It might seem like a basic chore, and one that you’ve been doing since forever, but laundry is a science that most of us never learned. If you’ve ever wondered why your shirts started pilling, or why the washer smells like mildew when its purpose is to clean, here are few simple tips and tricks for the laundry room that you never knew you needed.
WASH TOWELS SEPARATELY FROM CLOTHING
Towels, dish cloths, rags, and other materials made from terry cloth tend to be very abrasive in the wash. The thick material rubs against clothing and agitates the fibres, causing them to pill. To preserve the fabric on your garments, sort them from your towels and wash the loads separately. The same goes for other heavy materials, such as denim or blankets- wash them separately from thin cotton, jersey, etc.
FABRIC SOFTENER ALTERNATIVE
If you want to move away from using fabric softener, there are a few things you can try. Fabric softener is designed to ‘smooth’ out roughness on fabric and reduce static cling. Instead, you can add about a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle for top loading machines, or 1/4 cup for front loading. You can even add this to the fabric softener tray if you have one, and you can add some essential oils if you wish for added anti-bacterial properties!
KEEP SOCKS IN MESH BAG
If your socks tend to pull a disappearing act in the laundry room, try this trick: Throw all the socks into a mesh bag (the same kind used to wash lingerie) before putting them in the washer. You can designate a separate mesh bag for each family member to keep the pairs together all the way through the dryer. No more missing socks! Besides, this trick also keeps them lint free.
Long known as the treatment of choice for liquid stains such as red wine or coffee, club soda is readily available, expensive, and non-toxic. It is also excellent for deodorizing pet (or small child) “accidents” on bedding or slipcovers. Apply to the affected area ASAP and avoid rubbing, which may break down the fibres. Add some table salt for extra cleaning power. Then launder normally.
DEODORIZE CLOTHES HAMPER
Hampers can start to smell a little ripe when packed with soiled clothes week after week. To keep your laundry pile from stinking up the room, toss a sachet filled with baking soda into the bottom of the hamper. If you have a particularly offensive garment that won’t get washed for a few days, sprinkle a little baking soda on it before putting it in the hamper. The baking soda will neutralize the odour in the meantime, then freshen and soften your laundry once it goes in the wash.
Battle odor-causing bacteria with a cup of alcohol-based sugarless mouthwash. Just pour it into your washing machine, together with your regular laundry detergent, to freshen a load of stinky gym socks.
KEEP WASHER DOOR OPEN FOR SOMETIME AFTER USING
Dark, moist environments make ideal breeding grounds for mildew, the primary cause of stinky washing machines. By leaving the washer door open after every cycle, the residual moisture has a chance to air out. This is especially true of front-load washers, which use less water and have a tendency to collect scum on the sides of the machine, creating mould-loving conditions.
To keep black and dark-colored clothes looking like new. For black clothes, add 2 cups brewed coffee or tea to the rinse cycle.
THE BALL TRICK
To fluff your comforters, fluffy jackets, and pillows that just went through the washing machine, throw a couple of tennis balls (make sure they’re clean!) into the dryer. If you want to avoid the toxic chemicals of dryer sheets but want to eliminate static cling from your clothing, use a wadded up ball of aluminium foil in the dryer.