Fear And Loathing In The Laundry Room

Lighten And Brighten Your Loads With These Helpful Hints

It never fails. I see the mesh hamper gradually filling and OCD sets in. I just can’t let it reach the top! So, time to toss in a load — but there’s no room for the hamper-full…uggh, that means two loads! Now I have to empty the dryer because yesterday was change-the-sheets day, making room for the first load of wash, in anticipation of the second. Wait, wait — what? 

This is madness, a vicious cycle of laundry madness. By the end of this mild run in with bathroom hamper I effectively have three loads of laundry to fold. And if, perchance, they don’t all get folded in one day, they’ve definitely gotta be done tomorrow…in which case I’ll be running the leftovers through the dryer again to fluff the wrinkles! You getting the picture?

Such is the life of a mother of two school-aged girls, a dad (whose laundry footprint could actually stand to be a bit larger at times) and one self-described “fitness enthusiast” sweating through sports bras in T-minus 60 seconds from Spinning Class Blastoff. If you’re a member of the loathsome daily-wash club like me, you might be interested to know that help is out there! Read on, before you launder on. 

Lighten Up: It is unfortunate, but it is also one of life’s few guarantees that the laundry truly never ends. Here are a few ways to fight back the endless laundry piles, extend the wear of your clothing and meanwhile cut down on this never-ending chore!

You better Think – Think!

Think about what you’re trying to do to yourself before you casually toss your date night dress into the washer. Give your garment a good glance-over first. Is it soiled? Can it be spot cleaned? Does it have an odor that a hit with Febreze wouldn’t fix? Overwashing clothing causes wear and tear, wastes water and energy. Why not save yourself some work, save your clothes and the planet all at the same time?

Invest In A Clothing Rack

These are not only great for drying delicates, they are perfect for airing out your semi-clean, but not quite dirty items overnight. 

Be Selective When Shopping

Natural fabrics actually keep clothing smelling fresher than synthetics, which can hold onto odors. 

Consider The Following “Wears-Per-Wash” Guide At Your Discretion

To be honest, I’m not sure I’m totally on-board with all of these recommendations.  But hey, if it may be worth a try if it saves a few loads!

  • Once and wash — socks, undies, undershirts and gym clothes. 
  • Twice, thrice —  lightly worn tees and tanks, dress shirts, PJs
  • Three to five wears — lounge pants, leggings, sweaters, sweatshirts and sweat-free bras that can be aired out for a day or so between wears. 
  • Five plus — dressy pants, skirts, jeans and jackets. 

Brighten Your Baskets

Remedies for laundry mistakes you may be making!

  • Detergent is best distributed when you add it after your washer has finished filling. What? You mean don’t pour it over a mountain of clothes and turn on the water as an afterthought!?! If you want cleaner clothes, fill-er-up and then add the soap so it will evenly disperse. However, if you need to use bleach, that should go into the drum with the water before you add clothing into the mix, followed by your detergent. 
  • Sorting beyond lights and darks, such as by types of fabric or heavily soiled versus light, can enhance your wash. 
  • Make the bottom of the barrel sock party central! Placing all your socks in the bottom of the washer together can help keep them together rather than getting stuck to another article of clothing or inside that black-hole pillowcase! 
  • Skip the scrub brush for stain removal and adopt an “a dab’ll do ya” policy. Dabbing, rather than scrubbing will prevent the stain from spreading. 
  • Zip up your zippers and clasp your bras ‘cause it’s gonna be a bumpy ride! And it is a rough ride for your clothing faves so be sure to protect them from getting snagged by an unzipped zipper or bra clip. 
  • Air dry when your can. It saves energy and helps preserve your clothing which can lose shape with over-drying. 

www.rd.com (Reader’s Digest online)