Image adapted from: Fresh Healthy Food
Household chores can either be therapeutic or dreadful and it so happens that laundry usually falls under the latter category for most of us. It’s a whole cycle of waiting for a full load, separating the dirty laundry based on colours and material, waiting for the wash cycle to finish, drying the clothes and then folding and keeping them.
Good news fam, we’ve gathered tips on what works to make laundry day a lot more efficient. From cleaning the toughest stains, to saving electricity bills, we’ve got hacks to give your clothes a new lease of life using items you can easily find around the house.
Here are some of our other articles on laundry:
1. Wash clothes with aluminium foil balls to remove lint
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It might sound like a dangerous Science experiment to drop aluminium foil into your laundry load but it’s in fact the exact opposite. It’s not harmful to the washing machine and you’ll benefit from lint-free clothes. This happens because the foil absorbs all the electric charge and prevents fluff from clinging onto your clothes.
Just ball up 2-3 sheets of aluminium foil and add them to your washing load. If you’ve got a dryer, you can use these same foil balls as an alternative to dryer sheets. It’ll still give the same final touch of softness with no extra fuzz, all without the toxic chemicals. It’s a more economical and.eco-friendly option too, since they’re waterproof and reusable.
2. Iron damp clothes under a dry towel for instant drying
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If you’re racing to get your damp shirt dry in time for work, simply iron it under a dry towel. By doing this, you’re combining both drying and ironing into one step so that’s a lot of time saved.
For those with a dryer, you can also drop dry towels into your dryer load and they’ll help absorb the moisture from the wet clothing, allowing them to dry a lot more quickly.
But take note, it’s only effective when you leave it in for 15 minutes, nothing more. So make sure you’re keeping track of the time – otherwise the towel may hit that Uno reverse card and extend the drying time by transferring moisture back to the clothes.
3. Run an empty load with baking soda and vinegar to clean your washing machine
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It might sound funny to have to wash the equipment that washes your clothes, but after several wash cycles, it’s possible to have soap residue and chemicals from your detergent trapped inside your washing machine. These leftovers become a breeding ground for bacteria and you do not want clean laundry to be stained with bacteria.
You don’t actually have to scrub every corner of your washing machine. Just run an empty load with baking soda and vinegar. A rough estimate of how much product to use is about 4 cups of vinegar to 1 cup of baking soda.
While cleaning up any residue left inside the machine, the baking soda and vinegar will take out any odours so you can be sure of pleasant smelling laundry after the wash.
4. Unshrink clothes using hair conditioner
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You’ll notice that some of your clothes get smaller after each wash. This happens because of long exposure to hot water and air when dumped into the washing machine or dryer. If you don’t want to part with your favourite tee even if you can’t seem to fit in it anymore, try stretching your it to its original size by using a hair conditioner.
Fill a tub with lukewarm water and mix in your conditioner. Let your shirt soak for ten minutes before squeezing out excess water. You have to make sure that there’s as little water as possible. Try rolling the shirt up in a towel for it to absorb even more water.
While the shirt’s still damp, stretch it gently and lay it flat to dry. Once it’s dry, you’ll be able to pretend that you’ve lost weight and fashion the shirt again.
5. Use baby powder for oil stains
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Oily food stains on clothes are the nastiest. It’s virtually impossible to remove them in the moment and all you can do is to wear your stained clothes with confidence till you get home. But the longer you wait, the harder it is to remove the stain.
But here’s a long standing effective solution, even after surviving a whole day out with the stain: pour baby powder over the oil stain and leave it overnight. The satisfying part about this is that you’ll get to see the yellow oil stain transfer onto the white powder.
6. Save money by washing in cold water instead of warm
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Most of us are aware of how hot washes are effective at removing germs but that does not mean every wash requires the hottest setting. You might wanna stick to using cold water for fabrics that aren’t made up of synthetic material or knits.
Running a load of hot wash means that a significant amount of electricity is used for heating the water. That also means higher electricity bills. If you stick to a cold wash however, you’ll be able to save some bucks.
Here’s another reason to quit hot washes: your clothes have a higher chance of shrinking, fading and getting damaged when exposed to the high heat. Meanwhile, cold washes lower the chance of bleeding colours or damaging delicate fabrics.
7. Mix lemon juice, water, salt and baking soda to remove sweat stains
It’s embarrassing but inevitable – sweating in Singapore and leaving sweat stains on your shirt, particularly in the armpit area. But these can be removed with a splash of lemon and baking soda.
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You’ll first want to combine equal parts of lemon juice and water before adding salt and baking soda. Mix the paste up and scrub into the stained area using a toothbrush.
Then, wash it like how you usually do in your washing machine, but preferably in warm water. Only until the stains have been fully removed, do not hang it to dry just yet. Repeat the scrubbing and washing until no traces are left.
8. Soften tough fabric the natural way using vinegar
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It’s common for clothes to be a little stiff when you first purchase them. But if you’re handling a really tough fabric that can’t seem to soften up even after a couple of washes, try using vinegar. Simply add 1.5 cups of vinegar to the final rinse – this is a natural, cheaper alternative to commercial fabric softeners.
A bonus is that vinegar helps get rid of lingering odours while acting as an antibacterial agent.
9. Use coffee to revive black clothes, boiled lemon for whitening
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After tons of washes, it’s normal for the colour of your clothes to fade. But hold up, you can actually make your clothes look as vibrant as the first time you bought them with just a lemon.
For white clothes that have turned drab, make them spanking white again by soaking them in a pot of boiled, sliced lemons. Leave the clothes soaked from an hour to as long as a whole night, depending on how badly stained the clothes are. This is a more cost-friendly alternative to bleach, and it’s also suitable for any kind of garment as compared to how bleach can only be used on certain types of clothing and excessive amounts of it will damage your fabric.
Always check your clothing tag before hitting the laundry because materials like wool and silk cannot be bleached
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If your black clothes have faded to grey, give them a new lease of life by adding two cups of either coffee powder or black tea bags into your rinse cycle. The coffee or tea will act as a natural dye that’ll revive your shirt or jeans to its original colour. But do make sure that your load is only filled with black clothes.
10. Toss ice cubes into your dryer to unwrinkle clothes
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Some of us may have been guilty of leaving for work with unironed clothes. But that would only work if your blouses aren’t all wrinkled from the last wash.
To save the frustration of wrinkled clothes and precious minutes spent on ironing during the morning rush, toss a couple of ice cubes into the dryer next time and make sure that it’s set to the hottest setting. How it works is that the ice cubes will melt and mix into your clothes, allowing moisture to plump up and straighten your clothes.
11. Use hairspray, hand sanitiser, or baking soda & vinegar to spot clean stains
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It happens to the best of us – accidentally spilling foundation or leaving pen marks on our clothes. On one hand, these stains are small, almost negligible, but just knowing they’re there is bothersome. Especially when it comes to your favourite blouse.
A tried and tested method to spot clean these tough stains: baking soda and vinegar. Make a concoction of equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. Afterwhich, rub in this bubbly, pasty mix into the stain. Let it dry up before tossing your stained shirt in for a usual wash cycle and it should magically disappear after.
Using hair spray or hand sanitizer also works. All you have to do is spritz either product on and rub it in. Wait for about 10 minutes and then wash normally. Your shirt should come out as good as brand new.
Hopefully with these hacks, you’ll be able to skip the frustration of dealing with stubborn stains on your clothing and save time on ironing, and the chore of settling your laundry won’t be so much of a tough job.