Nobody likes doing laundry. Even if we have laundry machines in our own home, we rarely have the motivation to get up and actually do it. Part of the issue is that no matter how old we are, we still run into the occasional issues with our laundry. Sometimes our colors still bleed together somehow, sometimes we have particularly tough stain we can’t get out or sometimes our clothes just don’t come out as fresh as we’d like them to be. Fortunately, we’ve collected a master list of tips and tricks to help take your laundry game to the next level. With no further ado, here are 55 expert laundry hacks to help you when it’s time to do your laundry.
If you use a drying rack for some of your clothes, you may notice that some of them still have a few creases when everything is said and done. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to take those out that costs very little—it only takes a little bit of ingenuity. All you have to do is buy a pool noodle, cut a slit in the side of it and fit it over the drying rack. When you pull your clothes through it, the noodle will press the wrinkles out!
Though they can also make your clothes smell nice and fresh, the main purpose of dryer sheets actually has to do with reducing static electricity when your clothes come out of the wash. Fortunately, you can also achieve the same effect with a small piece of balled up aluminum foil—and you can keep reusing it for up to six months. Who knew?
If you have your own washer and dryer, you can do your own mini wash and dry cycle using only a dryer sheet and an ice cube. Simply throw in whatever lightly used piece of laundry you have, add an ice cube and a dryer sheet and let it run for about 10 minutes. When it comes out, it should be fresh and good as new!
This might seem a little counter-intuitive but it actually makes a lot of sense on a basic level. If you’re in a hurry and you’re trying to quickly finish your laundry, the dry towel will help suck up some of the additional moisture of the load. Additionally, it will come out dry again with the rest of the laundry—win win!
Though you can wash all kinds of different clothes together, drying is a little bit different. Sometimes you’ll want to hang some items, dry some on a cooler temperature or let others air dry. To remember what to do when the washing is done, write a little list of items on top of your washer between loads. When you’ve done it, wipe it off and it’ll be good as new.
One of the most annoying things about doing laundry is that pouring out the soap by hand can make a mess on your machines. Half the time, we have to throw the soap cap in the washing machine along with our clothes just to get it clean again. To avoid this, try mounting some dispensers on the wall and filling them with soap. This way, everything should be smoother and cleaner in the future.
One of the most irritating things about laundry is how many socks we tend to lose. Assuming you’ve at least collected all the socks and not lost any getting them to the washing machine, there’s the next step of pairing everything up again at the end! To make this process way easier, get a small mesh bag and put all your socks in it. Wash the socks in the bag and dry them in the bag—this way they’re all in one place.
This one is a little unusual, but let’s be honest: carrying around a wicker laundry basket that’s completely full is a huge pain. If your kids have a couple extra toy cars lying around, try supergluing a few of them to the bottom of the basket. This way, you can roll it around on flat surfaces to make your life just a little bit easier.
Although some kinds of wool demand that you be more careful with them, merino wool is actually fine to put through the wash with other clothes. To be safe, put it through on a more delicate cycle. Still, this material is actually treated in a way that protects it from a basic wash.
Although we might assume that it’s fine on its own, your washing machine actually does take on some wear and tear from having dirty clothes in it all the time. Every once in a while, it pays to take some cleaning products and a rag to wipe out the inside incase there’s anything happening in there. Trust us: your clothes will smell all the fresher for it.
If you wear undershirts a lot (or other shirts that you’re particularly fond of), you’re liable to get some yellowish underarm stains on at least some of them. Fortunately, you can take these out pretty easily with a simple mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. Mix it into a paste and rub it into the stains, letting it sit for an hour. After that, wash as you normally would and your clothes should be as good as new.
Suede can be an annoying material to wash and keep clean. As it turns out, suede is particularly absorbent when it comes to annoying stains and dirt. To get these spots out, you can use a nail file or emory board and lightly work it along wherever the stains are. If done moderately, you should be able to grind the dirt out without hurting the fabric.
Though many of us use dryer sheets to soften up our clothes and add some freshness to them, they also come with some drawbacks. Dryer sheets use a lot of chemicals that aren’t the healthiest for our bodies. If you want to avoid that problem, try adding a little bit of vinegar to your stiff fabrics instead. The chemicals will soften up the fabric and even take out any lingering odors.
Some of the hardest stains to get out of clothes are deep grease stains that have begun to set. Although there are definitely limits to what you can do in the worst cases, one great trick is to rub some chalk on the grease stain to help it absorb out. Let the chalk soak in, scrape off the excess and then run it through the wash—it should work like a charm.
Though a lot of clothes are treated in a way to help the colors stay vibrant, tons of washing can still make your clothes lose some of their luster. To help prevent this, try throwing a handful of salt crystals in the wash—apparently the chloride in salt helps to prevent fading.
Much like grease stains, ink stains are particularly hard to get out of clothes. As it turns out, there’s an easier way to get these stains out by spraying them down with some hairspray. All you have to do is spray the stain, let it soak in for about 10 minutes and then put it through the wash as you normally would. If you don’t have any hair spray handy, this technique will also work with a little bit of hand sanitizer.
The worst feeling ever is when you accidentally wash a piece of clothing too hot or that wasn’t supposed to be washed… and it comes out way smaller than it went in. Though we may be tempted to think that that piece of clothing is ruined, think again—you can actually use normal hair conditioner to bring it back to normal size! All you have to do is soak it in a tub of lukewarm water and hair conditioner for a while before taking it out and stretching it. If done correctly, your clothes should be as good as new.
If you’ve got a lot of white clothes that are starting to turn a dull color, try boiling some slices of lemon in water. When it’s boiling, turn the heat off and add your whites to the bucket. Let it soak for about an hour and wash like you normally would. When they’re done, they should have some of their old color back.
As a kind of opposite white-strengthening trick, you can also add about two cups of tea or coffee to your black clothes to strengthen their color as well. Though you should definitely not do this with other colors (even very dark darks), the coffee or tea can give your blacks a little more dark coloring.
Though this trick requires you acting quickly, you can actually take out tomato stains by hanging your wet clothes up in the sun. The trick is to wipe off all the excess and soak the spot. If you put it out in the sun, the sunlight should do the trick of taking the stain all the way out on its own.
Lipstick stains can be a pain because they smear so easily and can quickly get worse. Instead of taking them out by any normal means, try balling up a slice of white bread and blotting the stain instead. For whatever reason, white bread does the trick where other methods fail.
As sinister as this one may sound, all of us have had at least one tiny blood stain on a shirt of ours at one point or another. These can be tough to take out without the right techniques as well. As it turns out, the best way to take them out is with some cold water and some hand soap—though this works mostly when the blood is still wet. If it’s dry, use hydrogen peroxide instead.
As always, some of these techniques work best when the stains are still forming. With that in mind, if you pour a little bit of club soda on a wine stain and dab it with a paper towel, you can usually take the entire thing out.
For the best laundry results, washing all your colors differently is the best way to do it. Still, nobody wants to sort out all their laundry after the fact. Instead, the best way is to get everything partitioned away is to sort it into baskets immediately when you take it off. When you go to actually wash it, it’ll be a cinch.
Everyone knows that a sweater with a lot of fabric can absorb a lot of water… and thus take quite a long time to dry. As it turns out, there’s a trick to speed up this process. Instead of just putting them how you normally would, lay your sweater out on a dry towel and roll it all up tightly like it was a yoga mat. Press it slightly and throw it in the dryer. When done correctly, it should get dry a lot faster.
Sometimes a situation arises where you’re in a pinch and you need to get a clean pair of undies done immediately. Although you could throw them in the dryer, if you don’t have enough time, you can also wring them out and then put them through a salad spinner. If you do it for a few minutes you should have a wearable pair for whatever hot date you’re going to.
Although you usually put the softener directly in the machine, you can also cut it with water and put it in a spray bottle. The perfect ratio is roughly 10 parts water to one part fabric softener. Spray down your fabrics and iron them and you should be good to go.
Drying always takes longer than washing but there are still ways to speed the process up a little bit. Much like putting a dry towel in with your wet clothes, you can also buy some wool dryer balls to put in with every load to speed the process up. Try it out!
Though it sometimes makes sense to extend your wash time when you have a heavily soiled load, most of the time you can get away with a shorter cycle. If it’s all clothes that are lightly worn or it’s just not that big, you can wash them for only six to eight minutes to speed things up (and save on bills).
Some people like to use dryer sheets to soften their clothes (and to add a little fragrance), but the cost of constantly buying them can add up. To get your dollar to go a little further, why not cut each one in half before throwing it in? It works essentially the same way and you’ll get twice as much out of it.
When you’re sorting through your clothes, you probably going to find things in the pockets from time to time—and a lot of the time, that includes loose change. To keep it all in one place, have a jar right in the room to collect all of it! At the end of it all, you can use it to buy more laundry supplies.
Much like the other tricks involving dryer sheet alternatives or dry towels, tennis balls also work well to cut down on static electricity and to absorb moisture. When you add them to a load with a big blanket, it’ll be sure to come out perfectly fluffy.
Although it might be nice to use on your normal everyday clothes, fabric softener actually shortens the lifespan of your clothes. If you want your towels to stay strong and absorbent for as long as possible, don’t use it.
Although using bleach can be helpful when getting out particularly tough stains, sometimes we don’t want to use heavy chemicals in our washing process. For a similar effect, sprinkle some baking soda instead.
As it turns out, you’re not supposed to wash your denim all that often as it wears it out. Still, you need a method to get your jeans clean. If you want to make your jeans last longer, roll them up and put them in the freezer to kill off any bacteria on them. When they’re done, they should be good to go.
Though you can always take your clothes to the dry cleaner as well, sometimes you just want to do it at home yourself… and some of the hardest things to get out are the rings on the top of collared shirts. To make it easier, unfold them and scrub with a toothbrush using dish soap and hot water. If the wash won’t get it, this way should.
Assuming that your clothes aren’t heavily stained, you can always turn them inside out to make sure that the colors don’t bleed out prematurely. Over time, your wardrobe will definitely thank you.
If you’ve noticed that you have too many clothes and are running out drawer space, don’t panic. You can actually roll up your t-shirts to save room—though anybody who has been watching Marie Kondo’s new show probably already knows what we’re talking about!