Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've been doing laundry since I can remember. It was my "chore" around the house. Along with nine million other things being the oldest of three children. My first chore - folding the towels. When I mastered the towels, my mom added socks and underwear to the list. I hated that job. There always seemed to be a zillion socks that somehow lost their pair. Then somehow one day my chore morphed into laundry sorter, washer, folder and put-awayer. And not just put in the rooms. But hung in closets and organized in drawers. Phew, I'm getting worked up just thinking about how easy my brother and sister had it!

Moving on - I was recently in a convo about laundry. One of those where you spend 1/2 your time complaining about how you'd rather be shipped off to the funny farm before you take on the never-ending laundry demands. Nobody likes laundry. Here are some of the questions asked of me inbetween the grunts and moans. Just to warn you - there is nothing "green" about how I do laundry.

What laundry detergent do I use? GAIN, Original Scent, liquid gel. My all-time fave - the smell is so yummy. I buy it from nowhere else but Costco. I am definitely one of those people that like to smell the aroma of my detergent on my clothes mid-afternoon. Gain is a scent that gives me that satisfaction.
Do I use Fabric Softener? Yes. Again, I use Costco's generic brand - Kirkland Signature liquid fabric softener. Considerably less in price compared to a name brand. I don't use in every load but close. Definitely with sheets and blankets.
Do you use bleach on whites? Absolutely. My favorite bleach - Up & Up Lavender Bleach ($1.47/Target). And don't forget the vinegar. 1/2 cup in every load - not just whites. Just in case. And to kick that moldy smell out of towels for sure.
Do I use dryer sheets? Most of the time. I go back and forth between the Gain and the Kirkland Signature ones. They really do cut out the static especially in your work-out shorts. Ugh, there is nothing worse than clingy shorts on your thighs on the treadmill.
How do I sort the laundry? My son has his own basket, we have two baskets in the closet - one for whites and one for colors and I have one in the cleaning closet for sheets and towels. Nothing fancy; just the cheap white plastic ones. This cuts down sorting time although I do still have to separate the lights from the darks. If I had the space, I would have three separate baskets for whites, lights and colors.
Do I have a set day I do laundry? Shockingly, no. I do laundry when I see the baskets are about 3/4 full. The amount of laundry each week varies drastically in our house. When my husband is traveling, it significantly decreases. When he is home and working out daily (sometimes two times per day), the baskets pile high and I hate to leave wet, stinky clothes sitting for too long.
Do I put my clothes in the dryer? Depends on the item. Sweaters and jeans never. Or anything else I don't want to shrink or fade. I have NEVER though in 2.5 years of my son's life put his clothes in the dryer except for undershirts and pajamas. Immediately following the wash, while wet, I stretch them out and hang them to dry. The key word - stretch. He has been able to get double the life out of his clothes by doing this. It definitely takes more time but it's worth it when I see how much money I am saving.
Do I fold clothes immediately following? In my perfect world, I'd like to say yes, but that's not always the case. My first priority is to get the wet load into the dryer as soon as possible. A lot of times that means throwing the dry load onto the bed as I am running out the door. I always make a point to get to it later that day. Things left undone don't settle well with me. One tip for efficient folding - pile all underwear together first. Then sort the socks into a pile. Then fold all clothes leaving the socks to be matched and folded last. Do towels and sheets last. And always fold fitted sheets inside out. It takes half the time and you get a nice rectangle.
Do I iron before I hang them in the closet? Hell no. That's an in the moment thing. If it happens at all. But I will admit - I will iron my sheets (if time permits) before putting them on the bed. Call my psycho but it just makes the bed more inviting, especially for your guests.
Quick laundry tips:
  1. Load your washer 80-90% full so you leave room for the clothes to actually circulate and get clean.
  2. Wash whites on hot, lights on warm, and darks on cold.
  3. White loads need less detergent because they have less material while while darks need more because they are heavier from the pigments in the threads.
  4. Whites dry faster, darks need more time because of their bulk.
  5. Don't mix clothes with bed sheets or towels. If possible keep those categories separate from one another.
  6. If you hang dry, make sure both sides of the garment get air. Don't lay it down and trap the moisture on one side. This can lead to bacteria growth and musty smelling clothes.


  1. This is a great post, just one question for you...where exactly do you add the vinegar? We have a front loading washer/dryer and there are compartments for detergent, fabric softener and bleach. I would love to incorporate the vinegar, but not sure where to put it. Thanks!

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