Simplify and Improve Your Laundry Routine

Spring cleaning is the traditional top to bottom cleaning in our homes. Don't forget to include the laundry room and your laundry routine. Just a few steps can make laundry easier throughout the year.

  • 01 of 07

    Clean Your Laundry Appliances

    Smelly Washer
    E+/Getty Images

    Every laundry appliance needs routine cleaning to keep it performing at its best. Start with your iron. Even if it is used infrequently (as mine is), performance can be hampered if it is not cleaned properly. Follow these steps to keep your iron working smoothly.

    If that seldom used iron needs cleaning, imagine how much your frequently used washer and dryer need it. Cleaning your washer prevents redepositing dirt on loads of clothing and odors. Cleaning the dryer improves efficiency and prevents fire hazards. Don't wait for spring. Washers should be cleaned monthly and dryer lint filters should be cleaned after every load of laundry.

  • 02 of 07

    Inspect Appliances for Problems

    Microsoft Publisher 2003

    If you have noticed mysterious holes or stains on your clothing, it's time to address and possibly solve the problem by thoroughly checking your washer and dryer. The problem is most likely a malfunctioning seal within the machine or a rough spot that is catching clothing. Get a flashlight and carefully inspect every nook and cranny of the appliances for potential problems before they become destructive issues.

  • 03 of 07

    Sort and Clean Out Laundry Products

    Photo by MML

    While most detergents and stain removers don't lose their cleaning power, it is a good idea to periodically clean out your laundry shelves or cabinets. Chlorine bleach does lose potency after opening and will not clean or disinfect as well.

    Recycle empty containers or use them for craft projects.

    When you have completed your cleaning, take a look at your detergent caps and measuring cups. Can you clearly see the measuring lines for each size load? Probably not and you are probably using too much detergent in each load. Take time to use a permanent marker and draw a clearly visible line for a regular load. You can even transfer the marked caps to the new bottle when this one is empty. I'll bet your detergent lasts longer!

  • 04 of 07

    Clean Laundry Area and Add Practical Conveniences

    Microsoft Publisher 2003.

    Cleaning the laundry area can be done in just three minutes. After you finish cleaning out and rearranging, you may find that you have some room for some practical conveniences that will make laundry time more simple. Add some wire shelves or clothesline or a table for folding and sorting.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Boost Your Laundry Room Morale

    Laundress Carrying Linen in Town, Edgar Degas 1876-78.

    Even if your laundry area is in a dark corner of the basement, just a few touches will make the space more enjoyable to use. Make sure lighting is sufficient, add some art or even apply feng shui.

  • 06 of 07

    Set a Family Laundry Routine

    Improve Reading Skills in the Laundry Room
    Photo: Getty Images

    Historically, Monday was laundry day but that doesn't fit our lifestyles today. Every family can find a routine that works for them. Take some time to review how you do laundry. Can it be more efficient? Can different members of the household take responsibility? Children as young as three can help with sorting, folding and putting away laundry.

    Begin by streamlining laundry. Place two hampers in each bedroom or bathroom and teach family members to sort clothing by light and dark. Will it work better to rotate bed changing so that all the linens are not soiled at one time?

    Call a family meeting and discuss the changes. There may be some protests but doing laundry is one skill that everyone should know.

  • 07 of 07

    Clean out Clothes Closets

    Carlo Allegri/Getty Images.

    Cleaning out clothes and linen closets may not seem to have anything to do with laundry, but it does. By clearing away clothing that no longer fits, that you no longer like or items that need repair, you are doing two things to lighten your laundry routine.

    One, clothing will last longer and need less attention if it is stored in an uncrowded space. Air should be able to circulate around each piece. You'll prevent wear by excessive rubbing and the iron will be needed less often.

    Two, by eliminating unwearable clothing there will be no more "extra laundry" of those clothes that get tried on and then thrown in the floor. This is particularly relevant to the parents of teenagers.