While many people have hired help to assist them with daily chores like laundry, many don’t have this privilege. These are usually the ones who are faced with mountains of laundry after a week or two either because they don’t have the energy to get down to doing it or they simply don’t know how to do it efficiently and afford-ably.
People that usually fall into this category may include students who are away at college for the first time or busy moms who simply don’t have the time to do laundry as regularly as they would like to. By making use of a few easy tips and strategies, you will be able to make laundry day as pleasant as a gentle summer breeze.
1. Get the Family to Help with Collecting and Sorting
In many cases, it’s usually Mom who has the responsibility of walking around the house and picking up everyone’s laundry in their rooms or other living areas. One of the easiest ways to save time on laundry day is to teach every member of the household to pick up their own laundry and place it in a dedicated wash hamper or even in the laundry room. Even young children can be taught the difference between dark and light colored laundry.
An added time saver is to invest in four different wash hampers; the first for whites, the second for light colors, the third for dark colors and the fourth for towels and jeans, as these can sometimes damage more delicate items while washing. By having all of the laundry presorted in these hampers, all you will need to do then is place each load separately into the washing machine. This will save a lot of time on laundry day.
While this may sound counter-productive there are times that manufacturers are not right. One of these times is when it comes to determining how much laundry detergent your washing load needs. Manufacturers are only in business because they are able to successfully sell their products. If consumers use less than the recommended amount of a product, they don’t make as much money. This is especially true with regards to laundry detergent and softener products.
Although most manufacturers recommend one cap full or one scoop full of detergent, the truth is that most clothing can be cleaned well with half the recommended amount of detergent and an added bonus is that your clothing will not smell like detergent when it comes out of the washing machine. Softener sheets can be split in half and work just as well as a whole sheet.
3. Ensure that Laundry is Colorfast before Washing in Hot Water
Although many people believe that only hot water can clean your laundry, this isn’t always true. Most clothing and other items can be cleaned just as well in cold water. Not only will this save you money on your electricity bill, but it will also ensure that less of your laundry loses color, as hot water can often be responsible for this.
A handy tip that can help to prevent clothing from losing color during washing is to iron the items before they are washed for the first time. In most cases, this will help set the color. An alternative option is to wash new items with a cup of salt thrown into the wash load, as this can also help new items to retain their color. Some items which can benefit from a hot wash are bed linens and towels, especially if a family member has been sick. The hot water wash will help prevent the spread of germs to the rest of the family.
4. Don’t Overload the Machine
The majority of people think that they are saving water and electricity by filling the washing machine to the brim with clothing. While these savings may seem true, the clothing isn’t able to be washed properly because of the fact that there isn’t enough space for the water to get to all of the clothing. Another issue with an overfull wash load is that a lot of items may end up with detergent or powder stains on them from not being able to rinse properly.
In cases like this, the laundry may have to be run through another wash cycle to remove this residue, so there actually wouldn’t be any savings in water and electricity anyway. A good measure is to usually fill the machine to approximately three quarters of its loading capacity. That way, everything in the load will wash and rinse properly. The same advice applies when using a clothes dryer. While a slightly fuller load is more economical in a dryer, the items will not dry properly if the machine is overloaded.
5. Fold Laundry as Soon as the Dryer Comes to a Stop
A handy time saving tip is to ensure that the dryer is unloaded as soon as it stops. This will help prevent wrinkles and creases from forming on clothing, so it will save you from having to iron most of the items. Because folding and sorting can take a lot of time, enlist the help of the family in this area too.
By not needing to iron most of the laundry, it will not only save time, but also electricity which is fast becoming an expensive commodity. Many items which usually don’t require ironing include underwear, towels, bed linen, track pants, t-shirts and jeans. So save the iron for the smart items and free up some extra time in your day.
6. Save Money and Use Powder Instead of Liquid
A highly effective way to save money on laundry is to use powdered detergent instead of the liquid variety as this usually only costs a few pennies per load. Although many people complain that powder leaves residue on clothing, there are ways to prevent this from happening.
The first is to ensure that the machine isn’t overloaded with laundry and the second is to dilute the powder in hot water and pour it into the machine when it is just over half full of water instead of adding the powder to the detergent tray in the machine. By diluting the powder in hot water, it becomes liquid and dissolves instead of being dispensed directly on to your favorite black outfit in powder form.
Laundry day doesn’t have to be the most dreaded day of the week. With a little planning ahead and by enlisting the help of those around you who contribute to the mountain of laundry, it can be done in no time at all. In order to save a little extra money on this chore, try to hang as many loads as possible out to dry instead of using a tumble dryer. Your electric bill as well as your wallet will thank you.