My 7 Laundry Don’ts

posted by Andrea | 07/26/2013

laundry don'ts

I’ve blogged a lot about laundry over the years — but never-the-less, it’s still one of the MOST common categories I receive questions about on a weekly basis.

And while I’m thrilled that you think I might be some sort of laundry guru, I must be honest and admit that laundry is one of the household chores I’m MOST relaxed about. I don’t slack off, I don’t procrastinate, and I don’t leave piles of dirty (or clean) laundry laying around my house for lengthy periods of time — I’m just super relaxed with the way I do laundry.

In fact, when it comes to laundry, there are several things I DON’T do that have drastically helped me to simplify this otherwise time-consuming household chore!  

1. I don’t use cloth diapers.

I have no issue with cloth diapers, nor do I think it’s bad for others to use cloth diapers, it’s just never something Dave or I wanted to do.

Based on my experience using disposable while watching several close friends and family members use cloth, I’m extremely happy with our decision  – mainly because I don’t love the idea of extra laundry, and my gag reflexes still haven’t subsided even after 20 months of changing poopy diapers :)

Also, for those of you who will inevitably try to sway me by saying cloth diapers are cheaper in the long-run, I should also mention that I’ve spent almost $0.00 out-of-pocket to keep Nora in disposable diapers her first 20 months of life (and I still have several large boxes of diapers in an upstairs closet waiting) — thanks mostly in part to Swagbucks and lots of bargain shopping.

Plus, the diaper boxes are just SO fun to play with.

2. I don’t shy away from white.

OK, so white might seem like a negative when it comes to doing laundry — but in my experience, white is one of the easiest “colors” to keep clean.

ALL our sheets, blankets, pillow cases, towels, wash cloths, rags, cloth napkins, etc. are white or cream — which means they can easily be bleached (or cleaned with Oxy-Clean… see below).

We even have a bunch of totally white rugs, which I realize sounds absolutely insane, but I promise they are not grungy looking and I don’t spend tons of time keeping them clean. I just toss them in the washer about once a month and they are bright white again.

Even our white couch (which everyone warned me  not to buy) has held up marvelously over the past few years. Nora can try to destroy it all she wants — because I’ve easily managed to remove crayons, strawberries, coffee (from Dave, not Nora) and more with just a quick pass through the washer and dryer.

crayon on our white couch

3. I don’t pre-treat any spots.

I don’t pre-treat ANYTHING (seriously, I don’t even own spot treatment of any type). Everything, even stuck-on stains, gets thrown in the washer with a large scoop of Oxi-Clean and 99.9% of the time, things come out spotless.

I’ve removed completely dried and set-in ink, spit up, strawberries, spaghetti sauce, grape juice, wine, coffee, crayon, and more with no spot treatment, no scrubbing, and no stress. Just a scoop of Oxi-Clean before I press start and I’m good to go.

4. I don’t sort any colors.

Besides separating the whites out, I don’t sort anything… period! This is not because I’m lazy, just simply because after years of sorting, I realized that it really wasn’t necessary — at least not with the newer washing machines.

So yes, this means that Nora’s light pink dress might get thrown in with a bright blue beach towel, Dave’s work jeans, a red sports jersey, and my nice gray sweater. Seriously folks, I throw every thing in together regardless of fabric type, color, weight, or washing instructions — even the hand-wash items and dry-clean-only items get thrown in the mix. (Read more about how I wash “dry-clean-only” items in our washer)

I have never had issues with bleeding colors, and if I’m concerned, I just use cold water.

5. I don’t buy fancy or expensive clothing.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m not a huge fan of shopping — especially for clothing. We’re satisfied wearing jeans and a t-shirt most days… which means we don’t have a lot of delicate, fancy, or expensive clothing to worry about ruining in the wash. If one of our t-shirts somehow gets ruined, we turn it into a rag and life goes on.

And in the rare instance that a stain isn’t totally removed (usually on Nora’s clothing), I simply get creative with iron-on patches to cover the stain or layer clothing to hide it.

6. I don’t have many clothes baskets.

In my own experience (and working with many disorganized clients) laundry overload is caused not by the amount of dirty clothing waiting to be washed, but the amount of CLEAN clothing waiting to be folded and put away.

Piles and piles of clean clothing that sits on the couch, on the kitchen table, or on the bed… some gets knocked onto the floor, then you’re unsure if it’s clean or dirty so you put it back in with the dirty clothing just to be safe. In the mean time, no one has any clean clothing in their closet and you can’t use your couch, your bed, or your table!

Sound familiar?

So I made a point to only have 3 very small laundry baskets to force myself to quickly fold and put away clothes from one load before the clean laundry backs up. If 2 baskets are filled with clothing, I know I better start folding before the next load is done as my goal is to never have all 3 baskets full and waiting at one time. I know this might sound like a silly game, but it works well for me and is just the right amount of “pressure” I need to stay on top of the clean laundry!

7. I don’t run the full-length cycle for washing.

I’ve done plenty of laundry experiments of the years, and I’ve decided that our clothing is just as clean if I use the quick cycle versus the regular full-length cycle — and I can save about 40 minutes plus a whole bunch of water in the process.

Plus, since our dryer is so efficient, it actually dries our clothing FASTER than the washing machine can wash it. So by using the quick cycle on the washer, the two units finish within minutes of each other, which means I don’t waste any time waiting for one or the other.

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I’m guessing that many of you think I’m crazy right now — and if my grandmother had a computer to read this post, she would be shaking her head along with you :)

I promise I’m not lazy about our laundry (or any other household chores), I’m just committed to simplifying anything I can, and these 7 factors have definitely helped me to simplify our weekly laundry routine.

I don’t hate doing laundry by any means, but it’s certainly not a priority over work, family, or relaxation… so why make it any more challenging or labor-intensive than it has to be… right?

Do you share any of my laundry don’ts? Do you have any of your own don’ts?

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96 comments

  1. Louise

    09/29/2013

    All sounds good but I am from Australia and have never seen oxiclean…does anyone know how to get it in Australia or another similar product?

    [Reply]

  2. Shelley

    09/30/2013

    Hi Andrea, I have a question. Do you only use Oxy Clean for your Laundry? Or do you use Oxy clean + other detergent? Do you use softener?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I use Oxiclean as you would use spot treatment — so I just dump a scoop in along with whatever regular detergent or bleach I’m already using. I don’t use fabric softener.

    [Reply]

  3. mickie

    12/16/2013

    I am also in the non-sorting camp. I only separate out whites/towels if I’m going to bleach them. In 25 years of doing laundry, I’ve had maybe one or two episodes of bleeding – and they were both with new items (sorting new dark jeans for the first wash is a good idea). Makes life easier! My bottleneck is always at putting clothes away. I wash about one load a day, and don’t fold the kids’ clothes or kitchen towels – I just sort them into “their” baskets in the laundry room, and fold big towels and grownup clothes.

    [Reply]

  4. Pascale

    01/14/2014

    Hi Andrea,

    When I told my husband that you don’t pre treat anything and use OxyClean, he was asking if you could do that when using a natural detergent such as 7th Generation.

    He was also asking which laundry detergent you use.

    By the way, thank you for all the other answers you gave me. I tried to reply to your email, but saw that it was a no reply email.

    Thank you.
    Pascale

    [Reply]

  5. Alex

    02/26/2014

    Amen! I thought I was a disgrace to domestic life. I just need more motivation to out it away :(
    Just discovered your blog. Love it

    [Reply]

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