Helpful laundry hacks to keep your clothes looking their best

July 29, 2015

These helpful tricks will ensure you make the most of laundry day — that is, save time and keep your clothing looking great.

Helpful laundry hacks to keep your clothes looking their best

Nowadays, you can get clean clothes with the twist of a knob. That would have seemed like magic just a few decades ago, when laundry day required a full eight-hour shift and plenty of elbow grease. But even then, people had some helpful tricks that we can adopt today, both to save energy and protect the environment.

We all like to keep our whites clean and bright, but cleaning products like bleach contain harsh ingredients that can be tough on lungs. Keep your laundry room bleach-free by using other products on your clothing. Colours, wool, lace, velvet and silk all require a little special care.

Whiten clothes without using bleach

  • Let your clothes soak in a basin of hot water and lemon slices for one to two hours, then wash as usual. If clothes are particularly dingy, boil the water, turn off the heat, add your clothing and lemon slices and soak overnight.
  • White vinegar works well, too. Pour 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) to 250 millilitres (one cup) into the wash with detergent. It will whiten, help wash away detergent or soap residue, and soften the fabric.
  • One more idea: the old-fashioned power of sunlight helps brighten whites and gives them that wonderful outdoor scent.

Getting the laundry ready

  • Soak yellowed or graying laundry in a natural bleach.
  • Put delicate articles into a cloth bag or an old pillowcase before washing.
  • Before washing, close zippers and rub them with graphite or a little grease so they don't jam later on. Also, undo buttons and turn pockets inside-out.
  • If possible, remove stains before doing the laundry.
  • Soak very dirty laundry overnight in soapy water before washing. A dash of turpentine in the soapy water dissolves dirt even more.
  • Collars and cuffs of shirts and blouses don't always come out of the wash clean. Before washing, rub them with a mixture of 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of rubbing alcohol and a little coarse salt.

Protecting the environment and saving energy

Get your laundry spanking clean in an environmentally-friendly way with an energy-efficient washing machine and the following ground rules:

  • Do not add too much detergent and never use more than the manufacturer's recommendation. Too much will result in a soap overflow.
  • Take water hardness into account — the softer the water, the less detergent you need.
  • Ensure that the water level is set to match the laundry load. This protects the machine, especially during the spin cycle.
  • Avoid the prewash cycle. It is unnecessary with most laundry.
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