Many of us view laundry as something best left for the weekend — just another chore to be tossed aside. The task is so routine that it doesn't require much forethought until your jeans become faded, your shirts misshapen, and that favorite set of sheets a little crunchy. Fear not, however, as none of this is inevitable; a few simple tweaks can make all the difference. Incorporate some life-changing laundry hacks to revitalize your routine for fresher, longer-lasting fabrics.
The dreaded discovery of any longtime laundry doer, fading occurs naturally over time, and your favorite T-shirt probably isn't as vibrant as it once was. Prevent fading with every load by adding salt to the washtub; all it takes is a few sprinkles. Likewise, wash any colored fabrics inside out on the cold cycle to prolong their life; clothes will last years longer with a visibly brighter appearance.
While dryer sheets add an extra dose of freshness, they certainly aren't required, and over time, they can actually be detrimental to your softest fabrics. Softener can be just as bad. With harsh chemicals prevalent in many brands, the short-term softening isn't worth the long-term damage, which wears down fabrics significantly. Eliminate both from your laundry routine and you'll not only save a few bucks, but you'll notice towels and blankets that are softer, more absorbent, and longer-lasting, too!
This clever hack can completely transform your next laundry load. When cleansing large pieces like pillows or comforters, adding two or three tennis balls to the washer ensures that all items are thoroughly cleansed and the stuffing stays in place. The benefits? Heavy fabrics maintain their shape while achieving a fresher, more balanced clean.
If you're dealing with a delicate material, slight shrinkage is a common occurrence, especially with knit items like sweaters and scarves. Luckily, you can preserve grandma's cardigan for the next generation by soaking it in a mixture of warm water and conditioner. Any hair conditioner will do; thoroughly mix it with lukewarm water until you have enough water for the sweater to be fully submerged. Let it sit for three to four hours, and voila! Back to its normal size.
Despite popular belief, wrinkles are not inevitable. Whenever you're washing delicate fabrics, dress shirts, or other pieces you want to remain wrinkle-free, set your machine to permanent press. This setting adds cold water more gradually than any other cycle, helping ward off potential wrinkles. Air drying afterward boosts the effect, as does letting fabrics steam in your bathroom during and after your morning shower.
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Towels wear out way too quickly, especially if you're washing them on the regular. Boost softness by adding vinegar and baking soda to your next load. An even mixture of both should balance out to half the recommended amount of detergent, which also means you'll run through your laundry soap much more slowly. Combined, these savvy ingredients will work their magic throughout the wash cycle for notably softer, fluffier blankets and towels.
Your delicate cycle is the key to a quality wash for fine fabrics and lingerie, which easily get torn or misshapen on the regular setting. Every time you use the delicate setting, set the machine to the highest water level, whether you're washing one item or ten. While this might appear counterintuitive, it provides more space for fabrics to float, delivering a deeper clean without damage.
Mesh laundry bags can be magical when it comes to protecting your most delicate pieces, as well as commonly lost ones, like socks. Whether you're craving an additional safety layer or want to ensure that nothing gets misplaced, toss any applicable items into mesh bags pre-wash. They'll receive a thorough clean while staying together, and you'll never have to hunt for that missing pair again!
Fruit and laundry appear entirely unrelated, but squeezing a lemon or two over your sweatiest garments could make a major impact on their long-term cleanliness, especially with workout clothes. Why? Citrus helps break down excess oils for a more effective wash, reducing odor while fostering a fresh, zesty scent. Over time, even your most-used garments can achieve a like-new level of freshness.
A vital part of the laundry routine that so many of us avoid, checking garments before tossing them into the machine can work wonders for the shape and fit of your wardrobe. Empty all pockets, close any zippers, and button up every item prior to washing; those few extra seconds could result in years more wear.