100 Things To Know About How To Do the Laundry contains Amazon affiliate links. I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you) from purchases made through my affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own. All recommended products are based on my personal experience.
Having an empty laundry basket is the best five minutes of my week! As a mom of four, I have to tackle dirty laundry almost every day.
I have dealt with a lot of laundry challenges: cloth-diapered babies, sports-loving kids, muddy-pawed pets, and a husband who thinks it’s okay to wear nice clothes while he works on the car. For almost 20 years, I have been trying to perfect my laundry routine. Yes, I’m old.
Whether you are just learning how to wash laundry, or have years’ of washing experience, I hope you’ll find a useful laundry tip or try something new based on my recommendations.
A good laundry product can be a sanity saver! Check out My Favorites listed throughout the article below.
General Laundry Tips
- Always read the labels. They will say whether the item should be washed in a washing machine, hand washed, or if it should go to a dry cleaner.
- Know your laundry symbols. Download a helpful guide to decoding laundry symbols.
- Pre-treat stains as soon as possible. Use a stain remover spray or stain stick so they will be easier to remove.
- Avoid set-in stains. Launder stained clothing as soon as possible.
- Do not overload your washing machine. Too many items stuffed inside the washer will not wash or rinse properly.
- Check and empty pockets. Before putting them items in the washer, check pockets for gum, Kleenex, lip balm, pens, etc. These items can potentially ruin a load of laundry.
- Unbutton shirts before washing. Fastened buttons can cause button holes to tear in the washing machine.
- Examine washed laundry for stains. If the stain didn’t come out, do not put it in the dryer. The dryer’s heat will set the stain and make it even harder to deal with. Try again to remove the stain while the item is damp.
Best Stain Remover Products
9. The Best Way To Get Blood Out of Clothes: Use Hydrogen Peroxide Stain Remover
Simply apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and watch as the red blood stain disappears. Reapply as needed to get rid of old or stubborn stains. After the blood stain is removed, rinse the area with cold water to remove any remaining peroxide.
Avoid Smelly Laundry
10. Do laundry frequently.
11. Never place damp clothes and towels in the hamper. Allow everything to air dry completely before tossing into the hamper or you risk your laundry developing stinky mildew.
12. Don’t let clean, wet laundry sit in the washing machine. Wet clothes can mildew quickly.
13. Clean your washing machine at least monthly. A stinky washing machine can make your laundry stink.
14. How To Clean a Washing Machine:
Remove odor- and bacteria-causing residues by wiping inside the washing machine drum with a household cleaner. Run a hot wash cycle with a half cup of baking soda OR a washer cleaner like Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner tablets.
How To Remove Smell From Gym Clothes
15. Wash sweaty workout clothes after every use.
16. If you can’t wash sweaty workout clothes the same day, avoid mildew by allowing the items to air-dry before you toss them in a hamper.
17. Use a laundry booster in addition to regular detergent in the wash cycle. For eliminating odor, try adding a half-cup of white vinegar or baking soda to the wash cycle. An enzyme product works, too.
18. Use a sports detergent. A sports detergent is specifically formulated for technical fibers and synthetic fabric, so it works much better than regular detergent to remove odor and stains from your workout clothes.
19. Never use liquid fabric softener on workout clothes. Fabric softeners coat fibers that trap body soil, bacteria, and odor.
20. Get rid of lingering smells on workout clothes with a vinegar soak.
21. How To Vinegar Soak: Mix one part white vinegar to four parts cold water. Submerge your workout clothes and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes before washing. If laundry day is several days away, place the clothes in the vinegar/water solution for a 30-minute soak. Rinse clothes with plain water and allow to air dry before putting them in the hamper.
How Do You Use Tide Pods or Laundry Pods?
22. Laundry Pods make laundry day faster and easier. No more measuring laundry detergent. No more messy spills.
23. Laundry Pods go directly into the washing machine drum – NOT the dispenser.
24. Tide Pods can be used in HE or regular washing machines. Check other brands’ packaging to see if they can be used in your type of washing machine.
25. The number of laundry pods necessary depends on the load size. Check the package directions. Use 1 Tide Pod for regular size loads (When the drum is around half full, you have a regular load wash.)
26. For larger or heavily soiled loads, go ahead and use 2 Tide pods. For extra-large size loads, go ahead and use in 3 pods.
27. When you are ready to do a load of laundry, take the laundry pod(s) out of the container with dry hands. Put the pod into the wash before adding clothes. Place clothes into the washer on top of the pod(s). Select and run the wash cycle.
28. For best results with pods fully dissolving and rinsing, make sure your wash cycle runs at least 15 minutes.
How To Wash Clothes To Keep Them Looking New
29. Turn clothes inside-out before washing to keep them looking newer longer. The “right side” of colored clothes will fade less. Plus, the outside of clothing items won’t get as much friction action during the wash process.
30. Air drying clothes will keep them looking new the longest. The dryer action puts more wear and tear on fabric fibers.
How To Separate Laundry
31. You can sort laundry according to your personal preferences. Most common practices are to separate laundry by color (lights and darks), fabric weight, and fabric type.
32. You don’t have to sort laundry.
33. Wash lights and darks together to save time, energy, and money.
34. Separate White Laundry From NEW items of colored laundry to prevent unwanted color transfer and fading.
35. Regular White Clothes get cleanest in Warm Water.
36. Wash jeans separately on Cold Water to keep them from fading.
37. Wash jeans turned inside out to further prevent fade.
38. New items made bleed dye, so wash separately in cold water.
39. Wash Towels separately and use half the amount of laundry detergent for normal loads. Too much detergent can stiffen towels.
40. Wash Towels in Warm or Hot Water on the longest cycle. Hot water does the best job at eliminating bacteria.
41. DO NOT use fabric softener or dryer sheets on towels. Fabric softeners coat fabric fibers and reduce the absorbency of towels.
42. Put socks in a mesh laundry bag so they don’t get lost in the washer.
43. Separate laundry items by weight. Wash heavy fabrics (like cotton) with other heavy fabrics and lightweight fabrics (like synthetics) with other lightweight items. This helps out in the dryer as the items should dry at a similar rate.
44. Separate delicate laundry items such as bras, pantyhose, and underwear. Wash separately on recommended temperature.
45. Clean delicate items in mild, gentle detergents made for fine washables such as this delicate wash from The Laundress.
46. Place delicate laundry items in a zippered mesh bag before you put them in the washing machine. This helps limit wear and tear on your delicates.
47. Mixed loads (light and dark colors) work best if items have already been washed multiple times to lessen the risk of dye transfer.
48. Toss a Color Catcher sheet in the washing machine with mixed wash loads. Color catcher sheets absorb and trap loose dyes in your wash water. This protects clothes against color bleeds and helps preserve original colors.
Tips For Washing Colored Clothes:
49. Remove clothes from the machine as soon as cycle finishes. Allowing colored clothes to sit in a washing machine may cause the colors to leech onto other items.
50. Test for Colorfastness. If you have any doubts about the colorfastness of an item, test it or wash it separately.
51. If you have a color bleed or dye transfer, don’t let it dry. It may be possible to fix! Wash the items again with detergent and a color run remover like Carbona Color Run Color Remover. Be sure to remove the offending item from the wash.
Tips For Washing White Clothes:
52. The best way to retain whiteness is to launder white items together in the warmest water the fabric will tolerate (Check the fabric care label.)
53. Choose detergent with a bleach alternative and/or enzymes.
54. Revive dingy whites by adding an optical brightener to your wash cycle. Optical brighteners, aka “bluing agents,” add a trace of blue to yellowed or dingy whites. Recommended: Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing
55. Keep your white clothes their brightest by using a laundry detergent designed for whites.
56. Dry whites on lower heat temperature. Heat can scorch fabrics, turning them yellow.
57. Add Borax to the wash cycle. Borax is an all-natural way to soften hard water, remove residue, and boost detergent. It works great for whitening whites. Follow the directions of the box.
58. Clean your washing machine at least once a month. The washing machine needs a regular cleaning, thanks to build-up of detergent, fabric softener, dirt and dead skin cells.
How Much Laundry Detergent To Use
59. High Efficiency (HE) Washing Machines use less water, so putting in too much laundry can soak up all the water so there isn’t enough to completely dissolve the detergent.
60. Always check the dosing instructions of the detergent you’re using.
61. Keep laundry detergent amounts at or below the recommendation for your load size, especially when using high-efficiency (HE) or concentrated detergents
62. Like any household detergent, keep laundry detergent out of reach of children.
63. Save money on laundry detergent by watching for coupons and sales. Stock up at these times!
64. Not all laundry detergents are created equal. It is worth it to pay more for high quality detergents that perform better.
Tips For Hand Washing Clothes
65. Use a salad spinner to get excess water off hand-washed items before hanging or laying them flat to dry.
How To Get Urine Smell Out of Bedding and Clothing
66.Remove urine odors from clothes and bedding by using an enzymatic cleaner. Soak items in an enzyme cleaner according to package directions.
How To Use Fabric Softener
67. For softer clothes and less static cling, use fabric softener in your washing machine and/or a dryer sheet in the dryer. Read product labels for manufacturer’s amount recommendations.
68. Add the recommended amount of fabric softener to the machine’s fabric softener dispenser before you begin washing clothes.
69. If the machine does not have a fabric softener dispenser, use a dispenser ball. Simply pour liquid softener it into the ball, seal it, and drop it into the washing machine. The ball then automatically releases fabric conditioner during the rinse cycle.
Tips For Drying Clothes:
70. Dry cottons separately on high temperature.
71. Dry synthetic fabrics separately on medium or low temperature.
72. Place mixed weight fabrics (cotton and synthetic) all together in the dryer and take the synthetics out as soon as they are dry because the synthetics will dry faster than the cottons.
73. Thicker towels and heavy clothing such as jeans take longer to dry, so be sure to dry them thoroughly each time to avoid mildew and smells.
74. Clean the dryer’s lint trap after every use. This will help reduce drying time. Plus, lint can clog vents, which is a fire hazard.
75. Reduce static cling by removing items from the dryer before they get over-dry.
76. Do not overload your dryer because the air will not be able to circulate evenly. This may result in laundry items coming out of the dryer wrinkled and damp in areas.
77. Drying two loads back to back is more efficient than drying them at different times because the machine heats up only once.
78. Speed up drying time by adding a clean, dry, fluffy towel to your dryer cycle. It helps absorb extra moisture.
79. Prevent bulky items like bedding from intertwining in the dryer by pausing the dryer cycle, removing the items from time to time, and shaking to unfold any clumps before putting the items back in to finish drying.
80. Shake out clothing and laundry items before putting in the dryer to make sure no two items are clumped together. This helps items to tumble better and avoids wrinkles.
81. Hanging clothes to air dry will help them last longer.
82. Hanging white laundry in the sun to dry can naturally bleach them.
83. Drying clothes in the dryer can cause clothing to fade faster and set any missed stains.
84. Dryer sheets fight static cling and add scent to your laundry. If you don’t want to add scent, you can opt for unscented dryer sheets.
85. Have a pet? In addition to softening your clothes and preventing wrinkles, dryer sheets help keep pet hair and lint off your clothes.
86. Hang and fold your clothing right when it’s finished drying in the dryer so you can iron less or avoid ironing entirely.
87. It’s easy and cost-effective to make your own Homemade Dryer Sheets.
88. How to Make reusable DIY dryer sheets using your favorite liquid fabric softener: Mix an equal amount of fabric softener and water in a lidded container. Add a few clean white washcloths and allow them to soak. When you are ready to use a dryer sheet, simply wring out one of the washcloths and put it into the dryer with your wet laundry. Run the dryer as normal. Once the clothes are dry, toss the washcloth back into the container for next time.
89. Dryer balls reduce drying time, which saves energy and money.
90. Dryer balls soften clothes without added chemicals. You can save money by using dryer balls as an alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
91. Dryer balls can last several years before they need a replacement.
92. Tennis balls can be dryer balls! Throw two or three clean tennis balls in the dryer with wet laundry and it will dry faster.
Eco Friendly Laundry Tips
93. Wash full loads. This helps avoid wasting water and energy on smaller loads.
94. Use cold water for every load. Most of the energy a washing machine uses it for heating water. Washing in cold water saves tons of energy. Use a cold water detergent for best results.
95. Switch to natural laundry detergents. Most plant-based laundry detergents work best in cold water. Win-win.
96. Switch to eco friendly dryer sheets or skip them altogether. Conventional dryer sheets may be made with chemicals that release toxins into the air. Look for environmentally friendly dryer sheets to reduce these harmful emissions.
98. Use reusable dryer balls. Clothes dry faster without added chemicals.
99. Hang clothes to dry. This saves energy and helps clothing last longer so you don’t need to replace it as often.
Finally, the 100th Thing To Know about How To Do Laundry
100. Stay Organized! Keep a shelf, caddy, or cart in your laundry room to organize everything you’ll need to do laundry (detergent, stain removers, dryer sheets, etc.) Keep it within arm’s reach to avoid wasting time or misplacing products.
If you have read this far, you deserve a day off from doing the laundry! Thank you. I would love to hear about your laundry tips and product recommendations in the comments section below.