keep the door open for twenty four hours. There have been times where I will put in a few cups of baking soda before closing the door, that helps with any smell and is there for the next load.

  • Since I was in High School (which has been over 20 yrs now). My dad would always pin his socks with a safety pin & I use to make fun of him, but now it’s not so funny. I make my husband do the same thing & it saves tons of time.

  • Thanks for the tips! Washing most of my laundry in cold water seems like a great tip to help me save money. I’ve always wondered whether it’s best to wash all of my clothes using hot or cold water. It’s helpful knowing that I only need to wash things that need to be disinfected so that I can save on the amount of hot water that I use in my house.

  • Is there any way to whiten clothes that have started to get a little dingy-looking with age? Specifically those with nylon or other non-cotton fabrics. Thanks, Jillee, your site is always loaded with great information!

  • I love this! There are so many wonderful tips! I have to admit….I have a guilty laundry pleasure. When I fold and put away laundry I always watched the Datelines or 20/20s I have recorded. It keeps me from losing my mind! Having two little babies mean soooooooooo much laundry!

  • Hi Jillee – thanks for the great laundry tips. The one that caught my attention the most was about the bra washing. I worked in a bra company here in Canada for 21 years – 8 of those in the complaint department and everything you wrote about fitting, washing and drying is exactly what every woman should do to keep their bras longer. I even sell personalised embroidered mesh bags and mesh bra bathers in my Etsy shop – for the bra bather https://www.etsy.com/listing/121701632/embroidered-bra-bather-lingerie-gentle?ref=shop_home_active_1&ga_search_query=bra
    and for the mesh bag https://www.etsy.com/listing/107237182/embroidered-lingerie-gentle-wash-bag?ref=listing-shop-header-1 – these make great gifts and saves the bras. If I may also add a tip of my own – never use bleach on white bras – I use to have consumer call me complaining their bras had turned different shades of grey after putting them in bleach – they thought it would keep them white. Bleach also ruins the elastics. :)

  • IKEA sells white and black laundry hampers. It’s pretty self-explanatory for my 2 younger boys and my husband. :) They’re maybe $12 per hamper. For my oldest son, my daughter, and myself, we have a regular hamper for darks and a small mesh pop up for whites. It absolutely makes washing easier because not only do we not have to sort, but I can have them load the washer themselves.
    I also like to wash like clothes. For instance, when my husband has 2 loads worth, I wash all the shorts together and then a 2nd load of all tshirts. Same for the kids. It’s easier to get into a rhythm when folding like items.
    One last thing that I find helpful for my own laundry is to keep a stain spray in my closet next to my hamper. That way I don’t have to go through everything on wash day. I spray any stains or sweaty areas before I throw it in the hamper, which also allows the spray to fully penetrate the stain before washing.

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