Washing, drying, and ironing clothes is a job that not many people enjoy, but we all have to make time for. So, what if there were a few ways to cut down your cleaning time with little effort required?
When it comes to saving time, living in a bustling city can have its ups and downs.
For instance, while everything is open at more convenient times, you’re much more likely to experience unpredictable delays, like a really long queue or gridlock traffic.
As these setbacks can knock you off schedule at the drop of the hat, there’s a good chance you’re always on the lookout for new ways to save time so you can deal with whatever urban life throws at you.
Doing the laundry is one of the most time-consuming chores that we all have to deal with on a regular basis.
In fact, the average Brit spends around 102 minutes per week and 88.4 hours a year washing their clothes, according to research by London Cleaning System.
With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favourite laundry hacks to help you cut down on the time spent in front of the washing machine or ironing board.
Tackle spills as soon as possible to prevent stains
Having to deal with stains is one of the most time-consuming laundry problems around, so keeping them to a minimum can be a real time saver.
Tackling spills quickly is the best way to avoid them from setting and staining your clothes, so be sure to react in a timely manner if you spill that glass of red wine or drop a dollop of greasy food down your front.
As well as reacting quickly, taking the right course of action is important.
Ideally, you’d treat a stain with the right solvent as soon as possible, but this isn’t always possible, especially if you’re out and about. Applying water is the next best thing, but be sure to dab at the area gently that you don’t scrub, which will make it worse.
You should also try to keep stains away from heat sources, as they can speed up how it bonds with fibres.
Reduce your washing frequency
Did you know that some clothes don’t need to be washed every time you wear them? Simply finding out which garments can go without is a hack in itself, as it will reduce the size of your washing load.
Trousers, jeans, and sweaters are three items that many people tend to wash too often — sweaters and trousers can go about five wears without needing attention, while jeans can go one to two months without needing to be cleaned.
You can also reduce your washing frequency by spritzing clothing with diluted white vinegar, as it’s a natural disinfectant that will remove unwanted smells from garments.
Get yourself a spray bottle and mix equal parts vinegar and water, then spritz the inside of any clothes that need attention. Don’t worry about that vinegar-y smell lingering, it will dissipate as the material dries.
Add a fluffy towel for quick drying
Looking for a way to speed up drying clothes in your tumble dryer? Try putting a fluffy, thick towel in with your next load and you’ll definitely see a difference in how quickly your load is done.
There’s one secret to this method, though: you must remove the towel about 15 minutes into the cycle. This is because the towel will absorb a lot of the liquid in this time window, but much longer and it will start adding to the moisture to the dryer.
Take care of wrinkles without the ironing board
If one of your least favourite chores is getting out the ironing board and working your way through that pile of clothes, you’ll be glad to know that there are a few ways you can cut down.
Firstly, with many garments, like shirts and trousers, if you hang them up damp after a wash the wrinkles will naturally drop out and you may not need to iron them afterwards.
If you have any clothes with annoying creases in one small area, why not try using a pair of hair straighteners to give them a mini-iron, rather than breaking out the full kit?
This can be handy if you are in a rush.
There is also a slightly stranger technique for linens and 100% cotton garments. It involves placing a few ice cubes in the dryer with them, which will then turn into steam and reduce the creases so there isn’t as much ironing to do afterwards.
Dry your wet shoes with newspaper
Living in the UK means we’re blessed with very unpredictable weather, so you can leave the house when it’s sunny wearing your favourite canvas plimsols, only to get stuck in a downpour and left with some very wet shoes.
However, before you throw them in the washing machine or leave them to air for days on end, consider stuffing them with some newspaper to soak up some of that moisture overnight.
With this easy hack, you can get your shoes swiftly back into action.
Take my advice on board and you will be able to cut your washing time right down, giving you more time to deal with your day-to-day life in the city.
Angie Tang is Head of Operations at Laundrapp, an online laundry and dry-cleaning service. She’s also a busy city dweller who loves the hustle and bustle of working and living in London.