Laundry. It’s so much more complicated than it needs to be, don’t you think?
First, you separate lights, whites and colours. Then you separate delicates from non-delicates. Then you separate heavily-soiled from lightly-soiled clothes. Then you choose the detergent, fabric softener, whitener. Then you… zzzzzz…
No more. By levelling up your tech – and being a bit more savvy around the home – you can wave goodbye to all this nonsense.
So, here are our top 10 laundry hacks for 2019:
1. Choose a washing machine with a faster spin
Most washing machines have spin speeds between 1,000 and 1,600rpm (revolutions per minute).
But did you know that the faster your machine spins, the drier your washing will be at the end of a cycle? That means it won’t have to sit on the line as long – you could be wearing freshly laundered clothes the same day.
Shopping for a new machine? Don’t go for second best – choose one with a spin speed of 1,600rpm or higher.
2. Wash more, with less
Most people do three or four washes a week – one each for lights, brights, darks and whites. If you have a big family or live in a shared house, this can add up.
Whether you want to save money on your utility bills or use less energy to help the environment, make sure you choose a machine with these two things: a high energy rating and the option of an Eco cycle.
The highest energy performance is A+++ rated, but A++ and A+ are good too. By investing in an energy-efficient machine and using an Eco cycle every time, you could save up to 60% on your energy.
3. Choose a drum size that suits you
No, we’re not talking about bongos and bass drums. We’re talking about how big the inside of your washing machine is.
Washing machines typically come with capacities of between 5–13kg. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should choose the biggest every time. The more unused space in the drum, the more energy – and money – will be wasted on each wash.
If you live alone and only wear a few t-shirts each week, a 5kg washing machine should do the trick.
But, if you have a big family with lots of washing to do every week, you’ll probably want lots of extra room to fit everyone’s clothes in one go – a machine with a capacity above 10kg should suit you.
4. Don’t tumble dry everything
When you have a washer-dryer, it’s tempting to put everything on a wash&dry cycle.
But this may not be good for the longevity of your clothes. The high heat and fast spin cycle can warp elasticated items and shrink other fibres.
You should avoid putting anything delicate, including 100% cotton and 100% wool clothes in the dryer. You should also avoid putting spandex in – but polyester items should be fine.
Definitely avoid silk and satin!
If you’re not sure, you can always choose the lowest temperature and slowest spin cycle, if you have the option.
5. Try a natural fabric softener
Fabric softeners aren’t for everyone. They can often contain chemicals that produce allergic reactions in some people.
If you have young children or sensitive skin and want to try something a bit more natural, try adding vinegar to your wash – it’s non-toxic and perfume-free, and it will leave your clothes feeling as soft and fluffy as ever.
6. Keep clothes fluffy with… tennis balls?
We must have caught the Wimbledon bug.
No, but seriously, some people swear that putting two or three tennis balls in your dryer can help to fluff up bedsheets and towels.
Apparently, the shape and bouncing of the balls help to literally beat them into shape. Who whudda thunk?
7. Stick extra-smelly clothes in the freezer
If all the detergent in the world won’t take the stench out of your clothes, perhaps this will.
Try putting clothes in a plastic bag and leaving them in the freezer overnight. This kills the smell-causing bacteria trapped in the fibres.
Stick them in the wash the next morning with some detergent to add a bit of fragrance back to them.
8. Remove sweat stains with lemon juice
Over time, sweat patches can form under the armpits of your favourite shirts and t-shirts. It’s unsightly and can really knock your confidence, especially if it’s one of your favourite pieces.
But worry no more: simply dab some lemon juice and baking soda on these stains before washing to break the stains down.
If they’re still not budging after a few washes, you could also resort to bleach, but be very careful if you do.
9. Line dry anything you want to iron
You may be tempted to tumble dry your shirts, blouses and trousers, because it may seem quicker.
But the fact is, tumble drying these items will probably make them more wrinkled and harder to iron. This will cost you time in front of the ironing board… not to mention, it’s really frustrating trying to iron out crumpled creases!
Save yourself the bother by line-drying pure cotton items like these.
10. Sick of streaks? Wash inside-out
Do you often take dark clothes such as black jeans out of the wash to find them covered in white streaks?
This is usually caused by friction inside the washing machine which rubs the dye away.
The best way to avoid it? Try turning your clothes inside out before the wash. That way, most of the rubbing will happen to the inside of your garments.
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