Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quick Cleaning: Laundry Day

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There is nothing "quick" about doing laundry, but I do think there are things you can do to make laundry day a bit easier on yourself. I have some tips, but would absolutely LOVE to hear your tips, as well. Laundry is about my least favorite chore, so anything to make life easier is great by me.

Let me start by saying I still have the old fashioned washer and dryer...

No, not that old fashioned!

You know, the top loading washer old fashioned...so some tips are with that in mind. Some day my friends, some day I will get front loaders. 

Have A Plan
Some people like having one laundry day each week. This is the day they focus on laundry. Others do one load each day. I personally like one day. 

Stay Home
Whether you do it all in one day or do one load a day, stay home while it is laundry time. This is both for safety reasons (you don't want any accidents--especially with a dryer) and  for efficiency. You can't promptly remove clothes if you aren't home to remove them.

If you do it one day a week, think through the average week and choose the day you are most often home all day.

Preparation
Things start best if I prepare the night before. Usually this just means I gather the dirty laundry from each room the night before. I like to start early in the morning and this way I won't be held up because I left dirty laundry in someone's room.

You could also sort the night before, but I don't do that.

Start Early
Since I do it all in one day, I find that starting earlier in the day makes it more likely that I can get it done that day. If I were doing one load, I would still start early. Otherwise I think I would forget about it as the hecticness of the day started.

Sort and Prep at Once
I sort the clothes and prep them all at the same time. While I am sorting, I turn things inside out that need to be and I check pockets. This way, I can just toss all of the clothes in the washer when it is time.

Jeans First
My first load of the day is always a load of jeans combined with any dark shirts I want to hang-dry. I also include light cotton clothes or socks to finish out the load.

My reason for this is because in my old-fashioned machines, the drying takes the longest. I hang dry at least half of my jeans, so this way my first load of the day dries quickly because by the time it makes it to the dryer, it is rather small.

Towels LastI do my towels last because they take the longest to dry. This way I don't have clothes in the washer waiting while my towels dry.

Remove from Dryer Promptly
I remove my clothes from the dryer as soon as I can after they are dry. I then fold and sort into laundry baskets. This makes it so I rarely need to iron clothes.

Start Next Load Immediately
Even though my dryer takes longer than my washer, I start washing the next load as soon as I am done starting the dryer load and/or folding the load that just came out of the dryer. When I wait, I often forget until the dryer is almost done.

Hang All At Once...Or As You Go
I am not sure what is more efficient--to hang as you go or to hang all at once. I do it all at once after all laundry is done. Mostly this is because of kids rooms and napping children. I just go in the evening some time and put all of the laundry away.

Detergents and Other Supplies
I would love to hear what your favorite detergents and other supplies are!

I love Consumer Reports. Years ago, the detergent they recommended was Cheer. They also said the powder cleaned better than liquid in all detergents. So we used that for years. 

A few months ago, I decided to try something new and tried the Arm and Hammer with Baking Soda and Oxiclean (linked is the liquid but I use the powder). I have been really happy with it.

For babies, I used All Baby detergent (in liquid) or Dreft (in liquid).

Now, I keep an All Free and Clear liquid detergent for use on delicates.

I love Oxiclean. I add a scoop to every white load and usually to my towels as well. One day, the stores was out of the powder so I tried the Oxiclean Max Force and I think I like those better, but it is more money overall I think, so I am still analyzing the whole situation. Another great booster is Borax. I keep Borax around at all times because you can use it in a lot of homemade cleaners (like for scrubbing grout).

For stain removers, I like the Oxiclean spray right now. I have also used Zout and Spray and Wash in the past and have liked those. Fels Naptha is a fabulous bar of soap for getting stains out on whites for sure. I haven't tried it on colored yet--just whites.

Another great stain remover and clothes freshener is plain old Baking Soda.

So far as bleach, I just get Clorox Splashless.

For dryer sheets, I use Bounce but have no good reason why.

Again, I would love to hear what you use and love! AND what you do to make laundry day easier.

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17 comments:

Laura Cherry said...

We're in Oregon on a farm - and our well water, as delicious as it is to drink, tends to turn whites gray if you add bleach or oxyclean. I have no idea why, I just know it does. Also, since some of our garments enter the house smelling... ummmmm... less than desirable and usually covered in some substance not our own, I use vinegar in some of our washes. (It goes with every white load, and on loads of jeans and/or shirts which may be accompanied by "farm stuff" like animal poo or heavy mud...)

I just fill the fabric softener hole (I have the old fashioned washer as well that opens from the top) with white vinegar and no matter what they go in smelling like, they always come out fresh and extra white!

I can't take credit for this - it was my husband's idea, and a fabulous one at that!

Jamie said...

We NEVER sort laundry, except for towels. It all goes in one load...one Tuesday, one Thursday. I run an extra load (usually towels) on Saturday if I need to.

We use All Free and Clear for all clothes and we don't use a fabric softener.

In the dryer we also don't use dryer sheets. We throw a couple tennis balls in the dryer to fluff stuff up, but we really don't like the idea of chemicals rubbing off on our clothes. They are sometimes a little static-y, but nothing too bad. The towels are soft enough to dry with.

I have also never used bleach or any other "harsh" cleaner in my laundry. Every once in a while, I put baking soda in the powder part and peroxide in the "bleach hole" and run my husbands white undershirts through on the handwash cycle (we have a front loader, so that's the best way I've found to "soak"). Then I run them through with a tiny bit of detergent and on the quick-wash cycle to get the peroxide out.

The Normans said...

My favorite time saver is to have multiple baskets for my husband and I. I have four - one for whites, one dark, one for red that I wash separately, and one for towels. We sort as we take clothes off and put them in the basket. Saves me sorting them later!

karen said...

I use either Arm & Hammer or homemade dry laundry detergent (2 cups grated soap, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup Borax). I usually add a scoop of Oxy Clean (or generic equivalent). I use store brand dryer sheets, but I cut the sheets in half to make them last longer. I tried other things (homemade, liquid, vinegar, balls), but everything else left our clothes staticky. :-p

Kim said...

I use Tide with bleach for all my clothes but only use about half the recommended amount. I will also pretreat with Tide and it works wonderfully. I use dish soap on any clothing with grease stains and they always come out, even if I already washed and dried them. My mom always used Tide and I went away from it for awhile but came back because I like it best. It's a little pricier than some of the others, but you really don't need to use as much as suggested.

Melissa M said...

Like an earlier commenter, my husband and I have separate baskets in our closet -- one for lights, one for darks, and one for special care items (dry clean, delicates, etc). It makes it so easy to just go dump a basket in the washer without worrying about what's in it.

roger and courtney said...

I do one load each day because we don't have a dryer and washer's where we live are much smaller. We recently had to replace a super old washer and our new fancy washer has a timer on it. Every night before bed I put a load in and set the timer so that the clothes will be finished washing around the time I wake up. Every morning I go out and hang the clothes on the line to make sure they have a full day of sunlight to get dry. Usually once or twice a week I will do an extra load during the day.

Kaiser said...

Last spring I switched from detergent to Soap Nuts from NaturOli. They are natural, green, effective and cheap. You just put 3-5 of the soap nuts into a canvas pouch, toss it in the washer and away you go! No need for anything in the dryer, although sometimes I will add a couple drops of essential oils to an old cloth to make my cloths smell pretty :) I will also add a scoop of Washing soda or Oxiclean from time to time to brighten things.

Amanda said...

I love the pic of Brayden and Kaitlyn washing clothes in the real old-fashioned washers :) Too cute!

I realized that the response I wanted to write was way too lengthy for a comment box, lol! So I blogged about it instead :)

http://planningonit.blogspot.com/

Jessica said...

I am currently analyzing our laundry schedule. Monday is usually my laundry day but having to be home all day, up and down the stairs, is starting to cramp my style. ;) I believe I am going to make a schedule for a load each day, putting it in when we start our morning.

As to detergent, Cheer is my favorite, I love how it smells. I am not a detergent snob, meaning I will use other detergents. I buy what is on sale, and what I can combine a coupon with. We are using Gain right now, and I believe I paid $1.99 for it. ;) Dryer sheets are the same.

I have toyed with the idea of buying separate baskets to separate our clothes, as soon as we take them off, but have not gotten that far. I currently sort the laundry outside the laundry room before I wash clothes.

I do not mind washing, drying or folding clothes...my issue lies with putting them up...oops!

Jamie said...

Oh, I wanted to add a weird tid-bit...

When I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, folding clothes is near impossible. It causes some weird pain in my upper back, regardless of how I'm sitting/standing. So an extra bonus for these last few months is that my husband has to fold all the laundry!

D & H said...

I have a hamper with three different places to put laundry, so we sort the laundry as we put it in the hamper. It saves a lot of time!

I think Tide cleans the best, although since it is expensive I only use it on really dirty or stained clothes. Most stains can come out if they sit in a bucket of water with some Tide for a few days. I also like Zout spray for stains.

sarah k said...

For me, the thought of doing all my laundry in one day is overwhelming. I have three kids with very sensitive skin, prone to eczema, and they need a different detergent (All Free & Clear is best for us) while my husband's white things need a stronger detergent and bleach, which I don't use on my kids' clothes. My goal is to do two loads of laundry each weekday, and one each weekend day; that will keep the laundry pretty well under control. At bare minimum, at least one load per day. I have a few rules for myself that help me not get into a situation where we have nothing to wear and the piles are enormous (because I've been there and it is no fun!!!):
1) start one load every day; often that's at 11 pm before bed, but I try to start one load and put the other one (sometimes the one that was started the night before--not ideal but such is life sometimes!) into the dryer and fold whatever was in the dryer.
2) always fold clothes immediately as soon as I take them out of the dryer. I can't always get them out as soon as the dryer finishes, but then I'll run it for a couple of minutes to fluff them and also warm them so I can tell what's damp and what's just cold. :)
3) when I take folded clothes upstairs, put them all the way away immediately. If I have little piles in front of everyone's bedroom door all day, they will get kicked and knocked over and I will go crazy with the mess.
4) At this season of life, I have to enlist my sweet husband's help. Late at night, he is often helping me fold clothes while we watch TV, and he will carry clean loads upstairs for me. Not glamorous but it's real life, again!

Thanks for sharing your tips!

Plowmanators said...

Hey everyone! Thanks for adding your great ideas!

First Time Mom said...

You only have to wash once a week...do you not find that you have another load that really needs to be done before you next big wash day? That is why I usually do one load a day but I think I would like to do it all in one day but I feel that would almost not ever happen b/c I would have more to wash in a couple days.

Plowmanators said...

Every so often, I need to do another load another day of the week. Like yesterday I washed snow clothes because it warmed up and got muddy. But most of the time, I can do once a week with no problem.

maria smith said...

Boy do I need a better plan for my laundry! I could use a cleaning service just to help me get it into all the drawers and closets. Mom's life :D
Laundry means a busy, happy family!

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