Photo by: iStock

Family Laundry Hacks

Photo by: iStock

With everything going on in your life-school, work, after-school activities, shopping, cooking and more-the last thing you want to deal with is laundry. Trying to train your family to follow laundry rules can be an impossible dream. Mari Ratcliffe, a retired organizing and cleaning expert from Phoenix, Arizona, has some awesome hacks to turn laundry nightmares into easier tasks.

1. Towels are the wettest items in your home. And where do they go after your bath or shower? Right into the hamper, where they’ll sit, damp for possibly days until it’s laundry time. And true to grossness, they could get musty or even moldy. Ratcliffe advises, “Add a cup of white vinegar to their wash cycle to kill mold and mildew and keep towels fresh.”

2. It’s OK to wash sneakers, but resist the temptation to toss them in the dryer. No. 1, you’ll ensure the rubber degrades faster and you could throw your dryer’s alignment out of whack and shorten its life. Air-dry them instead.

3. Treat stains immediately. Don’t let stained clothes just sit in the hamper. “The stain sets into the fabric and it becomes harder, if not impossible to remove,” advises Ratcliffe. Keep stain removal spray or sticks in all your bathrooms. Your budget will thank you.

4. Don’t wash your clothes after only one or two wearings. Hang them up in the closet to let them air out, especially if you haven’t perspired in them. Often, airing out clothes is all they need, not a wash. They’ll also last longer.

5. Wash socks in one load. If it’s not a large enough load to warrant its own washing, throw them into a lingerie bag and add them to another small batch of clothes. This will cut down on lost socks that migrate via static cling onto your husband’s suit jacket or slacks, only to be found later during an important meeting. Trust us.

6. Putting it all away: When the dryer buzzes, grab all the warm laundry and throw it on your bed. Switch on the TV and sit on your bed while you fold the still-warm clothes. Not only will you get to luxuriate in the warm pile of clothes, but folding and sorting is now a one-step process with an instant, roomy “worktable.”

7. Did you leave the clothes in the dryer overnight? You don’t have to wash and dry them again to remove wrinkles. Wet a hand towel and wring it out thoroughly. Throw it in the dryer and run a cycle. Set a timer wherever you are in the house so you don’t have to repeat this hack!

Laundry can be as hard or as easy as you make it. You can involve your family or, after reading these tips, handle it yourself and make them think it’s still a mountainous task. But you didn’t hear that from us. And there’s one final benefit: Ratcliffe adds, “Doing laundry gives you a fairly decent workout! You get more steps and exercise time in, according to my fitness tracker.” What’s not to love?

Shelley Moench-Kelly, MBA, is a New England-based writer and editor whose freelance clients include Google, L’Oreal Paris and

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