The Summer Laundry School: How to Manage All the Summer Laundry, According to a Pro

back-to-school-concept-two-female-studentsSummer Laundry School

A lot of people ask me how I manage all the laundry during the summer, especially when I’m on vacation (which is most of the time). So I figured I’d share my secrets, even though they might not surprise you much if you have already read my book, The Laundry School. Here are my pro tips on how to manage all the laundry over the summer, if you’re in the market for such advice. And hey, if you don’t need advice on doing laundry, that’s cool too!

back-to-school-concept-two-female-studentsSummer Laundry School

Wash it all in cold water. for The Summer Laundry School

A lot of people think that they need to wash their clothes in hot water in order to get them clean, but that’s actually not the case. Washing your clothes in cold water can actually be just as effective, and it’s much better for your clothing. Plus, it’ll save you money on your energy bill. So next time you’re doing laundry, switch that dial to cold and see how it goes!
The best way to wash your clothes in cold water is by using a good detergent. Detergents are designed to get your clothes clean regardless of what temperature you’re washing them in. If you don’t have a cold-water-compatible detergent or if you just want an extra layer of protection, there are also laundry additives that work specifically for low-temperature washes. Just remember that no matter what you do, you’ll still need to add fabric softener.

Separate lights from darks

Before you even start your wash, it’s important to sort your laundry into two groups: lights and darks. This will help prevent any unwanted bleeds and also help your clothes keep their original colors. Plus, it’ll make doing laundry a lot easier and quicker in the long run. For example, if you only have one load of clothes left but you still have some time before they need to be washed again, use that time to do some outdoor work on your garden or something else around the house. And then when you’re done with that project, just throw those few items of clothing in with your current load! If this is your first time separating lights from darks, it might take a little while longer to complete the task. But trust me, after the first few times you should get used to sorting them out quickly.
Separating your clothes into lights and darks doesn’t have to be time-consuming. For instance, you can use white hangers for light colors and black hangers for dark colors. And if you have any rubber bands around, you can also use those as temporary markers for sorting out lights from darks (use a white band on light items and a black band on dark items). It might take a little while longer at first to complete that task but once you get used to separating them out it will be super quick. There’s no doubt about it! And if your laundry is heavily soiled or stained with paint or anything else like that just make sure to sort that stuff into different piles than your normal laundry.


Set up a laundry schedule

A laundry schedule can help you keep on top of all the summer laundry. Try setting up a schedule where you do a load of laundry every day. This way, you won’t have to deal with a huge pile of laundry at the end of the week. Plus, doing laundry every day will help your clothes last longer.
To make your life even easier, try to group your laundry by type. For example, wash all your whites together and all your colors together. This will help you save time and energy when doing your laundry.
Finally, don’t forget to pre-treat any stains before putting your clothes in the wash. This will help ensure that your clothes come out looking their best.
It’s also important to wash certain clothing items separately. For example, you may want to do your delicates in cold water by themselves. If you mix them with other fabrics in warm or hot water you risk ruining your delicate garments. If your delicates are made from material that can stand up on its own (like silk), then it’s safe to wash them with other clothing items.

Hang wet clothes outside in the sun

The sun is a powerful natural disinfectant and can help eliminate any lingering bacteria in your clothes. Plus, hanging your clothes outside will save you money on your energy bill. Just make sure to bring them in before nightfall so they don’t get damp again.
To get started, invest in a good laundry detergent and fabric softener. Then, sort your clothes by color and type of fabric. Wash dark clothing in cold water and light-colored clothing in warm water. Delicate items should be hand-washed or placed in a mesh bag before being tossed in the machine. When you’re finished washing, hang your clothes outside on a clothesline or drying rack. The sun will help to freshen them and remove any remaining wrinkles.

Read washing machine labels closely

Most people don’t realize that there are home & garden washing machines available that can greatly reduce the amount of laundry you have to do. These washing machines have been designed to save water and energy, which can be a godsend during the summer months. To find one of these machines, simply read the labels on your washing machine closely. You’ll want to look for a machine that has a high efficiency rating and is certified by Energy Star.
One of my favorite types of washing machines is an agitatorless washer. Agitatorless washing machines move clothes around in circular motions with gentle jets of water. They use much less water than regular washing machines and can be set to fill only as much as they need at any given time, which helps save energy too. The delicate cycles are gentler on your clothes than most standard washing machine cycles. These machines also come with a drain sensor that senses when your machine is full and can automatically adjust its cycle accordingly so it doesn’t spill over during draining!

Use half as much detergent

Did you know that you probably don’t need to use as much detergent in the summer as you do in the winter? That’s because there are more bacteria in the air during colder months, which can end up on your clothes. In the summer, however, there are fewer bacteria in the air, so you don’t need to use as much detergent to get your clothes clean. Here’s how to cut back on detergent and still get your clothes clean and fresh-smelling all summer long.

Match colors with care

During the summer, we spend more time outdoors and often come home with grass stains, dirt, and other marks on our clothing. If you’re not careful when matching colors, these stains can become permanent. Here are a few tips from the pros to help you keep your summer laundry looking its best.
Matching Color Carefully – The most important thing you can do when matching summer clothing is to make sure you pair similarly colored items together. If you have a solid color shirt, for example, and it gets stained with grease or barbecue sauce, that mark will be much harder to remove if you wear another solid color in its place. Instead of washing your stain repeatedly and making your clothes progressively worse over time, make sure you take care not to wear any other fabrics with similar colors until it has completely dried out.

Treat stains while they’re fresh!

Most laundry experts will tell you that treating stains as soon as they happen is the best way to get them out. But what if you don’t have time to treat them right away? If you’re dealing with a fresh stain, pour some cold water on it and then blot it with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain is gone. You can also try using a home & garden product like OxyClean or Zout.

Mix whites with colors when you can

You can mix whites with colors when you’re doing laundry in the summer. This will help you save time and energy. You can also use a home & garden hose to rinse your clothes off before you wash them. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may be on your clothing.
It’s best to mix whites with colors. Washing all of your clothing in hot water and adding liquid bleach can ruin your clothes if you aren’t careful. If you have time, try line drying clothing outside. You’ll need to dry it inside if you’re not up for hanging up or line drying your laundry on an extended period of time (weeks). The ideal temperature for washing is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or under and 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less for drying. With both washing and drying at such high temperatures, your clothes will shrink over time making them not fit correctly in addition to damaging them over time. Alternatively, using a home & garden hose can rinse off dirt from clothing before putting it into a machine washer/dryer.

Use stain removers before washing if possible

Before you even think about putting your clothes in the washer, treat any visible stains with a quality stain remover. Blot the area with a clean cloth soaked in the stain remover of your choice, then rinse it with cool water. Let the garment air dry or machine dry on low heat before laundering.
If your stain remover of choice happens to be your dish detergent, be sure not to let it sit for too long on your clothes. Gently rub it in with your fingers and then give it some time before you put those stained garments into cold water. This will help prevent any discoloration from setting in over time. Of course, if your garment has been soiled by something like grease or oil-based paint, you may want to skip straight ahead to pre-treating with laundry detergent and skipping that step entirely.
Going hand-in-hand with stain removal is laundering delicate items separately from darker ones in your load—and using warm (not hot) water when you do so.

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John Hopkins is Editor at Admire, his One of the original CB crew, John joined the team back in 2013 after moving from her role as a staff writer on Design World. Since then he's written regularly for other creative publications.

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