Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in July 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2019.
Laundry is one of those unavoidable tasks in life. We don't know anyone who really enjoys it. Piles of laundry can look really untidy and will make your to-do list seem endless.
We're here to share some of our top cleaning hacks when it comes to laundry day! If you also dread laundry day, make sure you explore these 18 tips to make it as painless and efficient as possible...
1. Sort first, wash later
Let’s face it, sorting is the real chore when it comes to doing laundry. The washing machine does the hard work.
Sorting can seem like a mammoth task when you’re faced with piles of random items in all different sizes, shapes, materials and with different laundry symbols. Here's how to manage your laundry sorting:
- Invest in dividers for your laundry bin so they do the sorting for you.
- Keep smaller baskets to separate lights from darks.
- Hang bags in your laundry bin to sort out smaller items like socks.
- Skip the bin and store dirty clothes in your machine until its full & ready to go.
If you're sorting your laundry as you go, all you'll need to do on laundry day is turn the washing machine on!
2. Sort your laundry by weight
Sorting laundry by colour is the traditional method favoured by many, but the efficient way to sort through laundry is by weight. Unless you’re washing reds or any other items that come with a colour-run warning, you’re going to make your life a heck of a lot easier by sorting your clothes out this way.
If you wash just light items, you'll be able to fit a lot more into the wash. Saving you time and money! Your thinner items won’t get damaged by heavier ones either, and everything should be cleaned evenly. Plus, if you have a dryer, they’ll need the same drying time. You can pop them in for a dry altogether.
3. Use drawstring bags to limit missing socks
Speaking of the wonders of mesh bags, cotton drawstring bags also help keep your socks together so you won’t be spending ages pairing socks from a huge load of random items. Save time and energy, invest in mesh bags and keep the small items together at all times.
4. Hang a mesh washing bag inside your laundry bin
This is one of our favourite laundry hacks! By hanging a small mesh bag in your laundry bin tied to the side, you can quickly remove it and chuck it in the washing machine when it's full.
Mesh bags offer amazing protection for delicate items, like lingerie, that could get snagged and ruined when washed with other bulkier items. Even when washing through the mesh bag, your laundry will still get just as clean.
We love using delicates bags when cleaning hats in the washing machine.
5. Keep this useful stain remover tool for emergencies
Not so much a laundry tip, but an emergency stain removal aid. Keep our annoying stains guide bookmarked on your phone or computer. Whenever you're in a pickle, we'll be on hand to give you the best advice.
It's great for things like getting butter out of clothes!
6. Get clever with your laundry bins
In an ideal world, we'd have multiple laundry hampers to help us with organising all of the different types of wash load that we need to do. Most of us, however, just don't have enough space for it! You can overcome this problem by getting clever.
If you have a spare cupboard, why not dedicate it to your laundry baskets? You could even attach an ironing board to the door to make a laundry and ironing station. If you don't have enough floor space for multiple bins, try hanging laundry bags on wall space that hasn't been used. Behind a closet door is always a good one!
7. Create a 'Wanted' Board for missing socks
Isn't it so annoying when you can't find that missing sock and your drawer ends up with an abundance of single socks? If you suffer the same problem, you need to make a DIY wanted board to help reunite your missing socks (and gloves).
Not only does it look tidy and have a functional purpose, but it's also a fun piece of art for your utility or laundry room!
8. Repurpose an old ladder to create a space-saving drying rack
Here's a superb decluttering idea! If you don't have a dryer and are fed up of having the clothes rack out, think about repurposing an old ladder to create a hanging clothes rack. Your clothes will dry quicker and you'll be less stressed when your laundry is out of the way.
9. Make a lint rubbish bin for your dryer
Attach a bin to the wall next to your dryer so you can use it as a lint trash can. It'll save you from emptying it out in the kitchen bin or wherever you usually put it. When everything you need is close by, washing can be a doddle. You can also pop your used dryer sheets in there too.
10. Stop washing your jeans & other clothes too much
The obvious way to reduce laundry is to stop washing your clothes as much, but how often should you be doing laundry?
Not every item needs to be washed after the first wear, and some people don't even wash their jeans at all. If you're guilty of chucking your day's outfit straight into the laundry bin without thinking twice, think again.
You can pop your clothes inside of a sandwich bag and then in the freezer to kill any bacteria. They'll be perfectly good for another wear or two.
Another easy way to freshen up your clothing is to use a lint roller to remove any debris or pet hair.
11. Learn how to fold clothes faster
Second to sorting, folding has to be the second biggest gripe when it comes to laundry. Folding is mundane and can take such a long time. With the right techniques and a few nifty tricks, you'll be spending less time folding and putting clothes away. Check out wikiHow's article on How to Fold Clothes Fast.
12. Do something fun while doing laundry
Whether it's catching up with a TV programme, listening to a podcast or just talking on the phone to a friend. Take your mind off the menial task of laundry by distracting yourself with something fun.
We know someone who does the ironing while watching Come Dine With Me and always has a glass of wine on hand. If you can reap some simple pleasure out of the mundane tasks in life then you're winning - just don't get confused and start glugging the laundry detergent!
13. Either do laundry every day or once a week
Think about what really annoys you about laundry - is it that you have to do it every day OR that it's always such a huge task when you do it? Don't let your laundry pile up until it's time for spring cleaning - try this instead...
If you hate doing it all the time, dedicate one day to doing all the laundry and don't think about it during the week. It'll be a nice feeling when you see the bottom of the laundry bins! Before you decide on your laundry day, check our article on when it's bad luck to wash clothes.
If the thought of spending the whole day doing laundry fills you with dread, make sure you fit in some daily sorting, washing, drying or folding. It won't feel like such an overwhelming task as you'll be getting through it bit by bit and not letting those bins overflow.
14. Label your laundry bins so all the family can help out
All your new laundry rules go out the window if the whole household doesn't pitch in! Let them know how you'll be doing laundry from now on and make sure you help the kids out by leaving labels on laundry baskets.
15. Wear less clothes = wash less clothes
Wearing a 'uniform' during the week has become a very popular notion recently, with some smart bods claiming the key to success is wearing the same outfit every day. If you'd like to learn more about this, check out The Uniform Challenge at Stylist, an interesting experiment where two office workers wore the same outfit every day for a month.
Having a capsule wardrobe of a few key items every week will mean you have few decisions to make in the morning, eliminating stress and time wasted. It also means you'll be washing fewer clothes every week!
Streamline your weekday wardrobe and you'll inevitably streamline your washing load too. Give it a go and see how much of a difference it makes to your chores - you'll be surprised!
16. Buy identical pairs of socks
If you're not sold on the mesh drawstring idea then how about eliminating the task of sorting socks altogether? Buy a huge batch of the same design of socks and you won't need to sort them out. Simply chuck them into your socks drawer and quickly pair them up when you need them!
17. Pay a cleaner to do the laundry
If you really can't stand to do the laundry and it's stressing you out on a daily basis, explore the idea of getting a cleaner for 1 hour a week. Most cleaners charge around £8-£12 an hour, and if you consider how much you spend on luxuries throughout the month - alcohol, clothes, going out - paying for a laundry service is actually more affordable thank you think.
A cleaner will do the sorting, ironing and folding in the hour (maybe longer if you have a big household) so you don't have to. They might even sort out the dry cleaning for those harder to clean items. All for the price of a round of drinks at the pub or a few coffees and a muffin at Starbucks.
18. Hang everything!
If you have the wardrobe space, try hanging everything straight from the washing machine. We've ditched folding and hang absolutely everything we own. Surprisingly, it actually saves time and space. We don't end up rifling through messy drawers or sorting out a cupboard.
Next up, find out if linen shrinks.
Thanks for reading! Let us know if you have any of your own laundry tips in the comments below...