Like dishwashing, dusting, mopping, and making the bed, laundry is one of those tasks people often have on autopilot. Separate your whites, colors, and weights, wash, dry, fold, repeat. However, if the quality of your clothing has been diminishing over time, or maybe your brights are losing their, er, brightness, it might be time to step up your game. Luckily, there are plenty of under-the-radar laundry hacks you can test drive right now.
In fact, switching up your cleaning routine might actually make it more enjoyable. What's better than the sense of accomplishment that comes in seeing your clothes sparkle and shine a little brighter than usual or finally being able to take out that pesky wine stain on your jeans? Well, maybe a lot of things are better, but there's something to be said about discovering new household hacks, right?
Ahead, some cleaning pros sound off on the laundry tricks many don't know about, but should adopt ASAP. From washing out sweat stains to keeping your socks from going MIA, these tips will prove invaluable for your next cleaning day.
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Genius Laundry Hack: Pre-Treat Stains Immediately
“The sooner you address splotches and spills, the more successful you'll be getting them out,” says Jennifer Ahoni, "Scientist" for detergent brand Tide, to The Zoe Report. She recommends dabbing dirt, grease, and the like with detergents like Tide Heavy Duty Liquid before they set. “Just make sure stains are gone (rewashing may be necessary) before putting clothing in the dryer, as the heat will set the stain and make it harder to remove,” Ahoni adds. (Also, make sure you blot, don’t rub, the stain with soap.)
Genius Laundry Hack: Baking Soda On Sweat Stains
“To wash white clothing, add baking soda to water (about 4 tablespoons per cup) to apply to sweat stains before laundering as usual,” says Angela Bell, "Grove Guide" for home goods delivery service Grove Collaborative, to The Zoe Report. “You can even add it straight to the washing machine to help with not only stains, but stubborn odors (about ½ cup should do for most loads).”
Genius Laundry Hack: Keep Your Socks Together
“One of the most common items people lose when doing laundry is their socks,” says Bailey Carson, Head of Cleaning for household service-finder platform Handy, to The Zoe Report. “An easy way to avoid this is by using a mesh laundry bag. Put all of your socks in the bag and then simply throw that bag in with the rest of your load. Your socks will be cleaned and stay together so you don’t have to worry about wearing mismatched socks again.”
Genius Laundry Hack: Boost Your Stain Removal
"Pour about half a capful of stain-remover spray either directly into the load or into the bleach compartment of your washing machine,” says Carson. “This will help remove any extra dirt or minor stains that regular detergent wouldn’t get out.”
Genius Laundry Hack: Get Some Sun
"To wash your whites (table linen, sheets, dresses, jeans, etc.), wash and then let them air-dry on a flat, clean surface outside in the sun for three to four hours,” says Katie Brown, owner of Rytina Fine Cleaners in Sacramento, CA, to The Zoe Report. “Sun-bleaching is real and a great natural alternative to brighten whites."
Genius Laundry Hack: Vinegar Over Fabric Softener
Using ½ cup of vinegar (depending on your laundry load) along with your laundry detergent can help your clothes become softer and smell better,” says Aya Bradley, home design and cleaning expert and editor at Mantelligence to The Zoe Report. “You should use vinegar instead of fabric softener as not only will you rid your clothes of more chemicals, but you’ll also save a lot because vinegar is a cheaper alternative.”
Genius Laundry Hack: Tennis Balls For Linens
"Add a few tennis balls into your linens when putting them into the dryer,” says Bradley. “The balls will make your towels and comforters extra soft and fluffy because of their movements inside the dryer.”
Genius Laundry Hack: Baby Powder For Oil Stains
"Oil stains ruin clothing, but you don’t have to be stressed out about it,” says Bradley. “All you have to do is sprinkle baby powder on the oil stains and let them soak overnight. It’s like magic.”