17 Essential Laundry Tips for Beginners

17 Essential Laundry Tips for Beginners

Laundry can be difficult to understand even for the most experienced of people. There is nothing worse than wanting to put on your favorite dress shirt and seeing a massive stain from that time you accidentally spilled ketchup on yourself. Oops, you forgot to wash it. When you are just starting off and learning how to do your own laundry for the first time, there are many questions that you might ask yourself. How do I remove a stain? Does it matter if I wash everything together? To help, I have created this essential laundry tips and tricks list to answer any potential questions that might come up on your pursuit to clean clothes.


1.) How Do I keep my White Articles of Clothing White?

Are you having an issue where a white t-shirt has gone grey? Does it drive you crazy that your clothes never stay the same white as when you bought them? Here is a safe washing method for keeping your white clothing white: soak your white pieces of clothing in 3 liters of cold water and 150g bicarbonate of soda for 20 minutes. The bicarbonate of soda is a natural whitener and it will clean up your clothing and help bring them back to their original color. Wash normally afterwards.

2.) How Do I keep my Black Articles of Clothing Black?

Similar to the previous question, to help keep your black and dark clothing from fading or looking off, add 250g of regular table salt to your regular rinse cycle. For your denim (aka your jeans) which fade slowly, you can soak your jeans in a mixture of 50/50 of water and white vinegar before you wash them for the first time as this helps set the color in place. Once you have let the mixture set in for 15 minutes, you can then turn your jeans inside out before you put them in your washing machine. Make sure that you leave the temperature setting to cold as jeans can only be washed with cold water so that they do not shrink.

3.) Getting Rid of Sweaty Smells

If you normally go to the gym often or you are very active, this is a tip for you! To help get rid of that nasty sweaty clothing smell in your gym bag or on your gym shorts, you first need to add about 125g of baking soda to 3.5 liters of water and dump all of your smelly clothes in this solution for about 2 hours. The baking soda will help cut the smell of your clothing while the water will help soak it into your fabrics. After 2 hours, you can take your clothes out and put them into your washing machine with 125ml of white vinegar. The vinegar will help neutralize the smell so that when your rinse cycle is finished, your clothes will not smell anymore.

4.) How to Get Rid of those Yellow Stains

If you are like me and tend to sweat a lot, you might notice that even after washing your clothing, you might have your white cotton and linen items turning yellow. Now do not worry, this happens to everyone! The trick to getting rid of those yellow stains is to take 60g of regular salt and 60g of baking soda and mix them in 3.5 liters of water in a large pot (or bathtub). Add your yellow items and you can let it boil for about 45 minutes that will remove the yellow stains from you clothing. If you are doing a bulk wash, I usually fill up my bathtub with a lot of hot water, mix-in the salt and baking soda and dump my clothes in and let it sit for 1 hour, mixing everything every 10 minutes or so and the yellow stains magically disappear. 

5.) Disinfecting your Washing Machine

If you are currently living in an apartment building where you need to share a couple of washing machines with other people and you notice that the washing machine you need to use to wash your clothes is dirty or smells bad, here is a tip to help disinfect your washing machine. With a product that everyone has inside their medicine cabinet, you can take 150ml of mouthwash (I use Listerine) and empty it into your empty washing machine and run a regular wash cycle. This will disinfect and clean the entirety of the machine so that your clothes do not absorb the smell of the previous person’s clothing.

6.) Preparing Clothes for the Wash

Before you throw in all of your clothing into your washing machine, it is important to prepare your clothing in advance so that you do not damage your machine. This means that you should remove any buckles – you should not be washing belts – you should zip any zippers, make sure your Velcro is done up and make sure that you pant pockets are empty to avoid anything being stuck in the machine. The only item that you should not do is the button as this can put added stress on the button’s fiber and cause the button to come on done or to loosen. In addition, you should make sure that your socks are not balled-up (as they will not be properly washed) and make sure that delicate items like sweaters and cotton t-shirts are put inside out to avoid damage.

7.) Washing your Pillow Cases and Comforter

It is important to clean your pillow cases every month or so to avoid bacteria buildup and odors. You should also wash your comforter every 6 months. You can dry both of them on the lowest heat setting on your machine with a clean tennis ball so that it can redistribute the feathers in your comforter. Also, it is good to air out your items outside on a clothesline to keep them smelling fresh. If you notice a small stain, you can clean this up easily with a little bit of water and dishwashing liquid by making small circles on the stain. Continue until the stain is no longer there.

8.) How to Make a Cheap and Easy Fabric Softener

Depending on the type of store-bought fabric softener you use, you might find that some of their fragrances are a bit overpowering or can aggravate people who are sensitive to smells. To fix this issue, you can create your own easy fabric softener! You just need to add 120ml of white vinegar to your final rinse cycle and it is as easy as that! Also, please note that you should never mix vinegar and bleach together as this creates a toxic gas that can hurt you. Always read the labels of the products you use to avoid a mishap and always be careful when using new products.

9.) Removing a Stain like an Expert

The best way to remove a stain before it sets is referred to as damage control. If your stain is a solid (like a meatball), the best process is to scoop up the entirety of the solid and begin wiping slowly with a clean cloth that has been dipped in a diluted dishwashing soap and move your way from the outside of the stain to the inside to avoid spreading. To make an easy diluted dishwashing soap, simply add a 10:1 ratio of water to dishwashing soap. You should always clean up and minimize your stain before you put your piece of clothing in the wash. Once it has gone through the wash, make sure that the stain is no longer noticeable before putting it in the dryer. If the stain is still there, you must run another wash, as each additional wash will help remove the stain. This is because the heat of the dryer actually sets stains into the fabric and once dry, it will be much tougher to remove.

10.) Knowing when it is time to Dry Clean

Although we all wish to be able to avoid the dry cleaner as it tends to be expensive, there are some items where the cost is worth it. I find that dress shirts or items, after having worn them 2 or 3 times, are simply not worth my time to wash myself as they either take too long or are damaged easily.

11.) Washing bathroom towels

I always find it is best to avoid washing your bathroom towels with your clothes. Although you tend to go through towels at a much slower pace than your clothing, you might feel that it is just easier to throw in your dirty towel or two with your clothes and save yourself from having to do multiple washes. But, please note that when you wash your bathroom towel with your clothes, you might get these small towel particles (or little white fluffs), that go all over your clothes. I promise you that it’ll take more time and effort to remove these towel particles than it would take to just do two separate washes. When you are washing your towels alone, do not forget to use a non-chlorine bleach and wash them with hot water. Do not use fabric softener, as this will cause your towels to stiffen over time. When you dry your towels, it is best to air-dry them on a clothes rack or, if you decide to put them in your dryer, make sure that you use a scent-free dryer sheet so that your towels come out clean.

12.) Which Wash Cycle?

If you need help figuring out which washer setting is the right one than this is the tip for you! A regular (or normal) cycle is used for clothes that you wear often like t-shirts, socks and jeans. A permanent press setting cycle is used for a mix of clothing that are both used often and a little softer like underwear. Use the delicate cycle for items that are a bit looser like nice fleece sweaters or dishtowels. Hot water is for white loads, warm water is for a regular cycle and make sure that you use cold water for bright colors. When in doubt, if you are worried about ruining your clothes, always stick with cold water as it will not damage or shrink your clothes.

13.) How to Unshrink your Clothes

If you are like me and sometimes forget to check and make sure that there is nothing in your dryer that should not be there, than you have for sure shrunken an item in the past. But don’t worry as there is an easy fix to this issue. Just take your shrunken piece of clothing, put it in your bathtub and fill it with lukewarm water. Then add baby shampoo and slowly begin to massage and stretch the fibers of your shrunken item. Now this will take about 20 minutes so do not expect quick results but it will definitely be worth it as the item will slowly return to its original size after a couple of minutes. As a reminder, make sure that you stretch equally on all sides so that your item remains proportional.

14.) Stinky Jeans

If you find that your jeans are beginning to smell bad but do not have any noticeable stains that force you to put them in the wash, you can definitely skip the wash and just put them in your freezer for a couple of hours. This is because freezing your jeans supposedly kills the odor-causing bacteria. Just do not forget to take them out a bit before you wear them unless you like the cold feeling in and around your legs!

15.) Do not Overuse Detergent

One of the most expensive laundry mistakes that people make every day is following the laundry detergent bottle’s stated 1 cup of detergent per wash. As a laundry detergent company, you want to sell as much of your product as you can and by telling people to use double the amount that they actually need, you are able to sell your product 2x as fast. This is why you need to make sure that you do not overuse detergent as this can create more suds than necessary that could damage your clothes. My rule of thumb is to always use half of the recommend amount and see if the results are acceptable to you. If you find that your clothes are not coming out clean, they you can add some extra detergent until you find that sweet spot. This will allow you to save some extra money and have your clothes coming out perfectly.

16.) Reducing Bleeding Colors

There is nothing worse than forgetting about a colorful piece of clothing in a laundry bin of white clothes. As you open up the washing machine, all you see is a sea of lightly pink clothing. That is a terrible feeling. Therefore, to resolve this issue, it is important to sort your clothes in advance to prevent colors from bleeding onto other pieces of clothing. An easy way to see if a piece of clothing could bleed onto your whites is to grab a cotton swab, wet it and rub it in on your piece of clothing to see if the dye transfers from your piece of clothing onto the cotton swab. If it does change color, please hand wash this item alone to avoid discoloring all of your clothing.

17.) Balancing the Washing Weight of your Load

To better be able to wash effectively, you need to make sure that you have properly balanced your load. As most modern washing machines are able to carry heavy loads, it is important to not add too many heavy items or to fill up your washing machine all the way to the top so that your items can move freely in the washing machine and will be able to be properly washed and cleaned.

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Any other helpful cleaning tips that you think are worth mentioning? Would you like me to add anything else to this post? Let me know down in the comments below!

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