Home & Garden

Expert laundry tips you’ll wish you knew sooner

Expert laundry tips you’ll wish you knew sooner

Keep your clothes cleaner, your home greener and your electricity bill low with these expert laundry tips.

By Anna-Kaisa Walker, Reader’s Digest Canada

Go scent free

A 2011 study found that fragranced products cause dryer vents to emit seven compounds that contain hazardous air pollutants and two that are carcinogenic.

Choose products wisely

Even “unscented” brands may not be what they purport to be. “Unscented detergents can still contain fragrances to mask chemical smells,” says Lindsay Coulter, the David Suzuki Foundation’s green-living expert.

Try your hand at DIY

If you want to avoid mystery ingredients, make your own detergent. The David Suzuki Foundation recommends using ½ cup per load of a mixture of two teaspoons of salt, two tablespoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of liquid Castile soap and one litre of hot water.

Nix the essential oils

Don’t scent homemade detergent with essential oils. Some dryers heat up to about 57˚C, which is above the flashpoint for some essential oils.

A little vinegar goes a long way

If your towels are musty, add a cup of white vinegar or a cup of baking soda to your wash load (but not both at once).

Watch out for microfibres

Your fleece jacket made from recycled bottles likely contains microfibres – pollutants that account for 35 per cent of microplastics in the world’s oceans. “With every wash, your garments are shedding microfibres that end up in waterways and eventually in the food chain,” says Coulter. Special fibre-trapping bags can help keep them out of the drain.

You don’t always need chlorine

Instead of using chlorine bleach, disinfect your clothes by line drying. Sunlight’s ultraviolet rays are effective at killing bacteria in fabrics. Bonus: they’re free.

Don’t overuse detergent

Using more detergent won’t make clothes cleaner. Over time, excess detergent can build up and cause smelly residue inside your machine. Use the least amount of detergent possible – start with half the recommended amount, and if your clothes still come out clean, you can try reducing even further.

Clean your lint tray

Lint buildup in the filter and vents is a primary cause of the dozens of fires started by dryers every year in Toronto, says Papeo. “Empty your lint tray before every load and vacuum the filter and inside the trap from time to time.”

Your socks really are going missing

The real “sock monster” responsible for your missing hosiery? Your washing machine. Small items can slip past the rubber gasket on a front-loading washer, and get trapped underneath the drum. If you’re suspicious, get a pro to investigate, and wash all your socks in a mesh bag to prevent disappearances.

Photos: Reader’s Digest

This article originally appeared on Reader’s Digest



Our Partners