Your Comprehensive Guide on How to Do Laundry

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Mistakes happen. Everyone makes them but here's some help to save the day…or your favorite shirt.

Laundry is much less overwhelming if you do it frequently. If you let a mountain of dirty laundry accumulate, it can become scary. It may feel like a hassle to go to the laundromat, so find ways to make the trip better like using the time to read, relax, and enjoy the scent of your fresh laundry.

The 6 Best Laundry Delivery Services of 2022

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How to Stop Your Bag from Stinking

After a few trips, your trusty travel bag might start to smell. If that happens there are a few easy ways to get rid of that funky smell from your bag, and a few more ways to prevent any odors from coming back.

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are one of the oldest “travel hacks” in the book, but they really do work to keep your bag smelling fresh and clean. Toss a fresh dryer sheet in your backpack (preferably somewhere a little out of the way) and marvel at the fresh scent every time you open your bag.

Lavender Oil

If you think dryer sheets smell a little too “chemical” lavender oil or another scented essential oil is a great way to keep your bag smelling fresh. Buy a small (way less than 3 oz bottle) of essential oil and dab a few drops on the lining of your backpack. The oil lasts a lot longer than water-based sprays or fresheners and can be quickly and easily replenished throughout your trip with just a few drops.

Bonus tip: dab a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before you go to sleep and you’ll dream of running toward something you love in a wide open field

Lavender Sachets

If oils aren’t your thing, you can toss a small sachet of lavender, rose, or other potpourri into your bag to keep odors at bay. My girlfriend always packs a little tiny sachet of lavender when she travels, and I get to hear her exclaim with joy every time she opens up her backpack.

Silicone Gel Packets

You know those little packets that ship inside your electronics boxes? That’s there to keep moisture away from your $1000 camera in transit. And guess what? It can do the same for your backpack.

Toss a few (I’m talking one or two) silica gel packets into your backpack and let them absorb any excess moisture and sweat from your worn clothing. When you remove the moisture, the bacteria that causes odors has nothing to live on, and so it does instead of multiplying until your bag smell like you live at the gym. Silica bags are free, lightweight, and extremely effective at preventing and even removing unpleasant odors from your backpack.

Tea Bags

Tea bags act a lot like silica gel packets, and if you get a tea bag with a nice scent you can even mask odors as you remove them. Bouns: tea bags are everywhere and they’re super cheap

White Vinegar

If you really need to get rid of a funky stench, toss a little white vinegar in the wash with your backpack. Alternatively, you can put some white vinegar in a spray bottle (diluted with a little water), and spray your bag to help remove odors. Just let your backpack dry in the sun, and you’ll be odor free in no time.

Disinfecting Wipes

Wet wipes with disinfectant are a great way to eradicate smelly main compartments of your backpack or other luggage. Just make sure you get into every nook and cranny or else you’ll be back to smell town in a few days.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Sunshine

Bacteria hate sunshine. If your bag smells like week-old hell, don’t shove it into a dark, dank closet. Open it up, and set it in the sun for a few hours. Your bag needs to breathe, and a little sunshine can help it come back from the dead.

How to never lose a sock again

Laundry mesh bags, which you can buy for washing delicate items such as bras, will stop socks going missing. Simply pop dirty socks into a bag and they’ll all be present and correct at the end of the wash, too. 

Find more clever laundry hacks in our guide.

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Step 4: Separate your whites and colours

Dark-coloured clothing such as jeans or brightly-coloured clothing such as red T-shirts can both ‘bleed’, which means the dye in the cloth leaks out and stains the other clothing in the wash. If you’ve ever seen someone on TV or in a movie who’s turned all their white clothing pink with just one red sock, you know what we’re talking about.

You should separate your clothing into these categories:

  1. Whites: Anything white goes in here.
  2. Lights: Includes pastels, pink, lavender, light blue, light green, yellow. These can go with your whites if you don’t have many whites and you don’t want to do a million loads of laundry. We know you don’t have all day to spend at the laundromat – you have a life!
  3. Darks: Includes gray, black, navy, red, dark purple, etc.
  4. Denims: Jeans and denim shorts or jackets usually have heavy buckles and things that could damage your delicates if they weren’t kept separate. Denims can go with your dark, since they’re usually dark-coloured.
  5. Delicates: Anything small that’s made from delicate fabric like lace, silk, satin, or thin synthetic materials goes in this category. Includes bras, underwear, lingerie, pantyhose, slips and camisoles.

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Strategic drying

Whether you’re using a clothes horse or a washing line, make sure you shake out garments (particularly jeans) and smooth any creases before hanging them out to dry your clothes faster: crumpled clothes take longer to dry – and to iron. On an airer, your clothes will dry faster if you hang them in order of size, with small items at the bottom: this makes the best use of airflow, encouraging the larger items to dry quicker.

Tip: Using hangers, rather than pegs or the racks on your airer, can also speed up the drying process.

How to wash wool and silk

Yes, wool and silk can be laundered, but in the case of wool, it doesn’t need to be laundered all that often, unless you’re wearing a jumper on bare skin. Wool is naturally dirt- and bacteria-repellent, so you can safely wear that jumper again and again – just wear a t-shirt underneath. 

When it does come to laundering your wool items, wash them in cold water and using only a specialised detergent formulated for delicate fabrics. Anything above 30ºC is guaranteed to make your wool shrink. 

Silk can be washed safely in 30ºC, on a delicate (or special silk) cycle. 

Both wool and silk do badly on high spin speeds – at worst, a high-speed spin can tear the fabric; at best, your garments will come out wrinkled, which means having to iron them once they’re dry (which is not great for these fabrics). 

Never tumble dry silk or wool, and don’t hang wool to dry as it will lose its shape. Dry it flat instead.

Clean your leather items at home

How do you clean leather?
How do you clean leather?

Leather should be kept out of direct sunlight and cleaned regularly. Don’t wait for a stain to appear or for it to get too grubby before cleaning. Cleaning your leather regularly will help keep them in tip-top condition. Try these tips and tricks before turning to the professionals.

1. Use a cloth

To give leather a routine clean use a soft or micro-fibre cloth to dust the surface and lightly buff the leather. Them tale a damp cloth, wipe it across a moisturising soap and lightly lather the leather. Don’t rinse off, just buff until smooth and dry.

2. Use baby wipes

For stain removal and spot cleaning, baby wipes work wonders on leather jackets. Before you spend a fortune on professional cleaning, always run a baby wipe over the area to see whether it can lift off the stain. You’ll be surprised how well this can work, but just be wary of bright stains as rubbing could discolour your item.

Before trying anything, make sure you test an area on the inside to make sure it doesn’t darken or aggravate the leather.

3. Leather cleaning sprays

If this doesn’t work, it’s time to hit the shops and buy a leather stain removal spray. Non-water based leather cleaning products can remove most stains so make sure you read the instructions carefully. Avoid using rough cloths or sponges that could scratch softer leathers.

4. Clean leather with olive oil

It's a nifty cleaner.
It’s a nifty cleaner.

You can also clean and ‘feed’ a tired looking leather jacket with olive oil. Just dip a soft cloth into olive oil – or any other vegetable oil – and gently rub it into the stain or dirt mark. Continue rubbing until the mark lifts off then apply a small amount of white vinegar with a different clean soft cloth. Leave to dry and in the meantime mix equal parts of white vinegar and olive oil. Use another similar cloth and rub this solution over the leather then polish with a clean cloth. The area should look clean and like new again.

5. Hand wash

If all else fails, go back to hand washing. Fashion editors and stylists swear by this trick so if you’re feeling brave then it’s worth a go! Soak your leather in warm water until it’s completely saturated, then take a cloth and start buffing the leather in the water. Leave to dry and your leather should be left cleaner with a slightly matte finish.

Clean hats with care

Do you know how to clean hats? It’s one of those jobs we all put off, but your baseball caps lock in more sweat and grime than you might think. Depending on the type of hat and the fabric its made from, the instructions will vary. 

We always recommend checking the label first. Read our guide and learn how to clean sweat-stained caps now. 

Thanks for reading! Do you have tips or advice on how to wash clothes?

Please let us know in the comments section below.

The Best Travel Fabrics for Doing Laundry On the Go

One of the best ways to do laundry while you travel is to pack a back with clothing that either dries quickly or just plain doesn’t need to be washed all that often.

If you’re only traveling for a week — maybe even two — you might not have to laundry at all if you pack a few pieces of quality travel clothing. Merino wool shirts and underwear, and the right pair of quick drying stain resistant travel pants can mean you’ll be able to travel for days with a remarkably small amount of clothing.

Here are some of the best fabrics for staying clean and fresh while traveling.

Take them for a spin

If you need to know how to dry clothes quickly, choose the fastest spin cycle on your washing machine. Whether you’ll be drying clothes on the line or on a clothes rack inside, removing as much water as possible before you hang them up will speed up their drying time significantly.

Tip: Avoid overfilling your washing machine as packing clothes in tightly leaves them damper at the end of the cycle

Sort laundry

Properly sorting your laundry requires a multi-step process. Start by sorting out the darks, lights and colors. Darks include anything with deep-colored dyes like black, red, navy, brown or dark gray. In addition to all-white garments, the whites pile should include pastel shades, cream, beige and light gray. Colors include anything in between like pink, lavender, orange, yellow, light blue and light green.

When it comes to garments with multiple colors (think: a shirt with black and white stripes), perform a quick test to make sure that colors won’t bleed: Place a drop of water on the item and blot with a paper towel. If color doesn’t come off, then you can wash it with whites and lights, adhering to the guidelines on your garment’s labels.

Then sort each pile by fiber type. Pull out any delicates that could be damaged by coarser fibers as well as items that should be hand-washed. Heavier, coarser fibers take longer to dry, so removing them will also prevent you from over-drying more delicate fibers. Also, keep in mind that you should never mix “lint-givers” (towels and rugs) with “lint-receivers “(knit and corduroy).

From there, take out any heavily soiled garments. Really dirty items — whether stained, sweaty or extremely smelly — should always be washed separately from lightly soiled ones.

Before moving on to the next step, give the care and fiber labels another glance to make sure that everything in your laundry pile calls for the same water temperatures and drying times.

Danielle Daly

FINISHING THE JOB

Now that you know how to do laundry like a pro, finish the job by finding a clean, flat surface for folding. Creating a designated space for folding helps clothes stay clean by keeping them off the floor or the tops of your washer and dryer. Folding clothes correctly is an easy skill to learn that pays off big. Learn some shirt and pant folding techniques with this folding guide. Once you’ve mastered the basics of doing laundry, you can explore more advanced techniques, like laundry stripping, to get a deep clean on tougher stains and odors.

Step 6: Do not overfill the machine

Your laundry machine will have marked on it how many kilograms of clothing it can wash at once. Some of them even have a handy line on the side marked “do not fill past here”. If your machine is second-hand, these markings might have rubbed off. In that case, you can just use your common sense, and only fill the machine drum mostly full. If your laundry basket isn’t full to overflowing, then it should probably fit inside your machine.

How to save money when washing your clothes

FOLDING SHEETS

There’s a little magic involved in folding sheets. I’m not talking about flat sheets. That’s easy peasy. Just fold in half, in half and then in thirds.

Fitted sheets, however, requires patience and even, sometimes, a lot of wine. My mom can fold a fitted sheet like nobody’s business. Sober. She’s magic. While this isn’t mom, I’ve found another fitted sheet magician.

Source: Aulit Fine Linens
Click for tutorial and

Source: Aulit Fine LinensClick for tutorial and video

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Load items into the washer or hand wash

Take these steps before you throw your garments in the washing machine to ensure an easy, damage-free wash.

  • Check buttons, pockets and zippers: Help clothes keep their shape by emptying pockets, zipping zippers and fastening button on jackets, knits and pants. If you have time, fasten a few buttons on shirts and blouses. Always remove belts from dresses, pants and robes, and wash them separately.
  • Turn certain items inside out: Anything dark (jeans, especially) or embellished should always be washed inside out to preserve color and detail. Do the same with items where the inside neck or sleeves get especially dirty.
  • Stick delicates and small items in a laundry bag: Protect delicate items (underwear, bras and other lingerie) from damage by placing them in a mesh laundry bag before washing. While you’re at it, round up small items, like socks and fabric belts, and add them to the bag to make sure they don’t get lost in the wash.
  • Measure detergent: Always use the cap or scoop that comes with your liquid, powder or packet detergent. Measure the amount based on the size of your load and level of soil.

For both top-load and front-load washers with separate dispensers, load the clothing in, then add liquid or powder detergent and fabric softener to the dispenser and start the machine. If you’re using single-use detergent, like Tide Pods, place it in the machine before adding your clothing unless you’re using a newer machine with a dispenser designated for single-dose packs. At this point, place the items in the washing machine, making sure that nothing is tangled or twisted.

If your top-load washer doesn’t have a detergent dispenser, place it directly into the tub, start the water and add in the clothing as it’s dissolving. Follow a similar approach for front-load washers without detergent dispensers: Place single-use detergent packs in the machine first, add the clothing, close the door and start the machine.

For older machines without fabric softener dispensers, add it directly to the rinse water in the washing machine. Make sure to pour it in open pockets of water rather than on top of fabrics to avoid staining.

If you determine that hand-washing is the safest bet, follow this guide on how to wash delicates:

Danielle Daly

  1. Fill sink with water — cool, lukewarm or warm, per the garment’s labels — and place garments in. (FYI: Wool, silk and bright colors clean best in cold water.) As the sink is filling, add the recommended amount of detergent, so it can properly dissolve before you add the clothing. Once the detergent is completely dissolved, lay your garment in the water and gently press it down to fully immerse it. If the water turns color at this stage, it may just be excess dye washing off, which shouldn’t result in any color loss after washing.
  2. Rinse thoroughly. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place lightweight garments, like lingerie or swimsuits, in a colander and rinse clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with cool, clear water, immerse the garment and squeeze the water through to rinse. Repeat as needed.
  3. Remove excess water. Wringing out wet, delicate fabrics may cause damage, so instead, lift the garment with both hands and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Lay it flat on an absorbent towel, and roll the towel and garment together until the water is absorbed.
  4. Lay items flat to dry. To prevent delicates, especially knits, from stretching out of shape, block them back into shape after washing before laying them flat to dry. Speed up the drying process by laying sweaters or swimsuits on top of a dry towel, and let them air dry. Once the front is dry, flip them over.

Danielle Daly

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