What’s the Most Efficient Way to Wash and Fold Laundry?
Do you feel like you spend your whole life doing laundry? Interestingly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we do devote a lot of time to it. The average is 5 minutes for men and 17 minutes for women every day!
We're not going to get into the inequality of that statistic today. But it does show that we're spending hours each week washing, drying, and ironing. Is there any way we can make it more efficient?
We're here to help you do just that. There has to be a more efficient way to do laundry and make the most of your precious time.
Read on for our handy wash and fold tips to help you whiz through your whites, lights, and darks.
Wash and Fold Tips 101: Master Sorting
It's so easy just to strip off and dump all your clothes into one laundry basket. That leaves someone with the unenviable task of sorting through gross, dirty clothes later and trying to make sense of how to group them.
Or even worse, just dump them all in the washer together and hope for the best. You might get technically clean clothes at the end of this, but you'll pay the price in faded, lackluster togs.
The More Hampers, The Better
To make laundry super-efficient, begin sorting as soon as you strip off. You can train everyone in the family to do this, even kids. Have a hamper for whites, one for darks, and one for lights.
Also, fight the temptation to wash half loads as it's not eco friendly. It might be efficient in terms of time, but it's not efficient in terms of energy. The washing machine uses the same amount of water and energy whether it's full or not.
To keep your clothes in the best condition, consider flipping them inside out. This can help to protect your clothes in the washer. It helps to prevent damage to logos and graphics and stops things from wearing out as quickly.
Buy Sock Only Bags
Sick of sorting socks and losing odd ones? Invest in a mesh bag for every family member. Tell them to put only socks in the bag.
They can go straight in the mesh bag every day and be washed once a week. Then they have the fun of pairing them up, and no socks go missing.
Does this sound like extra work? It'll actually be more efficient in the long run. Pre-treating stains as soon as they happen helps to prevent them from becoming deeply ingrained.
The best way to pre-treat the stain will depend on the type. Some respond well to a little laundry detergent. Others, such as blood, need a soak in cold water to prevent the stain from setting.
It's good to keep some laundry detergent containing enzymes in the house. The enzymes are great at breaking down biological stains.
Create a Laundry Schedule
OK, we can hear you groaning. But it's not as painful as it sounds. And once you have done it, you've got it for life.
First of all, divide your laundry into categories. For example, bedding, towels, colors, white, lights. Then work out how many loads of each you need to do each week.
As a reference, towels need a wash after about 3 uses, and bedding needs a wash every week. You can get away with less for bedding during the winter.
Then decide how much ironing there will be to do.
Now you know the work involved, think about your schedule. If you currently do laundry as and when needed, you're probably not making the best use of your time. Setting up a schedule and sticking to it can streamline laundry significantly.
Decide when you will wash, dry, and iron each load. Some loads will only need a simple fold, and can then be put away.
Try to get everyone in the family involved. Give them an age-appropriate task. Something like folding the towels, or putting away underwear when it comes out of the dryer.
Look Forward to Laundry Time
There are a few people out there who just love doing laundry and ironing. If you're one of the vast majority of people who don't, there are ways to make it more enjoyable.
For one, there's no need to spend time waiting for clothes to wash and dry or ironing time staring at a wall. If you enjoy audiobooks, it's a great time to put your headphones in and be transported someplace else.
Combine laundry with a little me time, and it can become a highlight of the week.
Fold Like a Pro
Thanks to home organization experts like Marie Kondo, folding is a lot more hip than it used to be.
She's also taught us an important lesson: you're never too young to get the folding bug. Folding laundry can actually become a fun activity to do with your kids, as well as a useful life lesson.
Rolling, rolling, rolling
If you hate folding your clothes, why not try rolling?
Rolling is an easy way to store clothes that don't need to be ironed. You can more easily see rolled clothes in drawers than folded ones. Plus, it's easy, and quick.
There's more than one correct way to fold your clothes. What's important is that you find a method that is quick and efficient for you.
Anyone who's watched Big Bang Theory will remember how Sheldon folded his t-shirts - using a folding board. These are great if you're a fan of crisp lines. You can really get in a rhythm and work through clothes efficiently.
The problem is that they're not the best for little clothes. They only work well on adult clothes, and really only on tops.
A better way is to learn to fold clothes so that they stand on end. There are several advantages to this method. One is that you can apply it to almost any item of clothing or any size.
The other is that the folded clothes take up very little space. They stand on end, and it's easy to see them in a drawer or on the shelf.
The general principle is to lay your clothes flat, and then systematically fold them from left to right and right to left. Then do the same from top to bottom, bottom to top, until you have a small package. You can then easily store even bulky items like jeans on their end in drawers.
There Is Another Way
We all want clean clothes, but let's face it. At home, it takes time and effort. W