Laundry 101

Photo credit: funcrush28 via / CC BY

As a nanny, I often take on responsibilities other than childcare in my day-to-day job. The parents expect to come home to a clean house and often that means handling laundry, putting away dishes, and just overall putting away anything and everything that gets pulled out (even if I'm certain it was pulled out before I arrived).

Unfortunately for me, this occasionally results in mishaps. Like that time I knocked a wine glass, while hand washing it, up against the sink faucet and it broke. Or when I washed a pair of shorts with an ink pen in them. And the worst part: it wasn't my wine glass to break. Or my shorts that were (fortunately not) ruined.

Since we're talking clothes today for #TopTenThursday, here are a few laundry tips that I'm sharing mostly as a reminder to myself but also as a helpful hint to those that may need the help:

1. When in doubt, wash an item separately.

Just last week, I washed a sequined turquoise child's dress in cold water by itself. That was smart.

This week, I washed a red sweatshirt in warm water with other clothes without any idea as to whether or not the sweatshirt had been washed before. That was a bad idea.

Sometimes you can't wash things separately; you don't have time to separate clothing based on colors. Or maybe you are just distracted. BUT if you have to think twice about whether or not something can go in the laundry with something else, just put it aside and wait to wash it later. Don't rush through a decision like I did. Don't assume you've washed it before and it will come out fine.

Actually, you know what? Just don't make assumptions. That's really the point I'm trying to drive home here.

Knowledge is power.

2. Hot water gets clothing cleaner BUT it also sets protein based stains and allows colors to bleed. Oh – and you are also having to pay for the electricity used to heat the water.

So, once again, if you lack confidence go with cold/cool water. The clothes may not come out as clean, but at least you won't have set any protein-based stains.

However, if you have confidence and you know what you are doing, go for that warm water setting. Or even hot if you are washing whites. Get rid of dirt, grime, and germs. No one wants to continue carrying those thing around anyway.

3. To prevent stains from setting, be sure to catch them before you throw your clothing in the dryer. Once you dry your clothing, the stain will pretty much be set. Instead, once the washing machine has run it's course, check your item of clothing to be sure the stain has been removed, and if not, spray with stain remover and throw it back in. You may even consider allowing the clothing to soak for a bit of time with the stain remover on it. No matter what though, don't dry your clothing (especially on a hot setting) until you are certain your stain is removed!

4. And while you are at it, don't throw anything delicate … or even your favorite pair of jeans … in the dryer. Hang these items out to dry. They will last longer that way.

5. Take sweaters to the dry cleaner.

Most people will say that they shrunk their sweaters in the dryer. My situation? I expanded my sweater by washing it. And at that point, I gave in and threw it in the dryer hoping it would shrink.


Now I have an extra small sweater that would fit an extra large person, which is very disappointing when it is your favorite sweater.

Now I refuse to wash or handwash any of my sweaters. I'd much rather take them to a professional.

6. Laundry products can be helpful.

Like, using Color Catcher to catch all of those "bleeding" colors.

Or a Laundry Ball to keep your clothes from getting tangled together and wrinkled in the dryer.

And what about the mesh laundry bag that will prevent your clothes from stretching during the spin cycle?

7. Wash your jeans inside out.


Because it will help them keep their color.

And, two, did you know that the button on jeans can cause little holes in your favorite shirts?

I mean, I guess, alternatively you could just wash your jeans separately?

8. Whatever else you do (or don't do), always wash new clothing by itself first.

Maybe the color will bleed. Maybe it won't.

Just do this and you should save yourself a lot of hassle. If it bleeds, who cares? If it doesn't, who cares?

9. Pull clothes out of the dryer when they are almost dry but not quite. Hang them on a hanger or clothesline to dry and you should save yourself from having to do too much ironing.

Then again, wrinkle free men's shirts (as a type of shirt you can buy in the store) are awesome! They already limit the number of wrinkles you will see when you pull them out of the dryer, so you can basically dry, hang, and wear without the need for an iron. Woot!

10. Don't use bleach. Or at the very least, be sparing in your use of bleach. If you have one accidental item of color in the load, that item will forevermore be yellow. And if there is still bleach in your washing machine even after that one white load has finished, you may "stain" other clothing the next time you do laundry.

Of course, this can happen when you are cleaning the bathroom with bleach too.

Trust me, one spill and you learn quickly!

What are some of your favorite laundry tips? Are there any that you think I should have included in my list that I didn't?

Linking up with Tamara Gerber of Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom for #TopTenThursday

Linking up with All the Beautiful Things and Run Jump Scrap.

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