Start by making a schedule- don’t leave all the laundry for one day. Cleaning bedrooms and changing linens? Do the linens and the towels that day. When you make your weekly schedule, carve out time for a load or two. We all multitask and I’m sure most of you do this already, but throw a load in when you are doing other jobs around the house. Put a load in when starting dinner and it will almost be dry by the time you’ve done the dishes. Keep in mind: a wash takes 25-35 minutes and drying 40-50. You can accomplish a lot in that time, even on a lazy night watching TV with the kids.
First, sort the laundry! Invest in a three-compartment wheeled laundry cart and teach everyone to sort whites, sturdy colors, and delicates. Even the smallest child can learn this simple task. Sort carefully; strong colors like red can bleed, especially when new. If that’s the case, wash these items separately in cold water.
Avoid ironing- many modern fabrics are designed to need little or no ironing. However, a little care in washing and drying is needed. Wash with a delicate fabric detergent in warm water on the permanent press or delicate cycle. Remove as soon as cycle is completed, shake out, and lay layered in the dryer. Always wash at least three garments; one will just curl up on the dryer shelf in a wrinkled mass. Throw in a towel or two for balance, if you need. Dry 10 minutes on low (not fluff, you need some heat to smooth out the wrinkles). Remove when still damp, hang or lay flat smoothing out the fabric. Let dry. All laundry should be folded as soon as possible after dry to keep everything smooth and wrinkle free. Even tee shirts and underwear are nicerw when wrinkle free.
Avoid troubles in the laundry- always check pockets!! An errant chapstick or crayon can cause a waxy, oily mess; especially if it makes it into the dryer. Even a forgotten Kleenex can make a huge mess and possibly damage your washer. Dark colored, heavy fabrics like blue jeans and sweats will keep their color and fabric condition better when washed and dried inside out. Place delicates like lingerie, tights, and any items with embellishments in a garment bag.
Make your dryer more efficient- clean the filter, always!! Before you say of course I do, do you really? It’s the single most important thing you can do to make your dryer run better. If you are doing an especially heavy load, clean it again halfway through. Split extra large loads in two. It will save energy, shorten drying times, and make use of residual heat. If you are drying loads of differing fabrics, do delicates and lighter fabrics first. They don’t need the high heat and will prime the dryer for max heat when you need it. This cuts down on wrinkling too.
Hopefully these tips will make your laundry tasks less onerous and more successful!
KATHY WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO