For most of us, doing laundry is a task that we do not put much thought into. It doesn’t take much brain power to recognize a pile of laundry, and move it from the floor into the washing machine. But perhaps it’s time we take a second to think about the simple ways we can extend the life of our favorite clothes, while saving money and the environment as well. Follow along for the top 10 laundry hacks that can save your clothes!
10. Try to minimize dry cleaning
Did you know that constantly taking your clothes into the dry cleaners isn’t in the best interest of your wardrobe? Often, the treatment can be damaging to your clothes over time. When possible, try lessen your trips by spot-cleaning stains and recycling outfits. Your clothes, and your wallet, will thank you.
9. Make your loads smaller
Even though it may make your errands move along more quickly, stuffing washing machines with as much as you can fit will not end up with the cleanest of clothes. The garments need room to move around in the detergent and water, and being confined in a tight space means that the soap can not reach every stain. Take the extra time and do your laundry right so that you don’t wind up with a half-clean shirt!
8. Figure out the correct ways to sort
Though most people know to keep their darks and whites in separate laundry loads, there are other important sorting criteria to be aware of. In addition to sorting by color, you should also sort by level of dirtiness and by fabric type. Fabrics that need a longer dryer cycle should be kept away from delicates that perhaps don’t need as much heat. And, on the same note, extra soiled items that need a more rigorous washing cycle should be kept from those that might not need the unnecessary harsh cleaning regimen.
7. Discover the magic of dryer balls
Dryer balls offer the same results as dryer sheets, but are reusable and therefore much less wasteful. By adding the small plastic balls to your dryer loads, you will reduce static and soften the fabrics. For an even more frugal solution, try balling up aluminum foil to replace the store-bought dryer balls.
6. Close those zippers
If you leave zippers open, the sharp teeth can catch on other items and quickly begin to fray your clothes. Having the foresight to double check that your zippers are safely closed can save you from finding small holes on your favorite sweater. It is also important to leave items with buttons, unbuttoned. This practice will minimize stress on the threads holding connecting the buttons.
5. DIY stain removals
There are a million tips out there for everyday household items that double as great stain removing substances. Hydrogen peroxide works best on grass stains. Baby powder and chalk both work great on grease-based stains. Club soda is a good place to start for a fresh red wine stain. Before resigning yourself to tossing out a stained garment, do a quick internet search – the answer may be in your kitchen cabinet!
4. Pay special attention to your dark items
To make sure that you are keeping your dark jeans and sweaters the same color as you purchased them, wash them in inside out, in cold water. It is also best to hang these items to dry, and save them from the harsh dryer heats. By keeping a close eye on your clothes that are most likely to bleed, you are also saving your lighter clothes from absorbing their color.
3. Hang dry
When in doubt, hang dry. If you are afraid of an item shrinking in size, hang dry. If you are afraid of an item fraying or otherwise being damaged, hang dry. Once an item has these flaws, it is impossible to regain their original integrity. Dryers, though insanely convenient, can be the place where the most damage occurs.
2. The power of white vinegar
Adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to your wash load can be another great alternative to wasteful dryer sheets. This practice should help your clothes come out static-free, lint-free, and much softer. And while this may sound gross, just know that by adding the vinegar at the beginning of the cycle, your clothes shouldn’t end up smelling like vinegar.
1. De-wrinkle with ice cubes
Did you finally finish all of your laundry, only to find your favorite top is still incredibly wrinkled? Throw it back in the dryer, and add a few ice cubes. The steam from the melting ice cubes should help boost the de-wrinkling process, and after about 15 minutes you should have a wearable garment.
It’s sad to think about the money we have have wasted and the clothes we could have saved had we had known these tips all along. There are many laundry mistakes that are easily avoided if you know what to look out for. Follow these simple rules and know that you are treating your clothes with the best care possible!