Washing your clothes

Important Laundry Rules and Sustainable Tips From a Fashionista

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The most important laundry tips don’t come from your clothing or even a book for that matter. Many of them are really more common sense.

Then again, analyzing almost everything we do can be quite an eye-opening experience. Whether you think of laundry as a essential chore OR a fun part of your day (if you are one of those, you can join my club), it’s something we have probably done more times than we can count.

Yet have you really analyzed what you are doing and why?

If you are reading this from MSN’s page, click here for the original article.

Quote of the day: “Don’t let your clothes tell you what to do.” Laundry Love by Patric Richardson

Interesting fact: The book Laundry Love is the only book I’ve ever bought AFTER reading it from the library. The stain removal section is worth its weight in gold.

Content of Laundry Tips at a Glance
Most useful laundry tip out there-Do you REALLY need to wash it?
Storage Tips
Washing Tip
Drying Tips
Steaming Tips

As someone who adores clothes (that’s no secret if you’ve been reading my blog for any time), it only makes sense that I would also enjoy doing laundry. Why? Because it involved my clothing of course!!

In fact, I was shocked to think that I had never even written about the idea of laundry tips in the past. You can imagine with the amount of clothing that I have, that I’ve learned a thing or two about laundry tips and what works for me.
That and my mother, Charlotte, is a wealth of information since she was a home economics teacher for over 30 years.

Although I will say, that laundry, just like clothing, is very individual. However, there are some laundry tips that even old dogs can learn.
One of my favorite stories about analyzing our actions is Zig Ziglar’s story about cutting off the end of the ham found here. I bet some of our laundry rules are in place because it’s how it’s always been done. Yet you know I’m going to say that doesn’t always make it right.

Another fact is how we have all been brushing our teeth for over 40 or 50 years. Yet I would bet $100 that 90% of you use too much toothpaste or brush too hard. (Did you know that I’m a retired dentist?).
The point is that just because you’ve been doing something for a long time, doesn’t mean you are doing everything correctly. It just means you’ve been doing it a long time.

Am I the perfect laundress? Nope. But I have laundry tips that I figured are helpful. And I’m all ears if you have some to share too.

Facts: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Do You Really Need to Wash It?

I believe that most of the best laundry tips are all about convenience. If something makes our routine easier, then why wouldn’t we do it?
That being said, the best laundry tip EVER is to do it less.

What do I mean? I bet most of us wash our clothing way too much. Is it really dirty? Does it really need to be put through the washer and dryer process again?

I touted this fact back when we talked about saggy denim (so I guess I have touched on some laundry tips in the past).

Sure, your undies and socks may need to be washed after every wear. But most of your other clothing does not!
This idea of not washing items as much is good for the environment as it’s good for your clothing too. But the most important factor? It’s easier on you! And that’s the type of convenience I’m talking about.

How do you know if you should wash something? This is where your common sense comes in. Even if there is a small stain on it, sometimes spot cleaning is the way to go.
Even smelly things can many times be aired out to smell fresh without having to wash it, dry it, and put it away. (Am I the only one that went to bars in the ’80s and came home smelling like smoke? Hanging out my brown bomber jacket outside made all of that smoke smell go away, and voila, I could wear it the next night.)

In fact, I have heard stories about how some people never wash their jeans. Is that the way to go? Only you know what works best for you, but I beseech you to analyze it before just doing what you’ve always done.

Laundry storage

Storage Laundry Tips

Part of any laundry journey begins with storing the dirty items. Now we are talking about laundry tips here, so let me share the laundry bag storage that I’ve had for over 20 years.
There is nothing easier than having my laundry sorted right from the get-go. I have one bag for whites, one bag for warm-colored things, and the last bag for cool-colored items.

My laundry storage has been moved 2 times and one of those times across the country. So I think it’s proved it is sturdy.
I can’t even remember where I bought mine (I’m thinking Target where they have a similar one here with four bags and here with three bags). And of course, you can find this same idea on Amazon.

What works best for me is the fact that each bag is removable. So I can pick up the full bag of dirty laundry (looks like it’s time to do my whites in real life, right), and carry them down to the laundry room.
Now since everyone’s laundry setup is different, this laundry tip may be useless to you. But it’s been a lifesaving hack for me ever since I bought this kind of dirty clothes storage.

My hamper does not have wheels, and since it stays put, this is fine for me. However, you will see some of the newer ones have wheels on the entire contraption. If you need to take the whole kit and kaboodle to the laundry room, that’s important.
For the two of us, I probably only do 1 load of laundry a week.

Insider tip: About once a year, I will wash the laundry bag too.

BTW, I use the mesh bags (found on Amazon here) to separate my Sheec socks from Rob’s Sheec socks. You can see that I wear my Sheec socks much more during the winter than my husband does.

Earth breeze vs. handmade laundry soap

Laundry Tips for Washing

Now let’s talk about how you are really getting your clothing clean. Are you adding toxins and chemicals to the clothes that you are wearing against your skin?
Did that sound harsh? Sorry. Heck, I grew up using the grocery store detergent for most of my life. Until I started to get concerned about my health.

Now trying to memorize the “bad” ingredients in anything can be a lesson in overwhelm. Trust me, I’ve been there. This is why I started making my own laundry detergent about 5 years ago. I figure if I was adding the ingredients, then I knew what was in our detergent.

Is it a pain in the behind? Yes, without a doubt it takes extra time although, for the two of us, I only make it about once a year.
I will share my recipe at the end of this post if you are interested. It’s no big secret because I found it on the internet. But to save you the time of searching, click this link.

Insider tip: You use MUCH less detergent when you make your own because there’s no water added. That’s what most of the volume of detergent is anyways.

One of the other reasons I started making my own detergent is because my husband was having some sensitivity and rashes on his skin.
In my opinion, many of the rashes we encounter are not JUST from the toxins around us, but the build-up of everything. It can take an overload for these to appear, and it’s usually not just one thing. (This is the biologist and retired dentist in me talking after having studied and worked in my field for over 30 years)

BTW, stop dry cleaning. The only reason many clothes have a tag that “recommends” dry cleaning is to cover their butts (as told to me by my smart mother). Just think of all of the toxins that happen with dry cleaning.
And water is not the enemy. In fact, did you know that knitted items shrink because of the agitation? NOT THE WATER.

Earth Breeze Detergent

If you ever make your own laundry detergent, then you realize that you accumulate a bunch of ingredients that take up a lot of space.
Not to mention the time it takes to make it.

That’s why over a year after trying out Earth Breeze detergent, I decided to become an affiliate with the company.

There are more than just eco-friendly laundry results when you buy Earth Breeze. The company is one of those that donate to many needy organizations AS WELL AS you can bury the package as compost. What that means is not only is the detergent safe for your clothes and body, but the packing is safe for the environment.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Earth Breeze
1-No parabens, no phthalates, no phosphate, no bleach, and no dyes
2-Incredibly small packaging so it doesn’t take up much room in your laundry room
3-You can use half a sheet for smaller loads
4-Even use them for handwashing items. I tear off about a quarter of a sheet (maybe a little less) and use it for handwashing my sweaters. Why have 2 different kinds of detergent in my cabinet?
5-Delivered right to your door (remember that convenience thing we were talking about before?). You can even sign up for the subscribe and save, but you don’t have to.
6-Easy to take with you if you travel. You don’t even need to take the whole “box”. You can put some of the sheets in a plastic bag to have on your trip.

1-It is going to be more expensive than making your own detergent. Or even the grocery store sales. But if you compare apples to apples with your grocery store detergent, you might be surprised since the store detergents are mostly water.
2-That’s all I have. I obviously like these detergent sheets a lot or I wouldn’t have requested to be an ambassador for them.

BTW, I prefer the fragrance-free sheets, but that’s just me.


Now here’s where I fail as a laundry guru type. But hey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses right?
I’m one of those that use the dryer for everything except my bras.

Do I shrink my husband’s t-shirts? Yes. Does he mind? Yes. Will I change? That’s a hard no!!
But at least my “win” with the dryer is I have finally gotten rid of the dryer sheets. Do you know how bad those are for you? It’s all about the ingredients, and I bet it’s not something you’ve thought about before.

So yes, I use those felted dryer balls (found on Amazon here). And I had an “aha” moment a while back that I shared with my email readers.

Fabulous dryer ball tip: Store the balls in the dryer!! Maybe this seems obvious to you, but I was storing them in the cabinet above my dryer between loads. And when I’d open the cabinet, they would come tumbling out. SO I figured, if it was an aha moment for me, maybe it will help one of you out there too.

Are you addicted to the smell of “clean” laundry? That’s when you add a couple of drops of essential oils to your felted balls. But as my friend MK told me, it’s important to let the oils dry on the balls before you put them in the dryer so the oil doesn’t stain your clothing!

Insider tip for static cling: Roll up an aluminum ball (about baseball size) and keep it in the dryer too. Once it shrinks to golf ball size, toss it and start with a new one.

Hand held steamer


Now, who doesn’t love no-iron clothes? Of course, we do, but there’s always a pro and con about everything, right? In fact, while I LOVE the idea of my no-stain white jeans too, I realize there are chemicals in the material that make them no-stain.

Of course, some materials don’t wrinkle as much as others, and that’s where we have learned the convenience of those materials. If that’s all you have in your wardrobe then you can skip this section.

As for me, I only iron when I do alterations. Having a clean crease is not something that excites me. But I do still appreciate looking pulled together and nice!!
That’s where my steamers come in (and yes I have 2 steamers. One is a travel size and one is its bigger cousin).

I first bought my full-sized steamer at Bed, Bath and Beyond over 20 years ago. I think they are easy to use and get enough of the wrinkles out to make me feel good with my outfits.

Insider tip: Wrinkles are a part of life, so I’m trying to embrace them on my face and in my clothing. That doesn’t mean I don’t use face creams to make me look good, and it doesn’t mean I don’t steam most of my things to start off looking less rumpled. But I don’t get obsessed about having an outfit look lived in after we’ve traveled to take our photos.

Even though I bought a good brand of a steamer (per my mother, it’s a Rowenta), I’ve had to replace it at least 3 times. Once was within a year of buying it, so Bed, Bath and Beyond, did replace it for free.
Needless to say, what has worked better is using tap water in it INSTEAD of distilled water. Once I read the instructions and realized that it’s been smooth sailing.
I do like getting my steamers at Bed, Bath and Beyond because I would always use one of their coupons (do they even have them anymore?). Here is a Rowenta steamer that is similar to mine. I know I paid around $200, and the funny thing is my exact one on Amazon says it’s $400. So obviously I got a good deal.

I do like that the large steamer breaks down to a more compact size to store in my laundry room. However, it is still a process to pull it out and get it ready. I do this when I am going to steam more than one or two items.

BUT I also have a travel steamer that I use even at home. When I just want to steam one thing, it’s fast and easy (and found on Amazon for under $30). Again, just use tap water and it’ll be your best friend.

Laundry Detergent Recipe

This is the laundry detergent recipe I have adapted over the years. I found a couple of different ones online when I started this process and made it work for me.

This lasts about a year in my house where I clean for two adults. Each full load gets about a teaspoon in the dispenser. Granted we don’t have “super dirty” clothes either.

1 c. Borax
1 c. Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 bar of grated natural soap (yes, I use the same grater that we use for cheese. We wash it very well afterward and since we use natural soap, I don’t worry about it)

Laundry rules and sustainable tips

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