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10 sure-fire tips for getting your laundry clean

11:00 AM, May 9, 2014  |  Comments
Save yourself some time by getting organized with the laundry.
Save yourself some time by getting organized with the laundry.
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One of the never-ending chores busy parents face is battling the mountain of laundry that gets generated each week. How much time do you spend each week fighting stains, hunting down missing socks and sorting clothes?

Time is something that parents just don't have enough of. If you're looking for a system that works for getting the laundry done in an efficient organized manner, you'll want to take note of these 10 simple tips for getting your laundry clean and extending the life of your clothes.

Sorting

1. More efficient sorting: Designate five to six separate piles when sorting laundry. 1) whites (entirely white) 2) light colors that include striped whites 3) darks (blacks, blues and browns) 4) brights (reds, yellows and oranges) and 5) delicates. To prevent lint from spreading, create a separate pile for linty fabrics like towels, flannels and sweatshirts.

2. Keeping socks paired up: Use a large safety pin to keep socks together in the laundry. Simply attach them in pairs or throw them in a small mesh laundry bag and assign one to each family member. When the laundry is done, the socks are still together and separated by family member.

Pretreating and washing

3. Treating stains: Treat stains right away. Once a stain dries it can easily become permanent. Put the stained article of clothing in a bucket or sink full of water with a little detergent until you have time to treat the stain. Do not treat the stain before soaking.

4. White vinegar magic: Add one half cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle to prevent lint from sticking to clothes, remove soap build-up, remove stains (wine, mustard, perspiration and more) and take the musty smell out of clothes left in the washing machine.

5. Grease stains: Rub chalk onto greasy stains. Don't worry about the chalk powder, it will absorb the grease, and make the stain easily removable by the laundry soap in the wash.

6. Optimizing your wash cycle: Add powder detergent before adding clothes to the washing machine. Powdered detergent will work more effectively if it dissolves in water before adding clothes.

7. Reducing your energy bill: Make the switch to Cold Water/Bright Color wash for almost all of your laundry. Unless a garment is severely stained, cold water cleans just as well as hot, is gentler on clothing, can save you $70/year on energy costs and has a lower carbon footprint. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer goes to heat the water.

8. Using homemade laundry soap: Make homemade laundry detergent for about $10 using baking soda, washing soap and Dr. Bronner's bar soap (the peppermint and lavender combined makes a wonderful laundry scent). It takes only 1 teaspoon per load. One batch lasts for 1-2 months.

Drying

9. Fresher-smelling laundry: Use an outdoor clothesline. Clotheslines have become increasingly popular with the transition to more eco-friendly living. There are many benefits to using a clothesline: whites become whiter, clothes rarely need to be ironed, nothing shrinks, your towels smell wonderful and it uses no energy.

10. Residue-free soft clothes: Spend a few dollars on a set of eco-friendly dryer balls that last for years instead of sinking money into fabric softeners or dryer sheets. Unlike fabric softeners and dryer sheets, dryer balls won't leave a residue on your clothing.

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