Welcome to Apartment Therapy's Chore-Free Summer. Every weekday until July 20, we're arming you with time-saving shortcuts and hacks that'll help you work smarter, not harder, when it comes to homekeeping this summer. Because cleaning doesn't have to be a chore.
Whether your nearest laundry machines are 10 blocks or 10 steps away, doing laundry is a drag. Best case scenario, you're multitasking at home as a prisoner to the 60-minute chime of your laundry going in another room, knowing that "ding" is the only thing stopping you from forgetting your wet, mildewy clothes in the wash all afternoon. Worst case? You're stuck in a sweaty, stinky laundromat dreading the walk back to your apartment where you'll be weighed down with warm sacks of clean but possibly now-wrinkled clothes.
So, yeah, we'll take all the shortcuts we can get.
Hot, humid, sweat-soaked weather doesn't allow for a lot of easy re-wears, so you have to get creative if you want to stretch the time between washes. Here are a few tricks that'll make laundry go a little easier this summer:
Put your clothes in the freezer
Something doesn't pass the sniff test? Put it in the freezer. Science says the freezer trick won't kill bacteria, but plenty of anecdotal evidence online suggests that a spin in the freezer will do enough to make the thing less stinky than before—perfect if you just want to re-wear those jeans to brunch after a night out.
Freezing your clothes will also make it easier to remove any gunk (like gum) from the fabric: Just freeze overnight and scrape off as much as you can in the morning.
Spray clothes with vodka
Vodka—yes, the exact same spirit on your bar cart—is a natural deodorizer. Keep a spray bottle full of vodka on hand (the cheap stuff works perfectly) and use it to freshen up your smelly clothes for a re-wear before washing. The alcohol is what does the trick here, so don't dilute the spray with water; this works best with straight vodka.
Make your own wrinkle releaser in a pinch
Wrinkled clothes? No time to wash or iron? You probably have everything you need to make a DIY wrinkle releaser in your bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Take a spray bottle and fill it with 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of hair conditioner and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Spray the mist onto your wrinkled clothes until they're lightly damp, then stretch and pull the fabric until the wrinkles release.
These three tips will help you extend the life of your load, but when it comes time to run a load, here are a couple ways to make the process a little lazier:
Need to speed up the dryer? Try a towel
You can speed up the machine-dry process by bringing along a clean, dry towel. Toss it into the dryer with your wet clothes to dry everything fast.
Try sun-bleaching your whites
If you have only a few whites to wash, no need to do a whole separate load. Wash them with everything else—beware of bleeding colors!—then try your hand at sun-bleaching. Spray the wet clothes lightly with a water and lemon juice mixture (about ¼ cup lemon juice to 2 cups of water), then stretch them out as flat as possible in a sunny spot outdoors just until they're dry. The sun and lemon juice will help to naturally brighten those whites without a special load.