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The older I get, the more excited I get about laundry. While I can’t say I stay on top of washing and folding my family’s clothes, I can say that when I do make it down to the laundry room, I’ve got some systems and tools that make the job a whole lot more enjoyable. It’s amazing how much fun a mundane chore can be when you’ve got a dreamy-smelling detergent and an effective stain remover. 

But other non-laundry-specific items also play just as big of a role in making the process less of a drag (and, of course, keeping my clothes in good condition). For example, I keep a bottle of white vinegar and a carton of baking soda in the laundry room for neutralizing smells, and I’ve been known to use tennis balls in my dryer to reduce wrinkles and static.

Another new habit I’ve picked up? I keep an old toothbrush in the cabinet next to my washer. It’s such a tiny addition to my routine, but it makes such a big difference (and it’s way cheaper and less wasteful than buying a whole new laundry brush). After spraying Shout on a stain, I use the toothbrush to work out the coffee spill or grease splatter. Simply wet the affected area of the fabric, spray your go-to stain remover on it, scrub, and rinse before tossing it into the wash with your other laundry. 

Stains can be pesky, and in general, it’s best to attempt removing them as soon as you can. In my experience, pairing a powerful stain remover with a brush is way better at removing tough (and even old) stains than using fingers alone or rubbing the fabric together.  The brush pushes the stain-remover into the fabric and agitates the fibers more effectively, which only increases the odds you’ll end up with good-as-new clothing. 

I’m not against laundry brushes, but I like to reuse items whenever I can, and I’ve found a toothbrush works a lot more precisely than a larger brush (especially if you’re dealing with smaller stains). For as effective as they are at cleaning, toothbrushes are super versatile, too. Next time I get a new brush from the dentist’s office, I’m planning to bring my current one down to the kitchen to keep my tile grout clean.