The $9 Gadget That’ll Improve Dryer Performance and Keep Clothes Lint-Free

The $9 Gadget That’ll Improve Dryer Performance and Keep Clothes Lint-Free

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

You’ve probably been there — your dryer completes a cycle, and as you begin pulling the warm garments out, you find that they’re covered in irksome white fluff. To your horror, you realize you didn’t clean out the dryer vent after running that faux fur blanket. Or, maybe you’re just now discovering that your appliance even has a vent that requires cleaning. Don’t be embarrassed; at AT, we revel in the opportunity to share our favorite laundry hacks. From the best stain removers to editor-approved sheet detanglers and portable washing machines, we’re here to help turn one of the most tedious chores into a headache-free function.

With regards to lint buildup, yes, you should be cleaning your dryer vent gap semi-regularly and the outside tubing at least once a year to prevent clogging. Personally, I like to wipe my dryer’s vent every two-to-three cycles, as I’m perpetually wary of damaging the machine or having to subsequently lint-roll my dark clothes for ages. I was never sure exactly how to go about doing so, opting for a wet paper towel and awkwardly brushing the buildup off of the vent filter and into the trash can. But with the Holikme dryer vent cleaning kit from Amazon, this task now has a more streamlined system.

This two-piece kit is really just comprised of two wire brushes that are conveniently bristled and flexible enough to reach that difficult crevice at the front of your dryer. With more than 13,500 five-star reviews from buyers, it’s evident that the set guarantees a quick and straightforward solution. “This is perfect for the price… and you get 2 of them!” one reviewer shared. “The minute it arrived, I tried it and loved it! It got all the lint way down past the screen and scooped it out!” Each brush is 29 inches long and features a 4-inch wooden handle for easy maneuvering.

Not only will the kit help keep freshly washed and dried clothes as clean as possible, but it’ll also improve dryer performance, as not cleaning the vent and exhaust pipe can cause longer cycles, which can in turn increase utility bills. One reviewer can attest to this. “… Recently the dryer hadn’t been drying as well as it should have,” she shared. “I got so much lint out of the dryer where the lint trap goes that I was APPALLED!” Removing lint buildup can also help prevent fires, making this tool potentially life-saving. (No hyperbole here!)

Adding to this product’s many pluses, buyers lauded the kit for being surprisingly sturdy, the brushes’ wooden handles thick enough to withstand even the most severe bending. So it appears that for less than $10, you can be the proud owner of a tool that simultaneously keeps your fits looking fresh and prevents home disasters. Fire safety has never sounded so appealing!

The $18 Laundry Room Find I Wish I Discovered Years Ago

The $18 Laundry Room Find I Wish I Discovered Years Ago

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

As a shopping writer, I’ve come across some pretty awesome products over the years. From a back-saving tub scrubber to a smart alarm clock that completely changed the way I sleep, these products have truly made a difference in the way I live my life. So, if anyone can attest to the fact that the perfect home item can truly be life-changing, it’s me. While visiting my 80-year-old aunt a couple of weeks back, I found her in the laundry room struggling to pick up one of those gallon-sized bottles of detergent (what can I say, the lady likes a good deal). Seeing her fuss around with the heavy bottle and frustrating pump nozzle, I immediately stepped in to help, much to her delight. I also began to wonder if there was something out there that could make getting to her laundry detergent a bit easier. One quick Google search later and I found the Skywin Laundry Detergent Holder Organizer.

Designed to store and help dispense oversized bottles of laundry detergent, these organizers are truly miracle workers. They consist of two pieces: a stand that sits at a downward angle to help get to every last drop of detergent and a security velcro strap outfitted with rubber grips to ensure your bottle doesn’t go anywhere. The best part? Set-up takes one minute. Simply run the velcro through each loop on the sides of the stand, slide your bottle between the velcro (there’s a lip that helps hold the bottle steady at the base), and secure the strap for a tight fit. Then, all that’s left to do is remove the cap, place it on the overflow plate at the front of the stand, and start dispensing. Easy-peasy!

The second I found these organizers, I overnighted a set to my aunt’s home as a surprise. When they arrived, I quietly put them together, placed her detergent and softener on the stands, and stored them in a handy metal cabinet she has right above the washing machine. As I took a step back, I said to myself, “Gosh, I wish I knew about these sooner.” Afterward, I called my aunt to the laundry room to show her and she was floored. She immediately opened the cabinet and let out a big, “Wow!” I watched as she played around with it and welcomed the big bear hug she gave me a thank you. A couple of days later she called me up to tell me once again how much she was loving the stands saying, “My back is so happy!” Needless to say, the stands were a win.

The Skywin Laundry Detergent Holder Organizer is normally $26, but right now you can get your hands on one for just $18. So if you’re tired of fumbling around with giant gallon-sized bottles of laundry detergent, give yourself (and your back) a break with one of these stands. You may just end up wondering how you ever lived without one, too.

Sarah M. Vazquez

SEO Commerce Editor

Sarah writes about all things shopping for Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and Cubby helping you find the best deals and the best products for you and your home. A Brooklyn-born Jersey Girl, she loves a good playlist, a good bagel, and her family (but not necessarily in that order).

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Bored With Your Laundry Routine? Try Hanging a Disco Ball, According to “The Laundry Guy”

Bored With Your Laundry Routine? Try Hanging a Disco Ball, According to “The Laundry Guy”

For many people, laundry is a dreaded household chore. Even after you’ve finished washing and drying your clothes, you still have to fold them and put them away — it’s seemingly never ending. But according to Patric Richardson (aka the Laundry Evangelist) of the Discovery+ series “The Laundry Guy,” it doesn’t have to be. Instead, he says these small tweaks to your washing routine can actually make laundry day your favorite day of the week! 

According to Richardson, sometimes you just need a change of perspective to get over your laundry day dread. “Ultimately, I believe we don’t have to do laundry, we get to do laundry,” he says. “If you see the act of washing clothes as taking care of your loved ones (including yourself) it is so much nicer.” 

If that’s not enough, he recommends trying to turn laundry day into an opportunity to relax. “Enjoy the process, add a few niceties like a drink and something to listen to, and maybe it won’t be your favorite chore, but it will be much easier,” he says. “You know, someone out there loves going to the dentist, so you can love laundry.”

Make your laundry room a fun space.

Instagram is full of photos of farm-style laundry rooms that favor light colors and minimalist decor, but Richardson says a distraction (and a dose of fun) might be exactly what your washroom needs in order to become a space you’ll enjoy going to. “Hang a disco ball in your laundry room, add something to listen to, and take a beverage,” he says. “If you tell everyone you are going to do laundry, they will leave you alone … I promise.”

No laundry room? No problem.

Don’t worry, you can still take advantage of Richardson’s tips even if you don’t have a laundry space of your own. “To customize a shared space, take some headphones, a snack, a big comfy throw or hoodie, and a killer book (“Laundry Love” for example),” he says, adding that the key is to make yourself comfy while you are waiting on the washer and dryer. “Many laundry spaces now have Wi-Fi, which makes things easier for sure, but you can always download your favorite laundry music or podcasts.” 

Richardson’s other favorite trick for those who rely on a laundromat to get their clothes clean: Turn it into an opportunity to socialize. Invite a friend so that you can catch up while you wait for your wash to get clean, or plan a call with a long-distance friend. 

Tackle it all in one day.

Okay, maybe Richardson’s tricks won’t make you love doing laundry, but they can certainly help improve the process. And if you follow just one tip, make it be this one: Get it all done in a single sitting. That means washing, drying, folding, and putting away all of your laundry on the same day. If you’ve turned your laundry space into a place you enjoy, doing it this way will really lighten your load (pun intended). 

Lauren Wellbank

Contributor

Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer with more than a decade of experience in the mortgage industry. Her writing has also appeared on HuffPost, Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, and more. When she’s not writing she can be found spending time with her growing family in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

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Ever Wish Your Laundry Detergent Smelled Like Your Favorite Perfume? Now It Can

Ever Wish Your Laundry Detergent Smelled Like Your Favorite Perfume? Now It Can

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Having already conquered personal scents, cult-favorite fragrance brand Dedcool looked to an unexpected place for its next project: laundry detergent. The idea for the aptly named “Dedtergent” came from a desire to elevate and expand the way we experience fragrance day-to-day, in more ways than one. Alongside its captivating aromas based on its bestselling unisex perfumes, this laundry detergent boasts an innovative, eco-friendly formulation through plant-based, biodegradable ingredients like vegetable oil and sugar for an effective clean without any harmful chemicals.

As a sucker for fragrance (and puns), I was more than excited to test out this detergent. The first thing I should note is that this detergent is very concentrated, meaning a little goes a long way when it comes to cleaning power — I found a very small amount got even my largest loads clean! Now, while I was familiar with Dedcool, it was a brand I had yet to check off my “must-try” fragrance list, so when it came to picking out a scent (there are currently three scents available) I opted for MILK, the brand’s #1 scent, which features a delicate blend of three of my favorite notes: amber, musk, and bergamot. While designed to be used for everything from clothes and intimates to sheets, blankets, and more, I found my favorite things to use this detergent on are bedding, blankets, and towels. With its light, warm notes, this detergent adds the coziest scent that you want to curl yourself up in, making these pieces the perfect candidates. In fact, ever since I started using Dedtergent I’ve gotten tons of compliments from friends about how good my blankets and towels smell! It’s safe to say I found my new go-to detergent.

Offering 60 washes per can, Dedcool’s Dedtergent retails at $35 and comes in three of the brand’s most iconic scents: MILK, TAUNT, and SPRING. Best of all, the chic tin container is designed to be reused — the brand offers a three-pound refill bag! So if you’re looking to add a little luxury to your laundry game, try Dedcool’s Dedtergent for yourself. But consider this a warning: You may just find it hard to go back to your regular grocery store staple after this.

Sarah M. Vazquez

SEO Commerce Editor

Sarah writes about all things shopping for Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and Cubby helping you find the best deals and the best products for you and your home. A Brooklyn-born Jersey Girl, she loves a good playlist, a good bagel, and her family (but not necessarily in that order).

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Vomit Isn’t Washing Machine Friendly — Plus, Other Laundry Dos and Don’ts

Vomit Isn’t Washing Machine Friendly — Plus, Other Laundry Dos and Don’ts

If you’ve ever paused for just a second before throwing something nasty into your washing machine, you aren’t alone. It’s easy to assume that if it can fit into a washing machine, then the machine can handle it. But that may not really be the case if you want to keep your washer, and your clothes, in optimal condition. 

As a parent to four boys under age 7, the things I’ve thrown in the washing machine range from (warning: gross details ahead) full poop accidents, sheets full of urine, vomit-covered t-shirts, and cleats with more clumps of mud than I remember seeing on the ball field. The quickest and easiest thing for me to do is to throw everything in. But experts warn that some pre-cleaning might be needed in order to preserve the machine’s life.

Here’s what you can chuck right into the machine, and what you might end up having to revisit on the other end of the cycle if you aren’t careful.

Can your washer handle clothing soiled with bodily fluids? Yes.

The faster I can get some accident-filled pants off my kid and into a washer, the better. Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, says that washers were indeed meant to handle bodily fluids like this, but that you should pull out soiled materials to wash separately to save your favorite towels and clothes.

“​​Wash in water of 140 degrees Fahrenheit on the longest cycle your machine has. You will need to add bleach to disinfect the material. Read the fabric label to see which kind is safe for it. When you are done with those loads, clean your machine with any of the available washing machine cleaning products on the market following the instructions on the label,” he explains.

He adds that you will know your washer isn’t handling the mess you are putting in it if there’s an odor coming from it afterward. You can set it to a “clean” cycle after it handles a messy job, or if you don’t have that option, you can put it on hot water for the longest possible cycle.

Can you wash cloth baby diapers in the washer? Yes.

Luckily, your washer is meant to handle the messiest stages of babyhood. Judy McAuley and her husband own two cloth diapering services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Green Cheeks Diaper Service and Happy Baby Company — and she says she’s counseled numerous clients through the glorious poop washing process before, troubleshooting laundry issues along the way.

“I have never seen any sign that bodily fluids affect washing machines at all, at least in the context of cloth diapering. Until babies start eating solid food, their poop is actually water-soluble so it just disappears in the wash process and parents don’t have to worry about any kind of poop removal,” she says. “Once they’ve started eating solids it’s recommended to flush any solids you can get out of the diaper because at that point it can contain things that are not water-soluble, like fruit skins and such.” 

Even then, she jokes, if you were to miss a diaper the worst that will generally happen is finding some very clean blueberry skins on the inside of your washer drum, where they’d get caught just like a large piece of lint or a paper you left in your pocket would. 

Can you wash vomit stained clothing in the washing machine? Not quite.

If there isn’t a utility sink right next to your washer, removing vomit from clothes before using the machine might be the last thing you’d prefer to do, as it can be a messy and smelly job. But, Dallas Nevill, owner of Rainbow Restoration in Southwest Mesa, Arizona, says this is exactly what needs to happen to prevent puke particles from inhibiting your washer’s normal functioning. He recommends following these steps to prevent a smelly washer.

Bonus points: The vinegar and baking soda trick might also be helpful with other types of stains too, and can be helpful to have on hand near your washer.

Other things you should never put in your washing machine:

So it seems your washer can handle anything your toddler can throw at you, but there are a few products that should never come in contact with your washing machine. 

“Petroleum products like grease and oil can rub off the materials they are on and then get onto the inner basket of the washer, potentially also spreading to other items in the washer. This can happen not only in the current load, but future loads as well,” he says. “Lipstick and other waxy products can do the same thing. Items like these need to be hand-washed in a sink.”