Wouldn't it be neat if there was some sort of laundry fairy? This laundry fairy would quietly tiptoe into your home while you're asleep, pull all of your dirty clothes out of the hamper, and magically wash, dry and fold it all. Since the laundry fairy is still just a dream, here are 11 tips for making your laundry day a little easier.
1. Pretreat stains as soon as possible. You can use a product specifically designed for stains, like Shout or a Tide pen, or you can pour a small drop of laundry detergent on the stain. Whichever you choose, put something on a potential stain as soon as you can.
2. Presorting your laundry will help eliminate the red-sock-in-a-load-of-whites mistake. I keep a separate hamper for whites and put all other darks and colors into another hamper.
3. Turn dark jeans inside out before you throw them into the hamper. Laundering dark wash jeans inside out will help them retain their color. And forget about the dryer! Hang those jeans to dry.
4. Speaking of the dryer, consider skipping that step and go directly to ironing. Ironing a dress shirt directly out of the wash makes short work of smoothing out the wrinkles.
5. Keep a can of tennis balls around for drying down-filled items. When laundering a down comforter, pillows, or even your puffy winter coat, throw a few tennis balls into the dryer with them. The tennis balls will bounce around and keep the feathers and down from clumping.
6. For items that must be hand washed, roll the wet pieces in a towel rather than wringing them. Wringing wet clothes can twist them out of shape. Lay a towel out flat on table, lay a wet piece of clothing on top of it, then roll it up. Repeat a few times to remove excess water and then hang to dry.
7. Make your own dryer sheets. Soak an old towel or flour cloth in your favorite liquid fabric softener, wring out excess and let dry. Throw this old towel into your dryer with your next load, and for the next 40 loads after that!
8. Reuse those old dyer sheets. While you're working through that box of dryer sheets before you make your own, you can give the used sheets a little extra life. From lint removal to freshening garbage can, here's a guide of 20 household uses for old dryer sheets.
9. Neatly fold and store your clothes. Cleaning your clothing is the easy part of the process. Folding and storing your laundry is where the real work comes in. Check out these tips for keeping your dresser drawers need and tidy.
10. Keep a box of Borax around. Borax is a natural laundry booster and it also softens hard water. There are a whole host of other uses for Borax outside the laundry room, too.
11. Of course the best way to lighten the load on laundry day is to wear your clothes a little longer. Here's a list of ways to freshen your worn clothing.
Image: Jason Loper