It's the most dreaded time of the week: laundry day. An ever-growing pile of soiled pants and stained shirts can spur panic in any busy mom, but you don't need to spend hours sorting, washing, and folding. The key to efficiency is committing to a routine.
Whether it’s a once-a-week marathon or stretched out over specific days, having a set schedule makes the chore feel less daunting. Consider ordering in pizza or your crew’s takeout of choice on laundry day to cut down on your overall workload. Also strategize around TV time. “I do laundry on nights the Golden State Warriors play. I start the load before the game, switch it during halftime, and fold during the fourth quarter,” says San Francisco mom of one Caroline Curran. Blogger Jenny Komenda prefers Saturdays. “I dump all the clean loads onto my bed, and my four daughters, ages 3 to 13, help me fold while we all watch a movie.”
Here are more laundry tips to lessen the load.
Tired of dealing with shrunken sweaters and faded jeans? With these helpful questions, answers, and laundry tips, you'll breeze through your chore without dilemma.
Should I sort my laundry?
Absolutely! Sorting laundry prevents colors from bleeding, darks from fading, and whites from dulling, says Ingrid Johnson, professor of textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City. But you can choose your level of laundry sorting:
The OK Method: Wash everything together except new dark items like blue jeans or sweatshirts. Wash those separately the first few times.
The Better Method: Follow the okay method, plus separate out clothes you care most about (like work tops). Toss everything else into the wash, including your child’s clothes.
The Best Method: Sort into three categories: whites/lights, darks, and colors. Johnson suggests buying a divided hamper so clothes are ready to go come laundry day. We like the Heavy-Duty 3-Bin Rolling Laundry Sorter ($60; containerstore.com).
Can I leave clothes inside out in the wash?
Rejoice! It might actually be better to leave them this way, since the washing wears clothes out, says Melanie DiSalvo, founder of clothing line Virtue + Vice. If the inside of the garment takes a beating in the machine, the exterior will look better longer. But the same doesn’t hold true for socks: They need to be right side out for a thorough clean!
Where do all the lost socks go?
The machines are not eating them! Most likely, some are in a pant leg and the rest are hiding in your house/car/diaper bag. To cut down on mismatched pairs, buy just one style and color of socks for each person in your family. That way, if a sock goes missing, you won’t end up with any mismatched ones, and pairing them will be so easy that even your preschooler can do it!
What is the "quick wash" cycle?
It’s designed for smallish loads of lightly soiled items, says Taryn Brucia, from LG Electronics’ research-and-development team. This mode also works on sheets, if you wash them weekly, and for towels that were used only a couple of times. And try it when you’ve accidentally left a load in the washing machine and it needs freshening before drying (we’ve all been there).
What is high efficiency?
All front loaders are high efficiency (HE). Conventional top loaders have a tall agitator; HE top loaders have a short or no agitator. You can use an HE laundry detergent in a non-HE machine, but don’t use a traditional detergent in an HE machine—it can ruin it!
How much detergent should I use?
Less than you think! According to LG Electronics’ Brucia, these amounts of HE detergent are just right for your averagely dirty load:
Here are four helpful laundry hacks for fresh clothes–no matter how old they may be.