Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Perfect Laundry
Laundry is something everyone has to deal with. And it gets harder when you have children. Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to do laundry. So we’ve rounded up our best tips, tricks, and hacks for perfect laundry.
Don’t let your laundry pile up and do multiple loads in one day. Try your best to do laundry at least every other day so your hamper doesn’t become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This is especially true if any of your laundry is wet or damp. Another reason not to wait -- stains are harder to get out the longer they sit.
Wash heavily soiled items separately and immediately
Anything with bodily fluids — urine, poop, vomit, blood, sweat — on it should be washed immediately in hot water. Any mud or food stains should also be washed right away. It’s best to do a separate load so the germs don’t spread to other pieces of laundry.
Wash face masks after each use
It’s best to have multiple machine-washable masks available so you don’t have to wear the same one multiple times a day. At a minimum, they should be washed after one day of use. Check to see if it’s dryer-safe. The heat can help kill any lingering germs. Air drying masks in a sunny area can also help kill germs.
Wash towels, mats, and rugs separately
Bath towels, kitchen towels, hand towels, and washcloths are likely to carry more germs than your clothes. It’s best to have a separate hamper for them and to wash them separately. Make sure to replace kitchen towels and hand towels every day. Since they’re often damp from frequent use, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria. According to the American Cleaning Institute, bath towels should be washed every 3 to 5 uses since they often remain damp for hours after each use and can harbor germs. Washcloths should be washed after each use. Bath mats and rugs should be washed once a week.
Wash bed sheets and pillow cases every two weeks
Bed sheets can collect dust, allergens, sweat, and bacteria so should be washed in hot water at least every two weeks. If you have a tendency to sweat in your sleep, consider washing your sheets more often. Wash each sheet set separately to minimize tangling and twisting during the washing and drying process. This also ensures the sheets have enough room to move around to get clean.
Do a color fast test
In addition to washing light and dark clothing separately, it’s important to test new items for color fastness. This term describes how well a fabric can maintain its color without fading or bleeding. To test how colorfast a piece of clothing is, wet a small area of the garment, then press a white cloth or paper towel into the fabric and check to see if any color comes off. Another option is to wet a white cloth or paper towel and rub the garment to see if any color bleeds. If color comes off, then hand wash the garment until the color bleeding stops. This also applies if you’re washing any of your children’s plush toys.
Put socks into a laundry mesh bag
Sick of losing socks? Keep them together by putting them into a laundry mesh bag prior to washing and drying. This keeps them together and reduces the chances of them getting lost in a shirt sleeve or inside a pair of pants.
Zip it up
Zip up all jackets and pants prior to washing. Unzipped articles can cause snags during the washing and drying process. Fastening all zippers can minimize damage.
This one shouldn’t be too difficult since most shirts are left unbuttoned after you take them off. For men’s dress shirts, be sure to also undo the collar buttons and sleeve buttons prior to washing. Buttoned up clothing may be damaged if a button gets snagged on something and tears the button hole during the washing or drying process.
Maximize the spin cycle
Getting your laundry as dry as possible before putting it into the dryer will help reduce energy costs by shortening the drying time. Another benefit is that less heat and tumbling will help protect the quality of your laundry. For example, the dryer may cause towels to unravel over time and cause stretchy clothing such as yoga pants and leggings to lose their shape and elasticity.
Give TLC to your washer and dryer
Don’t forget to show your washer and dryer some TLC every once in a while, as well as your laundry room.
The exterior can collect dust and grime over time so every week or so, grab a disinfecting wipe and give it a thorough wipe down. Areas to wipe down include:
Control panel, including all the buttons
Lid and sides
Get rid of detergent and water mineral build-up inside your washer by cleaning the inside of your washing machine twice a year.
Fill the washing machine with hot water to the highest level. Add two cups of distilled vinegar and run it through a complete wash cycle. Then repeat the process with only hot water (no vinegar).
When the cycles are finished, use a microfiber cloth to wipe out any remaining residue inside the drum.
Dryer Interior and Vents
Regular cleaning and maintenance of dryers is important for optimal efficiency and to prevent a fire hazard.
Empty the lint filter after every cycle.
Once a year, clean the lint screen by scrubbing with a sponge or toothbrush dipped in detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clear water then air dry before putting it back in the dryer.
Also once a year, clean the dryer exhaust vents to help prevent dryer fires. You’ll need to disconnect the hose from the back of the dryer to do this. Use the hose attachment of your vacuum to suck up the lint in the vent or snake a long brush through the vent to push out the lint. Another (easier) option is to hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service.
Wipe out the dryer drum as needed. Use a clean cloth dampened with soapy water to wipe out any pet hairs or other debris or build-up that may be in the drum.
Your laundry room can get full of dust and lint if you don’t clean it regularly. Use surface wipes, like Nice 'N CLEAN® Disinfecting Wipes, to kill bacteria** and viruses* on countertops and cabinets. You can also use disinfecting wipes to clean plastic laundry baskets and hampers. Use your vacuum to pick up dust and debris on the floor; the hose attachment is helpful for getting dust behind and in between the appliances. Then follow up by mopping the floor. Your cleaning schedule depends on how often you do laundry, but in general, cleaning the laundry room every two weeks is recommended.
You can find Nice 'N CLEAN® Disinfecting Wipes at Costco warehouses nationwide.
*Effective against common cold virus caused by Coronavirus and common flu virus caused by Influenza A H3N2 Virus
**Effective against Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella enterica (Salmonella), Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria), Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep), Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)