7 Laundry Hacks That Work

Chair next to basket with blanket it it

Sarah Dorweiler / Unsplash

The internet is filled with laundry hacks and tips all promising to save you from the drudgery and mistakes that make laundry day something to dread. Unfortunately, many of the hacks don't work because they're not based on the science of caring for fabrics. What works well in your laundry room depends on what happened months or years ago when the fibers and fabrics were being made.

To help you sift through a plethora of laundry hacks, we rounded up seven tips that actually work. They'll save you money, help your clothes look better and last longer, and maybe even prevent a laundry mishap.

  • 01 of 07

    Perform Laundry Magic With Vinegar

    Woman using white vinegar to clean
    GARO / Getty Images

    You probably have a bottle of distilled white vinegar in your kitchen that you use for cooking or cleaning. Grab it or buy another one to keep in the laundry room.

    Distilled white vinegar is nearly essential for laundry that looks clean and brand new each time it comes out of the washer. A few benefits include:

    • Banish dinginess. Add one cup of vinegar to the final rinse to remove detergent residue that leaves fabrics looking dull and feeling scratchy.
    • Remove odors. One cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle will help make mildew and body odors disappear from clothing.
    • Erase marks and flaws. Kids growing like weeds? Use vinegar to help remove marks from hemlines that you've changed again and again.
    • Freshen a smelly washer. Hot water and a couple of cups of vinegar will get rid of the bacteria and mold that makes a front load washer stink.
  • 02 of 07

    Keep Socks From Disappearing

    Colorful socks on a clothesline

    angieyoyo / Stocksy

    You can make your life so much easier and keep your socks paired up by using a mesh laundry bag to wash them. This is such a great tip for baby socks and any item of the same size.

    Just load the bag and toss it in the washer and then straight into the dryer. No more single socks.

  • 03 of 07

    Baking Soda Deodorizes More Than Your Refrigerator

    a bowl of baking soda

    Ivan Dzyuba / Getty Images

    When you buy that replacement box of baking soda for the fridge, get an extra one for the laundry room. Baking soda can boost the performance of your laundry products and even replace a few.

    • Skip the fabric softener: If commercial fabric softeners leave your towels less than absorbent, use baking soda instead in the rinse cycle.
    • Dingy whites: Boost the cleaning power of both chlorine and oxygen bleach by adding one cup of baking soda to the wash water when using bleach.
    • Sticky iron: Clean away the gunk on the bottom of your iron with baking soda without leaving any scratches.
  • 04 of 07

    Secrets to Help Dry Clothes Faster

    A basket with clothes hanging out of it

     

    imagenavi / Getty Images

    No one likes the feeling of realizing that one item you really need or want to wear was missed during the weekend laundry run. Not only do you need it clean, but you need it to dry as quickly as possible too. Before you toss it in the dryer, add a couple of dry bath towels. They will help absorb some of the moisture and speed up the drying process.

    Another tip, if you hand-washed a single garment, put it in your kitchen salad spinner and give it several spins to help it dry more quickly. This will remove more moisture without excessive wringing and twisting that can damage fabrics and leave lots of wrinkles.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Use Ice to Remove Wrinkles

    Mint colored ice tray with a cube popping out

    bluelily52 / Twenty20

    Forgetting to remove the clothes from the dryer last night inevitable leads to wrinkles. So what do you do when the shirt you planned to wear today is filled with them and you don't have time to iron?

    Remove all of the other clothes and toss a handful of ice cubes into the dryer along with the wrinkled shirt. Tumble for at least 10 minutes on high heat.

    When the cycle is finished, immediately remove the shirt and hang it up. Smooth the collar, cuffs, and seams with your hands. You just made your own steam dryer. The steam created by the melting ice relaxed the fibers and the wrinkles vanished.

  • 06 of 07

    Let Your Dryer Do the Talking

    laundry room

    Choreograph / Getty Images

    Even if your laundry room is tiny, you have a built-in message center. Just use erasable, white-board markers to make notes for yourself or others. When you enlist kids or teenagers to help with laundry, they may not know every tip you do. Help them avoid disasters by leaving notes of what can and cannot be put in the dryer.

    To remove the messages, just use a whiteboard eraser or old cloth. If the shadows of the ink remain, wipe down the finish with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth. For tough to remove ink, make a paste of baking soda and rubbing alcohol and scrub with a soft cloth.

  • 07 of 07

    Use Conditioner to Reverse a Shrunken Sweater

    A close up of a teal knit sweater

     rocknwool / Getty Images

    Sometimes disaster strikes. Whether it was a forgetful moment or someone forgetting that wool and dryers don't mix, somehow your favorite sweater ended up in the hot dryer and now it is a size (or two) too small.

    Not to worry. Simply mix a solution of cool water and hair conditioner and submerge the shrunken sweater. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes. The hair conditioner will help relax the wool fibers so you can gently pull the sweater back to its original shape.