How to really wash clothes

There’s a lot of laundry in our house. There’s probably a lot of laundry in everyone’s house, but I only wash clothes once a week so it really looks like a lot in ours.

I realize that some people wash clothes every day. Good for them. I can’t do that. I have too much ‘life’ going on to be adding to my day with laundry! I’d much rather use large machines and good detergent less often than a small machine and okay detergent every day. I also think that washing like colours together is important and if I did laundry every day I would not have enough ‘like’ items to wash them together. So where my method may not be perfect, our clothes are really clean and I’m not bogged down doing laundry. So I’d like to share my top tips with you:

 Buy FOUR pop up landry baskets. They are inexpensive and make great sorting stations. (They are also really easy to hide when not in use as they store flat.) If you have a laundry room or lots of space in your home, opt for the nicer kind and get a laundry sorting center station. [See photo.] I think those are brilliant but sadly I do not have a laundry room or any place to keep anything like that. So I use pop-ups.

Four is important. You see, it’s because you need one for WHITES, LIGHTS, COLOURED and DARKS. Don’t wash your clothes together. Sure, sure you can use those colour catching strips, but that’s just to stop the ink leaking. Different textures cause other problems like lint balls, etc. So don’t do it. And different colours require different detergents. So wash like colours together.

Throw your week’s laundry on the floor. Sort it into the colours and put them in the pop ups. I’ve labelled my pop up baskets and make Jack sort and put them in for me. It’s a great chore for kids to do and he takes great pride in being helpful. It’s something he can do all by himself. I also think it’s inavaluable for him to see how much effort goes into doing laundry. It makes him moer conscientous about keeping his clothes clean.

Always wash light to dark to give a bit of distance between any bleach being in your machine before the darks go in. So start with your whites! Throw the items in one at a time, briefly looking them over. Quickly spot treat any items with Vanish spray or equivellent. Turn anything knit or fleece inside out. Anything super dirty hold back and wash with the second load. Let the stains soak with spray on solution followed by an oxy powder right on top of the spray, such as Vanish powder. Got that? Spray it wet, then saturate with powder on the same spot, leave it to sit. This will remove the tough stains. There are two varieties of Vanish Oxi powder, white and colours. I keep both and use them accordingly.

I don’t believe in using cheap laundry detergent. As much as I love the pound store, I willnot buy detergent there. Cheap detergents ruin clothes. The stains don’t come out and the colours fade. Just don’t do it. Spend the money and get the good stuff, meant for your load.

Do not ever over-fill your machine. Clothes need to agitage so a half full machine is as full as you want to fill it. The more clothes in, the less clean they will all come out. Remember that!!

For white loads, I put in:

  • 2 scoops of Vanish White
  • 1 glug of good quality liquid detergent
  • 1 glug of fabric softener
  • 2 calgon tablets [we live in a hard water area.]
  • 5 minutes into the load, after it has filled with water: 1 cup of thick bleach

For lights or darks I put in:

  • 1 scoop of Vanish for colours [too much of this stuff will fade your clothes. Turn darks inside out if concerned.]
  • 1 glug of good quality liquid detergent
  • 2 calgon tablets
  • 1/2 glug of fabric softener [It breaks down fabrics so could fade colours, use sparingly here.]

For colours I put in:

  • 3/4 cup of Vanish for colours
  • 1 glug of good quality detergent
  • 1 colour catcher [darks can run]
  • 2 calgon tablets
  • 1/2 glug of fabric softener [It breaks down fabrics so could fade colours, use sparingly here.]

I dry most clothes in the dryer. I’m not a fan of clothing line dry clothes or radiator dry. I want my laundry to be soft and this creates the opposite effect. I do line dry things that should be stiff, such as linen clothes, table linens and

When the clothes are dry:

 Use the same baskets to bring the clothes back to the rooms they belong in. I take the steaming laundry out of the dryer and I DO NOT fold it on the spot. I quickly sort them by room and bring them to that space and dump them on the bed [ for our clothes] the chair [towels in the bathroom] and counter [for kitchen towels and potmits.] In a perfect world everything would be folded as it came out of the dryer but it’s just not realistic for us. Buy sorting to the right rooms and putting them in the way, i.e. middle of the bed, it forces us to fold them next time we are in that space–and by not confining them to the basket unfolded it keeps the clothes from getting wrinkled.

If you have time to fold them from hot, good for you. Go for it. It’s just never going to happen in our house! But I do know that if I bring the clean laundry to the right room and put it in the middle…it will get folded and put  away the next time we are in that room doing something else. Laundry is a great multi-tasking chore. The few times that I’ve folded it neatly from dryer and placed in a basket, it has sat in that basket folded for days. It never gets put away. Not good!

* If you have a smaller washer/dryer do everything you can to replace them and upgrade to a larger set. Larger doesn’t mean more expensive. I paid the same for my 16 kilo machines that my neighbour across the road paid for her 7 kilo machines. It’s about space. Walk around your home and figure out where you can put a big set. It’s very much worth it!! Mine are tucked under then kitchen stairs. I love love love my washer and dryer. From Costco, of course!


  1. Allie says:

    Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it

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