Life as a military wife and mother

Laundry 101 February 3, 2011

Ok, I only have 2 adults and 1 kid in my house but I have TONS of laundry! And having a husband who likes to work on cars and motorcycles seems to make a normal amount DOUBLE! Because of this, and the fact I can’t eat a meal without dropping something on myself, I have learned how to keep the clothes their best looking and freshest smelling. This will be a few different posts as there is LOTS of information I can share, especially when I get into different stain removals. For today though, here are some basics that we don’t always think about and some time-saving tips.


Sort your clothes! This will save you SO MUCH TIME! And you don’t need anything fancy. You can get small laundry baskets for $2 at Wal-Mart. I use a bin for Whites (that I will add a whitening agent to), one for Light colors, one for dark colors, and one for towels and sheets (even though I don’t wash these together).

Do NOT try to do all your laundry one day a week. That is crazy and actually not very good for the motors of your washer and dryer. They need a break to cool off in between. Instead shoot for 1 (or 2) loads every day. It only takes a minute to toss them in the washer then the dryer, and I can fold a load  AND put it away in under 10 mins. As Flylady says: “A Load a Day Keeps CHAOS Away.” I start a load every morning as soon as I get up, and throw it in the dryer. As soon as the dryer buzzes i take it out and fold it and put it away. If you forget and leave stuff in the washer or can’t hear your dryer buzz, set your stove or microwave timer to remind you to do it. If you work outside of the home, maybe this is something easier done as soon as you walk in the door.

When you take off your clothes here are a few things to remember to do:

  • Turn everything right side out
  • Button buttons
  • Hook bras
  • Zip Zippers
  • Tie sashes, cords, straps, etc
  • Check pockets
  • Take off pins, etc.
  • Repair tears so they don’t rip more

Doing these things will help keep yours clothes from snagging or buttons from coming off, or accidentally washing that bright red lipstick with your white jacket!

As for stains, I love using the SHOUT gel because you can leave it on for up to 7 days. So I can spot something BEFORE it goes in the laundry basket. If I don’t use that or know it’s more stubborn, I have a small bin on my shelf that I throw it into to remember to pretreat it before I launder it. ALWAYS do a fabric test when spot treating something!


There are lots of stains that are pretty common and I can tell you lots of ways to get them out! I LOVE using more natural products and things I have around the house as stain removers instead of buying a bunch of stuff. Remember to check if the stain is gone BEFORE you dry. MUCH harder getting out stains that have gone through the dryer. Here are some of my favorites:

For General Spotting, and Grass Stains: Mix one part rubbing alcohol (at least 70% alcohol), and 2 parts water in a bottle. Spray or dab on the stain. For really stubborn stain I sometimes use straight alcohol on a Q-tip (Thanks for the tip Aunt Shayne!) but test for color fastness first!

For greasy stains: Straight dawn dish detergent on the spot, leave for 30 minutes, and rinse in the hottest water allowed on the fabric care label.

Blood, milk, baby stains and sweat stains: 1 part ammonia, 1 part liquid dishwashing soap, 1 part water. Put on the spot and Flush with water. Repeat if necessary.

These are just a FEW! I’ll be sharing many more as I continue this thread.


The last thing I’ll share today is ways to get around the EXPENSIVE laundry detergent. This is really useful if you don’t coupon. A great laundry detergent recipe that is super cheap and EASY (and GREEN!) is here:

1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax

1 Box of Washing Soda (find at the grocery store)

Mix it together in a container and use 2 tbsp (Yes that’s IT!) for a large load. I especially love this for sheets and towels.

A great fabric softener is just a cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle (No this will not make your clothes smell!) I use this in the summer. In the winter I need something to combat static electricity better though and I don’t like using fabric softener in the wash because our water is really hard and it sometimes doesn’t dissolve well. So here is a better alternative:

1 1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup cheap hair condition (like V05) in your favorite scent

3 cups water

put in Spray bottle and spray on cloth (I use flannel from a ripped up pair of Matt’s old PJ bottoms) and Throw in the dryer

I DO NOT USE COMMERCIALLY MADE DRYER SHEETS! Read this article and you can see ALL THE CHEMICALS in dryer sheets that get transferred to your clothes and onto your skin (and your BABIES SKIN!)

So that is a good start for now. I will keep writing about this. I would LOVE to hear your laundry questions or tips! Leave me a comment 🙂


One Response to “Laundry 101”

  1. JC Says:

    I’ve saved this post to my Google Reader and plan to use it frequently. Thanks for all of the tips!

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