50 Simple Ways to Make Doing Laundry Easier

A little bit of TLC can go a long way.

Wondering how to do laundry? These 50 classic cleaning tips, adapted from Susan Waggoner's , explain how a little bit of TLC can go a long way when you're doing the laundry.

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Line Drying Secrets

• Always line dry colors and bright fabrics in partial shade or in the afternoon in order to prevent fading.

• Let whites take in a bit of sun in the early morning—it might surprise you how strong a natural bleaching effect solar rays can have on your garments.

• Dirty clotheslines make for spotty clothing. Once a month, use a rag to go over your outdoor clotheslines with warm water and pine oil cleaner.

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Dryer Tips

• Reduce static cling by removing items from the dryer before they are bone dry.

• Before running the dryer, check to make sure the vent isn't blocked and that the lint basket is clean. Doing this will cut drying time, save energy and in turn, save you money.

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Save Energy

• You can easily save energy by letting laundry partially dry on a rack before finishing in a dryer. When dealing with heavier knits, place the garments in a mesh shopping bag and hang in the shower. This prevents stretching and reduces excess moisture.

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Prep Work

• Well before you load the machine, take the time to straighten sleeves and pant legs, close zippers and untangle sheets and towels. Not only will you save time on drying and ironing later on, but your clothing will retain its shape better and be remarkably cleaner.

• Whether you're washing by machine or hand, vinegar is a must-have in any laundry room. A cup of vinegar is an effective fabric softener in the rinse cycle, and adding a little bit to a hand wash will keeps clothes from staying sudsy.

• Adding a quarter cup of baking soda to a wash will take care of stale, musty odors common during the summer months and give your machine a fragrant boost to boot.

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Pre-Drying Tips

• Before tossing clothing in the dryer, be sure to unroll any wadded-up hems, sleeves or pant legs. By giving each garment a few extra snaps, you will facilitate ironing later on.

• Make sure to dry with like materials in order to prevent over-drying or worse, shrinkage. Synthetics and lightweight natural fabrics can both run on the permanent press cycle, while sheer and fragile materials fair better with a short tumble in cool air.

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Keep Colors Bright

• Remember to separate clothes by color, as well as fabric. Towels and fleeces should be divided from smooth, dark fabrics that will ultimately show every speck of lint after the rinse cycle.

• To keep brights their brightest and blacks from fading, turn garments inside out and choose the coolest temperature setting that will get them clean.

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Smart Ironing

• To iron a shirt or blouse, begin with the underside of the collar, followed by the upper side and sleeves, back to front. Next, do the back of the garment, starting with the yoke and then the front inside facing. At last, run the iron over the exterior front.

• Remove wrinkles while ironing clothing by spraying them with a mixture of five parts water and one part fabric softener. As an added bonus, your garments will smell wonderful.

• Give your legs and back some much-needed rest while you iron. Adjust the ironing board to table height and pull up a chair to avoid strain.

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How to Hang Clothes on a Clothesline

• The key to less ironing is proper hanging, so it's worth taking the time to do it right. First shake each item to release wrinkles, then straighten and smooth each garment as it's hung.

• Give your clothing some breathing room if you have the space. Leaving a foot or two between each garment on a clothesline reduces drying time.

• Choose a day that's sunny and at the very least, breezy to dry clothes outside. The motion of the wind prevents clothes from stiffening and if left for a few extra hours, can help make your clothing noticeably softer.

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Iron Like a Pro

• When ironing delicate fabrics like lace, lay a moist handkerchief over the wrinkled area and press gently. This will get rid of any stubborn areas and protect the material from burning.

• When dealing with pleated items, start at the bottom of the fold and iron in an upward motion. Your pleats will be perfectly straight with little effort.

• For perfectly pressed slacks, iron the inside pockets, waistband, backside and front down to the crotch. Next, lay the slacks out straight with the inside seams together. Lift the top leg and press the inseam side of the bottom leg. Press the seam out and create a straight crease. After that, press the side seam on each leg. Lastly, hang up the slacks by the cuffs in order to retain their shape.

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Prep Your Clothes

• To keep brights their brightest and blacks from fading, turn garments inside out and choose the coolest temperature setting that will get them clean.

• Soaking clothes overnight in a tub of water really helps loosen dirt and grime and can be especially effective when your clothes have that dingy-all-over look.

• Body oils rub onto shirt collars and attract dirt, leaving them grimy and worse for the wear. Reverse the damage by grabbing your shampoo and a clean paintbrush and paint a line over the soiled collar before washing.

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Prevent Discoloration

• If a garment bleeds onto other items in the load, don't let the stained items dry. Instead, wash them again immediately with detergent and a color-safe bleach–and without the garment that caused the trouble.

• Bleached-out whites can develop a dingy, discolored look over time. Prevent this by adding one-half to one cup of hydrogen peroxide to a load once the washing machine is filled with water. Allow it to soak for half an hour and add about one-third less laundry detergent than usual and wash as usual.

RELATED: Great Design Ideas for Laundry Rooms

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Simplify the Process

• The natural heat of a warm dryer can actually save you from ironing smaller items like pillowcases and t-shirts. Simply fold and allow them to rest on top of the machine.

• Linens and cottons are easier to iron if you moisten them with a spray mist, bundle them in a plastic bag and let cool in the refrigerator for several hours.

• In order to protect your garment's finish, be sure to iron with smooth, even strokes. Keep the iron moving with the grain of the fabric and avoid pressing too hard or revisiting the same area multiple times. For synthetic fabrics, iron them inside out so they won't develop a sheen.

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Take Care With Colors

• Before putting brightly colored clothing in the dryer or outside to hang, remember to keep them turned inside out to prevent fading.

• If you've dyed clothing in your machine and the dye left stains, run an empty cycle of hot water with two cups of bleach added. If the traces of dye still remain, repeat the process but allow the diluted bleach to soak in the machine for several hours.

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The Right Cycle

• Try not to under-pack your dryer. Too few clothes will reduce the tumbling action, lengthening overall drying time and in turn, wasting more energy.

• Be careful not to overload your dryer because the air will not be able to circulate evenly. As a result, clothing may emerge wrinkled and damp in areas. Instead, find out what the optimum capacity is for your dryer and pack it accordingly

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More Clothesline Tips

• For all its es, asthma and allergy sufferers should steer clear of line drying their clothing. Airborne pollen will easily stick to clothing and remain on items long after they were washed.

• It's important to take proper care of your clothespins and keep them clean. Place them in a mesh bag, swish in a bucket of warm, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and hang the entire bag on the line to dry.

RELATED: 5 Tips to Organize Your Laundry Room Better

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More Line Drying Secrets

• Line drying is an easy and effective way to cut costs at home. Standard dryers account for 50 to 65 percent of the average household's electric bill. Not only that, but you can scratch dryer sheets off your shopping list. Clothes that hang dry don't develop static cling.

• When the temperature takes a dip outdoors, put on a pair of thin, lightweight cotton or knit gloves, and add a pair of rubber gloves over them–your fingers will stay nice and toasty.

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Efficient Drying

• Drying two loads back to back is more efficient than drying them at different times because the machine is heats up only once. If you need to do a double-batch, do the lightweight clothes first, as the machine will be evenly heated for the more demanding load.

• Contrary to popular belief, tennis balls and sneakers will not help reduce drying time. These items can spread dirt and even melt onto your belongings. A dry, fluffy towel is the best addition to a dryer cycle you can make.

• In order to prevent down items from clumping in the dryer, remove them from time to time and shake vigorously

• Adding a clean, dry bath towel to heavier dryer loads containing blue jeans, rugs, blankets or bath towels helps absorb extra moisture and reduce drying time.

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Removing Stains

• If you've just washed a stained garment, examine the results before tossing it in the dryer. If the stain didn't come out, the dryer's heat will set it and make it even harder to deal with. Your chances of success are greater if you remove the item while it's damp.

• Your best chance of salvaging a stained garment after it's been in the dryer is to soak it for thirty minutes in a solution that's equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to wash it immediately afterward.

• When conquering dried bloodstains, dampen the damaged garment with hydrogen peroxide, then rinse with cold water. If possible, set your washing machine's temperature for cold as well.

• For stubborn food stains such as coffee, soy sauce, or mustard, blot the troubled area with foam shaving cream and allow it to sit for a half an hour. Repeat the process and if the stain remains, try leaving the cream in overnight.

• When battling mildew and soap scum-stained shower curtains, don't hesitate to drop them in the washing machine. For cloth as well as heavier vinyl and plastic curtains, use ordinary laundry soap and the recommended amount of bleach per load.

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Be Careful with Clothespins

• Don't hang bath towels by the corners—the weight of the cloth will pull the corners out of shape and leave unsightly indents, Instead, double them over the line.

• Avoid clothespin marks on the shoulders of your dress shirts and lighter knits by putting them on hangers with the top button closed.

• Make sensitive fabrics like Spandex and elastic go the distance and avoid the machine dryer. Clothing that's been lined-dried won't wear through as easily from constant rubbing and aren't vulnerable to shrinking.

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