Make laundry day easier and quicker.
It's a day that everyone dreads: laundry day. But, armed with a few tricks of the trade, you can speed through this monotonous task. Just follow these 10 simple tips and soon you'll be spending your Sunday relaxing instead of working.
1. Sort first, wash second
Any woman who runs a household knows that sorting laundry can seem like a chore on its own! To speed up the process, ask the family to pitch in. "Keep divided sorters for lights and darks, and have separate baskets or bins," says Carolyn Forte, director of GHRI's Home Appliances and Cleaning Products department. When it's time to toss in a load, keep the items that shed, like towels, away from garments that attract lint, like corduroy pants.
2. Pre-treat for days
When you spill coffee on your favorite blouse, there's no time to remove a fresh stain before work. But don't let the stain set in while you're at the office. Instead, try a pre-treater that's safe to use up to several days before you wash, such as Resolve Stain Stick or Shout Advanced Gel.
3. Stop searching for stains
The seconds you spend examining each garment to locate and spot-treat a stain add up fast. To save time uncovering sneaky spots, Forte recommends tossing in a detergent booster, essentially a pouch of all-fabric bleach. She likes OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter Power Paks.
4. Stop measuring
Wisk's Deep Clean PowerBlasts ($6 for 24-count) save you the hassle of measuring out messy liquid detergents. Just toss one tablet into a regular-size load (or two for deeply soiled washes) and let it work its magic. The tablet will dissolve quickly in any water temperature, so feel free to use it on your gentler cycles.
5. Set a shorter timer
It may sound obvious, but choose the shortest wash cycle, says Forte. "There's no need to over-wash clothes." Similarly, crank up the water temperature. "For best cleaning, use the hottest water safe for the fabric to avoid having to rewash."
6. Go easy on the dryer
After your top-load washing machine is finished, run another spin cycle. This squeezes out excess water, so the dryer won't have to work as hard, shaving minutes off the process. If you have a front-load machine, achieve the same effect by sending laundry through the drain and spin cycle, set to the highest setting.
7. Size matters
Overloading the dryer adds precious minutes to the clock, as the machine has to work longer. On the other hand, a too-small load means clothing may cling to the drum rather than tumble easily.
8. Skip ironing
To avoid ironing, remove clothes from the dryer immediately; hang shirts and pants to prevent wrinkles.
9. Stop pairing
Folding socks takes time when you're digging through a giant heap to find matching pairs. Fortunately, there are sock clips on the market so you don't have to spend time matching, says Forte. Try sockclip.com ($14.95 for 32 clips).
10. Everything in its place
The final step of putting away clothes can be just as daunting as washing them, but the Must-be-neat Laundry Bag ($25) makes the job easier. Place the compartmentalized bag inside a laundry basket to separate clothing items into three sections (like towels, socks, and shirts). Pull the drawstring shut so nothing falls out of the basket as you make your way through doorways and up the stairs.