12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes

12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes

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Today I have 12 quick & easy tips for washing clothes! Laundry is a never-ending task that’s all too easy for busy people like you and me to fall behind on. And even when you are staying on top of the washing chores to make sure they don’t pile up, on occasion you may be upset with the end results after pulling your clothes out of the dryer.

So instead of leaving you scratching your head and wondering what went wrong, I’d like to share several quick tips for washing clothes that you may not have known or tried before. By following these small bits of advice you can avoid the most unnecessary headaches in the future. 

12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes

Items I Recommend for Emergency Washing

12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes

1. Select the Right Water Temperature

The water temperature that you select for your laundry will have a big impact on the overall results. In general, hot water is best for removing dirt and stains, while cold water can be used to preserve delicate fabrics. If you’re unsure which temperature to use, always lean on the side of cold because you can always rewash in hot water if needed.

Don’t be shy about reading the label inside the piece of clothing to see what the manufacturer suggests. That step may save the clothing from being damaged if you happen to choose the wrong setting.

2. Choose a Good Detergent

Not all detergents are created equal, and using the wrong one can leave your clothes looking dingy or feeling stiff. If you have sensitive skin, look for a hypoallergenic or gentle detergent. That way you shouldn’t be left with rashes or uncomfortable itchy skin all day. For heavily soiled laundry, opt for a powder detergent over a liquid – they’ve been known to pack a bigger punch.

Don’t be afraid to try different detergents, particularly if you have clothes that may be more fragile or to keep them from losing their color too quickly. Consider buying the smaller containers as a test, and if you like them, buy the larger more economical size.

3. Avoid Using Too Much Detergent

If you use too much detergent, your clothes will come out feeling stiff and looking dull. Not to mention, all that extra detergent can be hard on your washing machine and the longevity of the clothes themselves.

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On the other hand, not using enough means your clothes won’t get as clean as they could be. To get it just right, consult your washing machine’s manual to see how much detergent is recommended for a full load of laundry.

We’ve had a front loading machine for a number of years now and find it does a great job without using much detergent. It has saved us in the long run since we get more out of each detergent container.

If you use fabric softener in your washing cycles rather than putting a dryer sheet in the dryer with the clothes, you may be surprised at how little softener it takes to make the clothes come out looking great.

Also, some fabrics, particularly those that may be designed to “wick” the moisture away when worn, shouldn’t be washed with a softener since it can counteract the benefits of the wicking process.

4. Sort Your Clothes to Avoid Bleeding Colors

When you have mounds and mounds of dirty clothes to wash, it’s tempting to take the lazy route and stuff your washer with whatever you managed to scoop from the pile. But sorting your clothes before washing is a very important step as part of the laundry process.

We’ve been putting most of our clothes through the “short-cycle” that lasts about 15 minutes. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how clean they come out using that cycle. The short cycle also saves on the amount of water used during the full washing process.

Washing like colors together helps to avoid bleeding, which can ruin your clothes. After all, you don’t want to end up with t-shirts, socks, and underwear that are no longer as white as they should be.

5. Keep Your Darker Clothes from Fading

Clothes tend to be fairly expensive these days, and if they’re not washed correctly, they can appear worn out long before they should. To help keep your dark clothes looking new and from fading so quickly, try turning them inside out during the wash cycle.  This could also help keep your brightly colored clothes from bleeding as much onto other articles of clothing.

6. Wash New Clothes Separately

When you first buy new clothes, it’s always best to wash them separately from the rest of your laundry. This is because there may still be some residual chemicals or dyes that can cause your other clothes to bleed or become discolored. After the first wash, they should be safe to mix in with all your other clothes.

7. Avoid Stretching or Shrinking Fabrics

There are a number of different factors that may have caused your favorite blouse to shrink or stretch during the washing and drying process. Some of the best tips to keep this from happening with your clothing are to avoid overloading your washing machine and to be sure to select the delicate cycle when appropriate.

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Additionally, you should consider trying to line dry or lay flat to air dry any clothing that is made with a delicate fabric, such as silk or wool.

Hot water has also been shown to adversely affect certain fabrics. Again, check the label.

8. Machine Washing Isn’t Always Best

While most of our clothes can be safely machine washed, there are still some items that are better off being hand-washed. Any clothing that is made with a delicate fabric, such as silk or wool, is best washed outside of the washing machine. These items should be soaked in cool water and then laid flat to air dry. They may even need to be dry-cleaned by professionals.

9. Pretreat Stains Immediately

Don’t wait to deal with stains on your clothing later. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove. So as soon as you notice a spill or smudge, take care of it right away. The best way to pretreat a stain is to douse it with cold water and then rub in a small amount of liquid laundry detergent or spot remover designed to be used with clothing fabrics. Let the garment soak for about 30 minutes before washing as usual.

10. Use Vinegar on Odors

If your clothes happen to come out of the wash smelling a little less than fresh, try adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. This will help remove any lingering odors from your clothing. Just be sure to use white vinegar and not apple cider or another type, as those can actually leave a scent of their own behind.

11. Hang Clothes to Dry Whenever Possible

Hanging your clothes to dry is always the best option, whenever possible. Not only does it save energy, but it also helps to keep your clothes from shrinking or losing their shape.

If you must use a clothes dryer, be sure to select the lowest heat setting possible for the fabric being washed. Additionally, take your clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp to help prevent wrinkles.

12. Reduce the Number of Wrinkles

Not everyone has time to iron every article of clothing that they own each time it gets washed. So how do you keep the wrinkles out of your clothing after you’ve washed them?

The best way to reduce wrinkles is to take your clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp. You can also invest in a wrinkle-release spray or fabric mist that can help to relax the fibers in your clothing and make wrinkles less visible.

Mark and I have made it a habit to remove our shirts and blouses after being in the dryer for eight to ten minutes. Most dryers will let you stop and then restart them as part of this process. I shudder when I think about all the time I used to spend ironing his shirts.

More Tips for Washing Laundry

12 Quick & Easy Tips for Washing Clothes

Final Word

Following these tips will help you to keep your clothes looking and feeling their best for longer. Washing your clothes correctly can be a bit of a chore, but it’s worth it in the end. Your clothes will thank you! May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Laundry Detergents AdobeStock_284695340 by New Africa

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  1. When we have tornadoes one of the things a lot of folks do to help, who can’t physically dig through debris, run chainsaws and stuff, is wash clothes.
    Insulation gets embedded in everything as does dirt.
    A bag full of clean clothes that fit and are known is a great comfort to those who have just lost almost everything. It’s one less worry on a mom with kids especially.

  2. I use my homemade laundry soap. I use about a tablespoon per load. No residue, no fading. I’m still waiting for my umbrella style clothesline to be put up. I may need to go and buy a bag of concrete and DIY. LOL

      1. I may have to do it myself or get our son to mix the concrete for me. Hubby can’t mix it anymore.

  3. Linda,

    Since Jane’s health deteriorated I’ve taken over doing all the laundry and your tips are golden. I use less detergent and less softener than directions on the package call for, wash virtually everything in cold water, and it all comes out looking great. But I had to learn that bit about adding too much detergent the hard way.

    1. Hi Ray, I learned it the hard way too after I had to get my washing machine repaired. The repair guy was so nice, he said you don’t need that much detergent to wash towels unless you are working on an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean! I cut back my detergent and fabric softener and have never looked back. Plus, I have had fewer repairs, if any. Linda

    2. Ray, I am sure you are a God Sent to your wife. My husband does far more then his share around here, now that standing and walking are so difficult for me. God Bless you both.

  4. So I live on a boat. Our water is not as “clean” as it would be on land. My clothes tend to smell like sweat a lot more than not after cleaning them, especially towels. I have to be extra careful to the ocean environment as it goes out of the boat. Any suggestions on washing? Thanks

    1. Hi Beth, wow, that’s a very good question on the detergent you can use. Would Borax be safe? What about vinegar? I would ask other boaters around you. Linda

    2. Beth use non chlorine bleach, common name oxi clean,( peroxide based and has little environmental impact- less than other options.) mix and leave as powder.. a castile-( grate) soap, and laundry soda. Spot any stains with oxiclean and dampen and leave them for a few min( 20)allow the clothes to soak in water after you agitate a few minutes… then after soak agitate, plunge, etc again… Borax is a good additive, but i am limiting my use.. Borax overload on land will kill soil… I do use it an sugar mixed half and half to kill fire ants.. and when the ants take it deep it has no / little impact- because of broad dispersal…. but let them fail to do their job..kills the plants.

  5. I’m very particular about our laundry. I try to never, ever dry my clothes in a dryer. All that lint? That’s little bits of your clothes wearing out! … not to mention the shrinking and fading it does. I have my clothesline that I use, even in the snowy winter but the next best thing is the “octopus” clothes hanger from Ikea. This is great for underthings, socks, small/quick things. I even take it on cruises to use for quick washes. I have a rod in my laundry room and all regular clothes get hung up there when it’s too cold/wet to linedry. (I iron almost everything, too. I know, I’m weird) I bought a book from The Laundry Guy (Laundry Love, Finding Joy in a Common Chore) and it has a wealth of information in it. (He’s got a funny tv show on HGTV, too) I use the Laundress soap bar, a horsehair brush, and I can get out almost any stain. Vinegar and water is a must have, as is the bleach-free poweder stuff that I can’t remember the name of (not the Oxy Clean stuff tho). He’s got a whole list of what to use for specific stains and his methods work quite well. Laundry pods are waaaay too much soap needed for anyone’s wash. I use your recipe, Linda, and make my own, use 1-2 tsp and everything gets really clean. No residue, etc. I bought an inexpensive blender and food processor to mix the stuff, tho, so I didn’t leave a soap residue in my good blender/food processor. I’m due to be making another batch fairly soon. It’s amazing how far it goes and I can now stop spending a small fortune in laundry detergent. The new Downy beads are horribly expensive, too, and they want you to use a giant capful. Have you seen how big those caps are? Again, you don’t need but a fraction of what they want you to waste. I’ve seen those beads not dissolve in water, tho. Linda, I use the speed cycle, too. Unless we’ve been doing really dirty yard work, etc., our clothes get clean for less water, less energy, less time. Everyone needs to explore all the options out there! I’ve taught my 13 yr old grandson to do his own laundry and he does fairly well. I kept him from putting that new red shirt in with everything tho! Now, if only he wouldn’t use the dryer but I’m not pushing it…he at least does his own laundry!

    1. I grew up with a clothes line… since i have shoulder problems i can no longer hang them all up..i do most of my laundry at night. not wading the grass to rescue clothes i need next morning or in a hurry…stepped on a huge snake one time barefoot and i have not forgotten it.LOL i just chose my battles.sounds like you have done the same wtih grandson…. i prefer to be able to do other things. I throw a dry well worn- “less lint” towel, and wool balls in and the clothes dry quicker and require less dryer. products.

    2. Hi Robbie, oh the red shirt, LOL! Yikes! What a blessing he does his own laundry. I agree we can wash with less detergent, less energy, and save on our power bill! I use very little of the Gain or Downy beads, just enough for a fresh smell! I need to look for the IKEA Octopus deal, love it! Linda

      1. PRESSA 8-Claw Octopus Hanging Dryer 16 Clothes pegs, Easy to fold and Place -Turquoise…looks like Ikea no longer has them! That’s surprising because they’re extremely popular. This one is on Amazon. Naturally, the price is more on Amazon than it was on Ikea but if it can’t be found there, this might be the only option. I have several of them and swear by them. They really minimize space while holding so many small items.

        1. Robbie, my mother had one of these, probably about 40 years ago. She hung he underwear and socks on it.

  6. ikea.com/us/en/p/pressa-hanging-dryer-with-16-clothes-clips-turquoise-10421217/ – $6.99…I lied. Took me a hot minute to find it but it IS still at Ikea and at $6.99, alot cheaper than Amazon’s $19.99!

  7. Our laundry room is directly above our furnace which is hung from the ceiling in our basement (to prevent flooding damage) so it is the warmest room in our home. Perfect for hanging clothes to dry. By the next morning clothes can be moved to the closets. I use warm water all the time and one half of the soap and fabric softener recommended and the shortest cycle, since our clothes are seldom heavily soiled. We do laundry every 4 days to keep a jump on it.

  8. I have well water that is very cold. Soap has a temp rating for a good wash so I used a kitchen thermometer to check the temp. (found this info on the internet, I don’t remember where.) My water was 50 degrees. Way to cold for the soap to work properly. Needed 65 degrees. I had to raise the temp to warm for wash and cold for rinse. Much better wash job.
    Hope this info helps someone.

  9. Hi Deborah,
    May I have your recipe for clothes washing detergent please.
    Don’t think we are close to be able to put your clothes line up. My whole family would help.

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