When I met Mr. MVP he was living in a one bedroom apartment by himself. He was cooking, cleaning, shopping and doing his own laundry. Mr. MVP was actually pretty self sufficient when I met him almost 11 years ago, but I always laugh when I think about the first time I discovered how he avoided doing laundry for an entire month at a time was by buying 30 pairs of socks, boxers and t-shirts. The man had more clothes than I did.
Now I do all of our laundry simply because I’m home and it’s more convient for me. Over the years I’ve changed a number of things about how I do our laundry to make it simpler and more eco-friendly. I’ve been reading quite a few lists lately about tips and tricks on improving laundry. Most of these lists suggest things like having a laundry day or sorting your clothes into a drawer system and these are great tips, but I’ve got some tips that will save you time, make your clothes last longer and save you money all at the same time.
A.Turn all your clothes inside out before washing, even your socks. We wear Happy Socks and Smart Wool Socks, which cost about $12 per pair, so to make them last we turn them inside out and then I hang them on the line to dry. Before any of our clothing goes in the washing machine the zippers get pulled up, velcro is attached, the buttons are pulled through and snaps are snapped shut. This quick procedure not only prevents velcro from sticking to another cotton t-shirt and ruining it, but it prevents button loss.
B. Buy light colored towels throughout your entire home including your kitchen, bathroom and exercise or pool towels. Wash your towels in one large load on hot water and add a tablespoon of baking soda to your regular detergent to eliminate any odors.
C. Use the correct temperature and wash cycle setting on the washing machine and dryer. This may seem silly, but lots of people don’t understand how their washing machines and dryers work. By utilizing the lowest temperature setting and shortest wash cycle you will be saving your clothing from excess agitation. I know everyone here knows this, but just in case you’d like to send it to a friend:
- Cold water: Jeans, t-shirts, cotton button down shirts, linen/wool trousers, cotton pants, wool sweaters, linen/cotton shorts, and socks, but NOT at the same time and always check the tag.
- Warm water: Gym clothes and sheets.
- Hot water: Towels.
- Regular/Normal Cycle: Normal agitation and spinning speeds. Good for towels, sheets, undershirts, cotton shorts and gym clothes, but NOT at the same time.
- Permanent Press: Slightly slower agitation and spinning speeds. Good for button down shirts, jeans, t-shirts, polo shirts, linen/cotton shorts and socks, but NOT at the same time.
- Delicates: Significantly slower agitation and spinning speeds. Good for wool sweaters, linen/wool trousers, leggings and camisoles.
- Hand wash: No agitation and almost no spinning. This cycle should be used for garments that suggest hand washing.
- Regular/Heavy: High heat. Good for towels.
- Permanent Press: Medium heat. Good for sheets.
- Delicates: Low heat.
- Air: No heat, this cycle uses room temperature air to recirculate around the clothing. Good for loosening up stiff clothes that have been hanging on the line.
- Automatic vs Timed: Our dryer has a couple different options for timing and one is called automatic. This eco-friendly sensor in our dryer can detect when our towels are dry and progresses the cycle automatically. With the automatic cycle we don’t over dry our towels and sheets or run our dryer for longer than it needs to be.
D. Calm down on your soap application. Everyone is putting way too much soap in their washing machines and it’s not only bad for their clothes, it’s terrible for their skin and their wallet as well. Most of our laundry detergents have directions right on the package and even easier than that, they have load lines right on the lids. It may not seem like you’re adding enough, but a lot of work went into formulating these detergents and sometimes a little bit will go a very long way.
E. Ditch the dryer unless you’re drying towels and sheets. Dryers are great for bulky items that may take days to line dry, but shorts, jeans, and t-shirts take just 8 to 12 hours on the line and it will cost you nothing. As an added bonus there is no additional wear on your clothing. If you do your laundry at night, your clothes will be dry by morning and if you stop using so much soap they will be soft and ready to wear.
Laundry is important because we all have it. Taking the extra time to do laundry correctly can save you money and make the clothing you love last just that much longer. What are your tips for a better more manageable laundry day?