If you feel a strangely disproportionate sense of accomplishment after knocking out a few loads of laundry, you’re not alone. Why does completing this mindless and mundane task make us feel so fulfilled? Is it a metaphor for something larger, or is it simply that we’ve regained full access to our wardrobe and underwear is an option again? Whatever the explanation, laundry’s place in bringing serenity to the human spirit should not be underestimated. For this reason, improving your laundry process is a worthwhile endeavor. Here are some helpful laundry tips that will lead to more tranquility, not to mention fresher-smelling and better-looking clothes.
Breathe It In
Most people grab the cheapest detergent on the shelf and call it a day, but we advise against that. Give your prospective detergent a smell. Sure you might get some strange glances in the store, but it’s worth it. Detergents don’t all smell the same and this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. You and your clothes are going to smell like it for the foreseeable future, so you want to pick one you like.
Follow Laundry's Golden Rule
When you’re learning how to do laundry, the first thing everyone tells you is to wash your whites and your darks separately. At first you may have adhered to this rule, but then one day you were in a hurry or were short on quarters so you decided to mix everything together. Incredibly, the world didn’t implode. Your clothes turned out fine and you wound up saving some time and cash.
However, while there may be no immediate fallout from breaking this rule, over time it will do harm to your clothes. Whites will darken and colors will begin to fade because each needs to be washed at different water temperatures. Generally, whites should be washed in warm or hot water, while colors do best in cold water.
Pay Heed to the Tag
Reading directions is annoying, especially with things that seem pretty obvious. However, if you want to extend the life and look of your clothes, the tags tell you exactly how to do that. Along with stating which temperature you should wash your clothing in, they may also include other special, important instructions. Yes, doing it your way may have worked out so far, but you will pay the price down the road if you ignore the tag.
Don’t Fade Away
Everyone has some confidence clothes in their wardrobe. You pull them out for a big night on the town, a first date, or whenever you need a morale boost. If your favorite shirt happens to be a dark color, you probably don’t want it fading to a dull hue. There is one easy solution to this, and it actually encourages laziness. Washing your darks inside out will help reduce the amount of fading. So when you come home and take off your favorite shirt, leave it inside out so it’s already ready for your next load of colors.
Be the Master of your Stains
Maybe you got a little careless with the Buffalo wings or grabbed the wrong-sized lid for your morning coffee. Whatever the case, stains are a daily occurrence for many, so you need to have the proper tools to deal with them. Treating stains with a stain remover before you wash may seem like an annoying extra step, but it works. Stain remover comes in several different forms. Options include sticks, wipes and sprays. They’re easy to use and prevent those uncouth stains from taking control of your wardrobe.
Let the Soap and Water Become One
When using a top-load washer, a common mistake people make is throwing all their clothes in first and then pouring the soap on top. If the laundry police actually existed and happen to be in the vicinity while you’re doing this, you would be against the wall and cuffed before you knew what hit you. Pouring soap directly on your clothes can cause permanent discoloration, especially if you’re using a concentrated liquid detergent. Besides that, you’re denying the soap its good friend, water, and your clothes won’t get the thorough cleaning they so richly deserve. The solution is easy: before loading your clothes, add your soap and start your wash cycle, allowing the washer to fill up a little with some water. Once you have a nice base of soapy water, drop your clothes in, shut the lid and go relax until it’s time to dry.
Respect the Dryer
Once the washer has done its job and the dryer beckons, it’s time to consult your tags again. Drying has the potential to do the most harm to your clothes, and for some materials, it can quickly turn adult sizes into baby sizes. Follow the directions on the tag, and if there is any uncertainty about a particular garment, throw it on a hanger and let it air dry.
Achieve Clarity by Avoiding Static
Not using dryer sheets is denying yourself one of humanity’s greatest inventions. Not only do they eliminate uncomfortable static, but they add another layer of freshness to your clothes. Throwing one in before you start the dryer does the trick, but if you really want to go big, throw in two and be prepared for laundry amazement.
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Fold Now, Not Later
For many of us, folding is the most dreaded step of laundry, and the one we procrastinate the most. The problem with leaving your clean clothes in a pile is they acquire unseemly wrinkles, making all your hard work for naught. The quickest and easiest way to prevent wrinkles is to fold your clothes immediately after they’ve finished drying. Yes, you’re tired and you’ve hit the laundry wall, but this final step will bring the satisfaction of a job well done and your fulfillment will be complete.