Learn to love laundry day
This article was originally published in April 2014
Laundry generally ranks somewhere between vacuuming and cleaning up after pets on “least favorite chores” lists — and most households would appreciate a resident Downton Abbey-style lady’s maid to do the work. Instead, try our tips to lessen the load. They’ll free up time and help your clothes last longer.
Undergarments, leggings and workout wear? Sure, those need frequent washes. But think twice before washing office clothes after each wear. It’s unnecessary effort, shortens the life span of your clothing and wastes water. However, treat your stains quickly, rather than waiting until laundry day, and if your clothing is downright muddy, use the garden hose to rinse it out before tossing it in the wash. If you have space, get two hampers and use one for whites and one for darks; the pre-sorting makes laundry go that much more quickly. Make sure to close zippers and Velco — these can easily snag stretchy fabrics and soft wools.
Too much detergent won’t rinse away properly, leading to soapy build-up in your clothing and washing machine. Front-load washers need less detergent than top-loaders, but washers around Seattle generally need less than average, as our water tends to be soft. Powder or liquid detergent is simply a matter of personal preference, and every detergent carried by PCC is suitable for high-efficiency washers. Agitation, not soap, is a big part of getting clothes clean. Sort by color, but mix up the size and weight of clothing in each load, and don’t overload the machine.
Get on line
Air-drying laundry is popular everywhere in the world except the United States; even in the cool, damp U.K., people who hang their laundry to dry outnumber those with dryers by 14:1. Every year, U.S. dryers account for $9 billion worth of energy consumption, and high dryer temperatures add to wear on fabric. Weather permitting — it happens, even in Seattle — try hanging your whites out to dry. Sunshine is a great natural whitener, and there are obvious energy savings. Moderately sunny, breezy days will do the trick; it doesn’t have to be hot.
Green ways to clean
A few drops of lavender oil sprinkled on damp bedding and towels adds a wonderful freshness. Try Aura Cacia Lavender Harvest Mist, or Lavender Oil from Now.
A company that emphasizes precision care, each of their three laundry soaps is designed for a specific fabric type. Bonus: The pouch design uses much less plastic than bottles.
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Concentrates
This uber-concentrated detergent suggests just a tablespoon per load. Four enzymes work to remove stains, while essential oils provide fragrance.
Ecover Stain Remover
Popular for children’s clothing as well as the more predictable needs of adult clothing, this plant-based stain remover has a built-in brush.
Ecos Free & Clear
A good choice for people with strong sensitivities, this plant-based detergent is completely free of fragrance and doesn’t contain fabric softeners.