Laundry Lessons…Hard to believe that thirty years ago, my mom was trying to teach me how to do my own laundry as I headed out the door to college. Now I have three college daughters of my own who really need to start doing their own laundry…the right way.

(So don’t say that your mom never showed you how to do your own laundry…I am writing it here in plain English.)

How much detergent...Too much detergent is a waste of money and produces an excess of suds in the wash. Too little detergent can keep your clothes from getting clean at all.How many clothes per load…Cramming every single article of clothing you own into one wash load makes it harder for clothes to get cleaned effectively. Use your common sense.

How often should I wash my clothes…Socks, underwear, and workout clothes should be washed after every wearing. Everything else, at least for the most part, can simply be aired out and put away for another day…(no, girls, that does not give you a valid excuse to leave your entire wardrobe all over the bedroom floor)…

What settings should you use…Select the smallest load setting and shortest wash setting appropriate for each particular load…again, use some common sense…or call your mom…

What water temperature should I use to wash my clothes… According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 90 percent of the energy used while doing a load of laundry is used to heat the water….

We have been told differently since birth…or maybe since college days…because there was a time when hot water was needed to dissolve powdered detergent, but times have changed…and liquid laundry detergents have now advanced to the point of being able to get clothes just as clean in cold water as hot.

So stop…(stop using hot or warm water, that is…not sure that any of us can get by with not doing laundry, at least not for very long.)

Now that I have started doing smaller loads throughout the week, I am enjoying the freedom of “bachelor washing”…washing almost anything and everything in one load.

Cold water makes doing this “safer”…is gentler on fabrics than warmer water…and helps keep clothes from fading or shrinking. Even better, switching to cold water is the simplest way to save money. (There are detergents specifically made for cold water use, if throwing all your clothes into the same water scares you still)…

What water temperature should I use to rinse my clothes... rinsing in hot or warm water doesn’t get clothes any cleaner…it just increases your monthly utility bills.

Which detergent should I buy...(I am working on a future post about natural cleaners and detergents, so stay tuned)…Be smart enough to look beyond those super-expensive brands so that you can see the generic and store-brand options.

Read the label to see how best to use a particular product. For example, some detergents go into the soap dispenser, others go right into the drum. 

Many of my friends were on a laundry detergent-making sprint back when Pinterest first got big…(I personally never found time to try making my own…too busy on Facebook, I guess)…but here’s a recipe for homemade laundry detergent that was given to me back then…

3 cups washing soda, 3 bars of Castile soap, 3 cups of Borax, and ¼ -1/2tsp essential oil-such as grapefruit, lavender, lime or orange.

Wow…that stinks!!!...Add a few drops of essential oils-such as lemon or lavender-to the water in the washing machine. Soak very smelly clothes in a machine filled with the hottest water available and 1C vinegar for an hour before washing them as normally would.

Wow…that stain will never come out!!!…Simply pray hard and then work a few drops of detergent into the stained fabric and wash as usual.  If the stain doesn’t come out, you needed a good excuse to go shopping anyway, right?!


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