6 Laundry Tips for People Who Hate Laundry

6 Laundry Tips for People Who Hate Laundry

As far as chores go, laundry gets a pretty bad rap. The tedious task is on the bottom of most people’s to-do lists, and you would be lying if you said you’ve never waited until you’ve run out of underwear to finally do a load of laundry. (We’re all friends here; you can be honest.) 

Still, it’s just one of those things that has to get done, and I’m all about figuring out ways to make life’s must-dos a little bit more palatable. Enter: these tips designed to make your next load of laundry quicker, more effective, and — yes — even pleasant.

Reserve Your Fave Podcast or Book

To help psych yourself up for doing laundry, save a much-loved form of entertainment just for the task. “I bank episodes of my favorite true-crime podcast for laundry day,” says Caitlin Thomson of Putnam Valley, New York. “Listening to something distracting and enjoyable makes folding go by so much faster.”

Inject Personality into Your Laundry Space

Laundry day will feel like way less of a chore if you’re not closed off in some sad, dim, forgotten room of your home. If you have machines at home, whether they’re in a dedicated room or just a hall closet, spice up that zone with a bold pop of color or a touch of plant life. “I’m a plant mom through-and-through and believe that plants (even faux ones) belong in every room, including your laundry room,” says Kenika Williams, professional organizer and owner of Tidied by K. “It’ll dress up your space and make it a more inviting environment to spend time in.” 

Doodle on Your Appliances

Nothing sinks your stomach more than realizing you accidentally tossed your favorite air-dry-only top into the dryer by mistake. The key to keeping all your cycles in sync? A dry-erase marker. “If there’s anything I have to take out of the washer to hang dry before transferring the load into the dryer, I write myself a note directly onto my machine with a dry-erase marker — that way, there’s no forgetting,” says Amber Casillas of Washington, D.C. To add an extra playful touch, choose markers in fun colors or leave notes of encouragement for the next poor soul — ahem, laundry warrior — who uses the machine. 

Customize Your Own Laundry Scent

Scribble Out Grease Stains

Though there are tons of effective products on the market for treating everything from stains to mildew, sometimes useful ones are options you haven’t even considered. Exhibit A: chalk. “At my house, any stubborn grease stains get treated with chalk,” says Allison Bottenhofer of New York City. “I’ll scribble chalk on top of the stain, let it sit for a bit, then add a bit more before throwing it in the laundry.” While this is honestly probably really satisfying even for an adult to do, it’s a great task to get children involved in. (Look, kids: Chores can be fun!) Just don’t be surprised if they start drawing all over your jeans. Don’t worry: It will wash off (duh). 

Grant Yourself Some You-Time

Instead of feeling like you’re shackled to the washer and dryer while making your way through laundry loads, use the chore as an excuse to build a little me-time into your schedule. The average wash cycle is around 40 to 50 minutes, so squeeze in some TLC for yourself while your clothes tumble. “I do my laundry once a week and use that time as a self-care ritual,” says Shelley Brown of New York City. “I face mask and sometimes even whiten my teeth while my stuff is in the wash.” Whatever your form of ahhhhh — meditation, a bit of couch time with a magazine, or a quick walk with your dog — gift yourself the freedom to do it during the wash cycle. Who knows? You may even start looking forward to laundry day.

Apartment Therapy’s Laundry, Sorted vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Samsung.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Laundry Machine

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Laundry Machine

Doing the laundry is all about repeating best practices. But sometimes it’s okay to rethink your tried-and-true washing routine. As it turns out, many unexpected items can take a spin in the washer, as long as you prepare them properly (think: zippered mesh bags) and the machine is on the right cycle and water temperature setting. 

Keep reading to learn more about the unexpected items you can generally put in the washing machine, according to laundry specialists. Of course, cleaning expert Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, points out that you should always check an individual item’s wash instructions on its label before tossing it in the machine.

1. Reusable Cloth Grocery Bags

While reusable grocery bags are great for the environment, they can be unhealthy for you if you don’t clean them properly after every use, potentially becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can contaminate your food. That said, grocery bags made of cloth — fabrics like canvas, cotton, and polyester — can easily get a refresh in the washing machine, according to Maker. Here are instructions for washing and drying your reusable grocery bags based on the material they’re made out of. 

Anything you put on your face should be clean, and that obviously includes makeup sponges. Continuously using makeup sponges without cleaning them could lead to caked-on application, plus bacteria and mold. Of course, washing them by hand every time you put on makeup is a real pain.

Not everyone advises putting these sponges through the washing machine (including the manufacturers of the Beauty Blender), but both Maker and Patric Richardson, laundry expert and host of ”The Laundry Guy,” think it’s fine for them to go for a spin. According to Maker, reusable makeup sponges are made of a thicker and more durable foam than disposable makeup sponges and can therefore be washed in a washing machine in a mesh bag on the cold/warm water cycle, then laid flat to dry. Richardson recommends rinsing out excess makeup first and washing these sponges alone.

Not much is grosser than a shower curtain covered in mildew. Oh, that’s yours? You don’t necessarily have to buy a new curtain just yet — instead, you might toss it in the wash. 

“In the event that your shower curtain looks dingy or has mold or mildew buildup, you can throw it into the washing machine with a couple of towels,” says Maker, who explains that the towels will help to better scrub the curtain clean. Maker also suggests using regular detergent and cold water, which is gentler on fabric, and Richardson recommends adding oxygen bleach to brighten up the shower curtain. Then, hang to dry.

Makeup, drool, sweat… your pillow can get pretty nasty, even with a pillowcase on it. No worries: If the pillow is made of down or cotton or poly-filled, you can likely put the whole thing in the wash.

From getting sucked to being thrown on the ground to just generally getting dragged around everywhere, your kids’ stuffed toys get a lot of tough love, and they can get pretty dirty. Luckily, though, “many modern stuffed animals are totally safe to wash,” says Richardson. However, this is a situation where you’ll definitely want to first check with the manufacturer and/or read the care label instructions. 

If it’s good to go in the washing machine, Maker recommends putting the toy into a delicates bag, washing it with kid-safe detergent, then drying it in a low-heat dryer or laying it out flat to dry. 

Silk has an undeserved reputation for being delicate. In fact, Richardson says that silk is one of the strongest materials on earth and, because of this, your silk item may be able to handle going in the washing machine. Richardson says to put any silk items in a mesh bag and wash with laundry soap (not detergent, which can cause color bleeding or can lead to silk losing its luster) on the express cycle, which Richardson says “is long enough to get your clothes clean, but short enough to not abrade fabric,” and then air-dry. 

There might be nothing better than a crisp pair of shoes, and your old canvas footwear could potentially get that look again via a ride through the wash. Richardson says shoes made out of natural materials, like cotton, hemp, or linen are washing machine-safe, unlike many other shoe materials, such as leather and suede. He recommends putting canvas shoes in a mesh bag and washing them with oxygen bleach (it’s color-safe) on the express cycle to quickly and efficiently remove dirt and get that “fresh out of the box” look. (Of course, first make sure you look to see if your canvas shoes have leather or suede details, like a tongue tag!) Also note that even companies like Rothy’s and Allbirds that make shoes specifically marketed as machine washable say you should air-dry.

No need to hand-wash all wool clothing! According to Miguel Villalobos, head of experience and revenue at on-demand laundry service dree, wool is a natural fiber that can be safe for the washing machine if properly handled. 

“Just be sure to wash it by itself inside a mesh bag,” Villalobos says. “If you have multiple woolen items, use a separate mesh bag for each garment, and always wash on a delicate cycle with cold water.” Also, make sure you’re using detergent specially made for wool because it is formulated with pH levels that will not damage the fibers.

You might not think you can get your bulky down coat wet, but you can! “The farmer didn’t grab the geese and bring them inside when it rained; they just swam in the pond,” says Richardson. “It stands to reason they can get wet.” 

He suggests using laundry soap, not detergent, when washing down items because laundry soap doesn’t leave any residue and will not mat down the feathers. Richardson also says these items should be washed alone. With your down parka, Richardson says to hang it to dry, but then toss it in the dryer with no heat and three tennis balls to get the fluff back.

Car floor mats take a beating daily thanks to dirt, crumbs, weather, and the occasional spill, but you can get them clean without having to pay for professional laundering. Car mats are tough and, while some places suggest handwashing, according to Richardson, since you won’t be washing them on a frequent basis, they can go in the washing machine on the cold cycle and then air-dry.

Apartment Therapy’s Laundry, Sorted vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Samsung.

SPONSORED POST: 5 Quick and Easy Laundry Tips That Will Make Wash Day Less of a Chore

SPONSORED POST: 5 Quick and Easy Laundry Tips That Will Make Wash Day Less of a Chore

We’ll let you in on a laundry secret: Wash day doesn’t have to be complicated. Most people make doing laundry more difficult than it needs to be with excess products, treatments, and clutter. Try adding some of these clever moves to your repertoire instead. They’ll make laundry day much simpler, plus get your clothes cleaner in the process.

1. Put Your Pillowcase to Work

Mesh laundry bags are great for delicates like bras, but you’ve already got an excellent alternative in your linen closet. Just add your delicate items to a pillowcase (clasp bras first) and tie it with a rubber band. The same goes for sneakers. Sticking them in a pillowcase, unlaced, will keep your machine free of scuff marks and cut down on noise. (Nobody wants to take squeaky clean literally.)

2. Say Hello to Smart Tech

If you’re considering an upgrade, you’ll be amazed at how much easier laundry can be when you lean on technology. For starters, the Samsung Smart Dial Front Load Washer with CleanGuard™ and Samsung Smart Dial Dryer with Super Speed Dry both have an extra-large capacity (5.0 cu. ft. and 7.5 cu. ft., respectively). Together, they can wash and dry a full load in under an hour. That means less time and fewer loads. The AI powered Smart Dial links washer and dryer cycles.* When the washer and dryer are stacked, you can operate them both from one easy-to-reach centralized control. Talk about a power couple.

3. Get Help from What You Already Have

You don’t need to buy expensive stain treatments, dryer sheets, and other laundry extras — just shop your shelves. A ball of aluminum foil will slash static cling. Adding a tablespoon of salt to your wash will keep colors from fading. You can pre-treat oil stains with chalk. A half-cup of distilled white vinegar, one of our favorite household supplies, will soften a load of sheets. Stinky gym gear? Spritz it with vodka before washing. The multitasking options are endless!

4. Wipe Away Excess Detergent with Your Dirty Clothes

File this under: Why didn’t we think of this before? After measuring out detergent, when the cap or bottle is coated with detergent slime, wipe it off with an item you’re about to wash! Or, go next-level and eliminate the problem before it starts: The Samsung Smart Dial Front Load Washer with OptiWash™ lets you fill the detergent drawer with up to 20 loads’ worth of detergent and softener. It takes care of the rest, for a perfect wash, every time.

5. Keep Those Machines Sparkling

Ensuring that your washer and dryer are clean makes your clothes cleaner, too. We don’t have to tell you to empty the lint trap, but when did you last deep clean it? After giving it a good vacuum, soak in soapy water and rinse. Check the dryer vents, which are also prone to lint buildup. And if you’re not cleaning your washing machine regularly, then bacteria and mold can settle in. Spray your machine’s rubber gasket with white vinegar, wipe it down to remove gunk, then run an empty hot wash cycle with two cups of white vinegar. Spic and span! Need a reminder? Samsung’s Self Clean+ technology will notify you every 40 wash cycles when it’s time for a cleaning.

*Requires a Wi-Fi connection and a SmartThings compatible Washer with the Smart Control setting on. Auto Cycle Link is only available when pair is connected to Wi-Fi. However, when dryer is stacked on the washer and connected to each other using the MultiControl KIT (sold seperately, Model code: DV-MCK), Wi-Fi connection is unnecessary.

When the World Feels Like It’s Devolving into Chaos, Fold Some Socks

When the World Feels Like It’s Devolving into Chaos, Fold Some Socks

In early spring 2020, just as the country began to shut down, my husband and I moved in with his parents. We had had to close our wine importing business and found ourselves in a precarious financial situation. We also wanted to help my in-laws navigate this new pandemic world; both of them are over 70, and my mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. So the four of us hunkered down and learned how to live together: We gardened together, we cooked together (our favorite Thai dishes, their favorite Southern comfort favorites), we watched old Westerns and introduced them to Melissa McCarthy comedies, and we did way too much day drinking. For a little while, it was almost like a vacation.

As time went on, though, we realized that this new living arrangement required a lot of adjustment and sacrifice. One area where this quickly became apparent was in doing the laundry. This will be familiar for anyone who has ever had a loved one with a neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s: Doing laundry was one of the routines that helped my mother-in-law make sense of the chaos of those early COVID days. It was familiar, she didn’t need help to do it, and she could provide for her family. Great, right? Well, sort of. I quickly learned that I would need to go hunting for shirts and pants that made it into the wrong basket or closet; return underwear that really belonged to my father-in-law, not me (although that wasn’t as awkward as finding my own jockstraps nicely folded for me by my mother-in-law); and schedule sneaky, late-night laundry sessions for the items that I really cared about and didn’t want to disappear. 

Nowhere were these laundry stumbling blocks more evident than with socks. Because if you’ve ever done a washing and drying load in your life, you know that, if Murphy’s Law were specific to laundry, it would go something like, “Any sock that can go missing, will go missing.” And in our family’s case, no matter how hard we tried, we quickly ended up with bags of unmatched socks. Yes, bags. Dozens and dozens of unmatched socks collected in shopping bags and totes. I would order new sets of socks and cross my fingers that they would stay matched for at least a week, but in this house, we wash new clothes before wearing them, so, you guessed it: Some of these brand-new sock pairs never even survived long enough to make it onto feet.

In a world that felt like it was devolving into chaos, it would have been easy to accept my sock dilemma as one more setback in an absolutely garbage year, just another punch in the gut, #pandemiclife. 

Instead, I became determined to make something positive out of the situation. Each week or so, I’d take those mounds of sad singles, dump them onto my bed, put on some music, and get to matching. Or I’d drag the bag to the couch and turn on Netflix before settling into a sock session. I began ritualizing the sorting of the socks, turning it into a meditative, mindful moment. It was a solitary endeavor, one that didn’t require anyone else’s help and forced me to slow down and focus on this one task for however long it took. It was my time — just me and the socks!

I developed a routine. First, I sorted all socks into piles based on color: white socks here, black and gray socks over there, patterned socks in the middle. Then, I’d methodically go through each pile, laying out the socks in front of me so I could have eyes on all of them, training myself to remember shapes and sizes and patterns as I referred to each sock one by one. It was easy to pair up the pink socks with the little green cactuses that my husband loves; the subtly striped ones proved a bit more difficult. The many black ankle socks that were close in size but not exact matches usually just got coupled up regardless; I only had so much patience.  

Sometimes I’d end up surrounded by socks — socks draped over my legs and onto the pillows, or lined up in a row all along the back of the couch. I’d have to shoo away the dogs when they tried to join me and turn down offers of help from my husband or mother-in-law. I had a system! Don’t mess with my system! 

To the casual observer, it would have looked nonsensical; to me, it made so much more sense than almost anything else going on around me. These were moments when I could sit by myself and create some order out of the fear of the pandemic, the pain of living with a loved one with Alzheimer’s, the uncertainty of even day-to-day life. 

Occasionally I’d be able to put together a pile of properly paired socks, a huge victory. I’d gather up all of them in my arms and go show my husband, proud as a second-grader who just built his first diorama. Very often, though, I’d only manage to match a few of the socks. It could be frustrating, especially if it was one of those pandemic days filled with terrifying, continuous breaking news tweets, almost as though my own socks were conspiring with the universe to stress me out. (I found out nearly six months into our stay that my mother-in-law also had a bag of unmatched socks stashed away in her bedroom. Finding that bag was like Christmas morning!) 

But regardless of whether I ended up with two pairs or dozens, my pile of matched socks, no matter how small, served as my win for that day. I hadn’t let Murphy’s Law of Laundry defeat me. Sure, I was destined to deal with another round of missing socks in the coming days. And I would surely encounter more anxiety-inducing tweets, calls from bill collectors, worries about what to do next professionally. But I had my routine. I had my practice. And for an hour or so each week, it felt like everything was going to work out in the end.

Apartment Therapy’s Laundry, Sorted vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Samsung.