Our 9 Best Laundry Tips of All Time

These are major time and energy savers.

Natural wool dryer balls for more soft clothes while tumble drying in washing machine concept. Earthly tones, reed decoration. Discharge static electricity and shorten drying time, save energy.
Photo: Helin Loik-Tomson/Getty Images

On the list of least-favorite household chores, we're guessing that doing laundry lands somewhere in the top five. And if you have a large family, it's one of those tasks that never seems to end. Over the years, Real Simple editors have written countless magazine articles and online posts focused on tips to make this tough chore a little more manageable. From a product that cuts down on dryer time, to a method for getting it all done in small chunks of time, here are nine of our favorite ways to make doing laundry faster and easier. Nothing groundbreaking here, just little tricks and simple swaps to step up your laundry routine. Now, if only we could make every cleaning task this pain-free.

01 of 09

Cut Down on Drying Time

Wool Dryer Balls

If it seems like it takes forever for your bath towels to dry, invest in a set of wool dryer balls. When added to a load of laundry in the dryer, they will not only help clothing dry more quickly, but also reduce wrinkles. Bonus: Add a few drops of essential oil and dryer balls will lend a fresh scent to your laundry, serving as a more eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets.

To speed up drying time, you'll also want to avoid overloading the machine. Leave room for the clothing to move freely so the warm air can circulate.

02 of 09

Make Folding Clothes a Cinch

Blue Laundry Folder Tool

What's your least favorite part of doing laundry? If you said folding clothes, then this gadget is for you. Place T-shirts, pants, or sweaters onto the board, then flip the sides to fold the garment into a neat rectangle. Your least favorite chore just got much easier.

03 of 09

Upgrade Your Laundry Basket

Collapsible Fabric Laundry Basket
West Elm

Laundry baskets can be big and bulky, even when they're empty. This clever, collapsible option folds down so it can be stashed away in a closet or cabinet when not in use.

04 of 09

Choose a Shorter Wash Cycle

White Washing Machine with door open
Junos/Getty Images

If you have clothing that's only been worn once or twice and isn't stained, opt for the light setting on your washing machine, which lasts just six to eight minutes. Mary Zeitler, a home economist at the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, recommended this tip years ago, and it has stuck with us ever since.

05 of 09

Skip the Search for Missing Socks

Mesh Laundry Bags
Container Store

Don't waste time hunting for missing socks in the dryer. Instead, grab a couple spacious laundry bags and group all of your socks together. When it's time to fold your clean laundry, it will be easier to match up each pair, and static won't cause spare socks to cling to your pants or bath towels.

06 of 09

Break It Up Into Chunks of Time

Mom and Son Doing Laundry
Rawpixel/Getty Images

If you're tackling multiple loads of laundry at one time, it can take all weekend to complete. Rather than ruin your weekend, break the task up into chunks of time during the week. Dedicate one day to washing sheets, another to light clothing, or if you have several children, do one kid's laundry each day. By the time Sunday arrives, you'll be ready to relax.

07 of 09

Trade in Your Iron for a Steamer

Small Portable Steamer

Pulling out an ironing board and waiting for an iron to heat up can feel like a time-consuming process—especially when you're rushing to get ready in the morning. Order a portable steamer that will release wrinkles quickly so you can make it to work on time. This portable steamer measures just 7 inches tall, so you can even pack it in your luggage or carry-on bag and take it along on your next trip.

08 of 09

Buy Hampers With Built-in Dividers

Divided Seagrass Hamper

Instead of waiting to sort laundry once you have a big, unruly pile, sort it as you go. A divided hamper lets you toss each piece of clothing into categories, so when laundry day rolls around, you can skip the sorting and load the machine right away.

09 of 09

Mark When Clothing Is Ready to Be Washed

Clothes Hanging On Rack At Home in closet
Getty Images

For any pieces of clothing that you wear a couple times before washing, try this system: After you've worn the garment once, hang it back up, but with the clothes hanger facing the opposite direction. The next time you put on that blouse or dress, you'll know you've already worn it once and it's ready to be washed after this wear.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles