When it comes to mundane household chores, we think we know what’s what. Everybody assumes they’ve found the speediest, most cost-effective ways to clean their home, cook dinner, and care for their family members (even the furry ones). We get stuck in our ways, using the same detergents, mediocre routines, and appliances for years on end, even if they’re beyond outdated.
But the most miserable days in the dreaded chore cycle is laundry day. Separating colors, fabrics, folding, hanging, drying… we’d just rather not. But since we’d prefer to not walk around wreaking of clothing soaked in ripe body odor, washing clothes is a must. While it’s dreadful, there are ways to make it a bit more bearable.
1. Leaving zippers unzipped: XYZ! Make sure you pull up that zipper before throwing your Levi’s in the wash. You don’t want that jagged metal tearing up your blouses or pilling up your sweaters. Do yourself a favor and save your precious clothes!
2. Not using lingerie bags: No, lingerie bags aren’t only for your delicate lace thongs and, well, whatever that thing is; they can be for any garment you consider to be special. New blouse? Throw it in a lingerie bag for extra protection!
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3. Pouring detergent directly on clothing: Don’t commit this laundry sin! Before you drop that cap of neon blue detergent onto your pile of stinky clothes, start the water. Turning on that familiar waterfall first will allow the sticky soap to distribute evenly.
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4. Over-drying clothes: Unless you want your clothes looking like the wardrobe of an American Girl Doll, we recommend you remove said garments while they’re still damp, reshape them, and lay them out flat to continue the drying process. This also prevents pesky wrinkles.
5. Refusing to use fabric softener: While many people think that fabric softener is just fragrance mumbo jumbo, it actually aids in extending the life of your wardrobe by maintaining the materials’ true colors and preventing pilling.
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6. Leaving shirts buttoned: Yes, yes, we know it’s tedious, but we recommend you unbutton every button on your shirts before you throw them in the wash (don’t forget the sleeve buttons). If not, the washing machine could easily loosen button hole threads.
7. Not cleaning the lint trap: Not only should you be cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap after every load to prevent dryer fires, but you should also be cleaning the dryer duct annually. Safety first, kiddos!
8. Not pre-assessing stains: So you spilled coffee on your favorite white shirt. Don’t panic; the sooner you treat it, the better. Rinse the stain under cold water to prevent it from setting. If the gnarly stain is tough, use a stain remover pronto!
9. Scrubbing Stains: Pat or blot, don’t scrub! Even with the superpowers of Tide to Go, and Shout, scrubbing a stain could actually make the mess bigger, causing the stain to spread. Not only that, it could put tiny tears in the fabric!
10. Using too much detergent: The soapier the wash, the cleaner the clothes, right? Wrong. It turns out that using too much detergent can cause a surplus of suds, which leaves a yucky film coating your stunning wardrobe. Just use the recommended amount.
11. Ignoring machine settings: Those tiny words on your washing machine and dryer are actually there for a reason. The labels inside your clothing are like little instruction manuals on how to care for clothes and which settings to use. Read them, darn it!
12. Not turning clothes inside out: This one’s simple. Washers are pretty powerful, so after many o’ washes, there may be some visible wear and tear on your clothes. Might as well have that slight damage affect the inside of your apparel.
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13. Buying store brand detergent: Okay, so you don’t need to be boujee all the time; go ahead, purchase the store brand Cheerios, but get the name brand detergent. Oftentimes, store brand detergent is loaded with filler rather than supercharged cleansing ingredients!
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14. Too much bleach: While bleach is your BFF when getting armpit sweat stains out of a white T-shirt, too much of it can irritate your skin and make you sick. Use just half a cup of Clorox in a large laundry load.
15. Not sorting clothes: We know it’s a pain in the tuchus to sort your clothing before washing, but you really should. Not only should you sort them by color, but also by fabric. Keep those thick, heavy jeans separate from the chiffon blouses.
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16. Ignoring the “dry clean only” label: Who wants to spend big every time you need a fancy dress cleaned? You spent enough on the garment, why spend more getting it dry cleaned, right? Wrong. Fabrics like silk, suede, and leather, need a professional’s touch.
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17. Throwing loose socks in wash: Be honest with yourself, how many solo, bachelor socks do you have? Probably too many. Save yourself some sock cash and trap your paired socks in a garment bag before throwing them into the ominous washing machine.
18. Using dryer sheets: While the word “dryer” is in the name, we don’t recommend you use dryer sheets when drying your clothes. Their chemical components have been linked to cancer, and they’re just not necessary. Use reusable wool dryer balls instead!
19. Not cleaning the washing machine: Believe it or not, the washing machine itself could use a good cleaning every now and again. Front-loading washing machines, especially, are prone to growing mold. Sterilize that baby every few months by using the “cleaning cycle.”
Hey, it’s okay; we’ll forgive you for committing the most heinous laundry sins. While you may have been doing your laundry wrong, it’s possible that you’re committing all kinds of crimes when it comes to cleaning the rest of your house. Hacks to the rescue!
2. Use mineral oil and a cloth to clean grease from your oven and other appliances: It can be difficult to scrub grime from your oven and oven hood, but luckily for you, mineral oil and a cloth will have it spotless in no time.
3. Use Bar Keepers Friend to clean glass shower doors and mirrors in your bathroom: Capable of cutting through the grime from a bar top, this stuff easily tackles trick soap scum.
4. Use a lint roller to pull off dust and other gunk from screens: There’s really nothing more tedious and annoying than trying to pick out dust from a window or door screen. So why not make it easy? Simply use an adhesive lint roller. (You’re welcome.)
5. Use a microfiber mop and some all-purpose cleaner to avoid streaking your floor: If you’ve ever wondered why your mop typically leaves streaks, it’s likely because of your cleaner – try using all-purpose cleaner instead.
6. Use an old pillow case to properly dust ceiling fans in your home: Not only is this much more efficient than using a traditional duster, but the dust will also be trapped inside instead of floating down onto the ground.
7. Use Bar Keepers Friend and a scrubby pad to make burn spots vanish from your pots and pans: Just be sure that you’re only using this multipurpose product on cast iron and stainless steel pans; it will completely ruin non-stick.
8. Rid your shower of mildew by using isopropyl alcohol bleach and a scrub brush: This combo—plus a little elbow grease—will nix that stinky, slimy mildew in no time. Just be sure to wear protective gloves!
9. Rub your shower curtain rod with a sheet of wax paper to help your curtain glide better: If you step into the shower and notice your shower curtain fails to slide open, worry not. This simple fix will have it opening and closing with ease.
10. Use cream of tartar to clean your Keurig machine: Anyone who uses their Keurig on a regular basis knows about the grime build-up at the top. By mixing cream of tartar with water and giving the machine a scrub, you’ll wash all that muck away!
11. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, vinegar, and Dawn dish soap to clean excess grime from your bathtub and shower walls: Coat the entire bathtub and walls in this solution. After 15 minutes, simply scrub it away with your magic eraser.
12. Don’t forget to wash your sink once you’ve finished your dishes: Your kitchen sink can be about as germ-filled as a public toilet, so be sure to clean it once you’re done with your dishes. Best of all, it only takes a little soap and hot water!
13. Use mold-killing primer to nix unsightly and dangerous mold in your home: It’s recommended that homeowners use rubbing alcohol before anything else, but if that doesn’t work, try switching to this product to finish the job.
14. Clean chrome faucets with a sheet of wax paper: Not only does this hack remove tough water spots on your faucets, but it simultaneously gives them a brand new sheen in the process. It’ll look like you got all new fixings every time you clean.
15. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe grime from your oven: It’s pretty easy to just leave that hard-to-remove grime in your oven and continue baking. But with a magic eraser and some elbow grease, getting rid of it won’t be such a daunting task.
16. Rid your bathtub of built-up soap scum by using a sponge and Whink rust remover: Are you embarrassed by the hard water stains on the bottom of your bathtub? This powerful cleaning agent will get rid of the unsightly spots in no time.
17. Remove crayon marks from your walls with Windex and a dishcloth: If your children have been drawing all over your walls, a little Windex, a fresh dishcloth, and all the elbow grease you can muster can make it disappear—until they draw on them again, that is!
18. Clean an electric kettle using water and vinegar: First, you’ll want to bring the solution to a boil. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then pour out the solution and rinse thoroughly. Now you’re ready to make all the tea your heart desires!
19. Fill your toilet brush holder with Pine-Sol to keep it smelling fresh: Many people don’t realize, but one reason their bathroom seems to perpetually stink is because the toilet brush is dirty. It’s quite an easy fix, so long as you have some Pine-Sol!
20. Use hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a scrubby pad to clean grime off the surface of your porcelain sink: Get rid of that unsightly scum in your bathroom sink with this easy cleaning method. It’s cheap and super easy to pull off.
21. Make a large batch of your own all-purpose cleaner by putting concentrated cleanser, like Simple Green, in a reusable spray bottle: Once you learn this easy way to make your own cleaner, you’ll never have to spend money on it again!
22. Clean toilet bowls with Coca Cola: If your toilet or sink is covered in stains and regular cleaners just aren’t doing the trick, then pop open a fresh can of Coke. It’s acidic enough to strip away the filth! (This might make you think twice about drinking it, though.)
23. Clean a messy oven: Cleaning can take an abundance of supplies, but it doesn’t have to. Scrubbing off that baked-on grease in the oven can feel like hard labor. Make the job easier by dumping some salt on a fresh spill. It’ll soak up a ton of that grease and form an easy-to-wipe-away crust. Salt has so many other cleaning uses, too.
24. Stopping a fire: When barbecue flames start acting up or kitchen grease gets a little fresh, smother the flames with a healthy helping of salt. Liberally season the fire until it’s nothing but smoke and ash.
25. Remove stains from the coffee carafe: If sticking your coffee carafe into the dishwasher sounds like a recipe for shattered glass, try doing the cleaning deed with a little salt. Just fill the carafe with ice cubes and a quarter-cup of salt. Let it sit for half an hour, then rinse!
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26. Scrub away pan grease: Pots and pans accumulate grime and grease like you wouldn’t believe and it sometimes feels impossible to scrub it away. Salt can help! Coat the bottom of the pan, and then a few moments later, scrub it all away. (Just make sure it’s a metal pan and not a nonstick one.)
27. Brighten copper pots: Want an easier way to make your copper pots sparkle and shine? Simply add a tablespoon of salt to equal amounts of vinegar and flour to create the perfect natural pot buffer. Voila!
28. Keep apples and potatoes from browning: Oxidized apples might make your breakfast carbs just a little too sweet. Prevent browning by soaking your apples (or potatoes) in salt water. Just remember to wash ’em off before eating them!
29. Test egg freshness: Cracking open a rotten egg can really kill the mood. To avoid this, try putting two teaspoons of salt into a cup of water, then drop in an egg. If it sinks, you’re good to go. If it floats, though, trash it. That thing’s straight rotten!
30. Soak up dried eggs: If you were testing your eggs’ freshness and you dropped it one of them on the floor, have no fear. Sprinkle some salt on top and let it absorb for 20 minutes (if you can stand to let it sit that long). Then come back and wipe it away with ease.
31. Kill ants: Ants invading your kitchen? Let salt rain down upon them from the heavens. Or, you know, just sprinkle a little salt where they like to hang out and that should help deter ’em from coming back.
32. Shell nuts: Unless you have unbelievably powerful hands (you nutcracker, you!) cracking walnut or pecan shells can be a real hassle. Make the process easier by soaking any tough nuts in a bit of salt water first.
33. Remove soapy sink bubbles: Washing dishes with suds rising higher by the second can lead to spills or a lot of bubbly distractions to work around. A pinch of salt on rising suds will reduce the soap to a mere memory—and let you actually see your dishes.
34. Achieve higher peaks: When you whip egg whites and sugar, you tend to create a firm mixture with little curlicues called peaks—this is great for recipes like meringue. With a pinch of salt added to the whites, these peaks will rise higher in less time!
35. Deodorize cutting boards: Kitchen cutting boards can sometimes be neglected in the cleaning department, and when that happens, they start accumulating the flavors—and smells—of everything ever cut atop them. Thankfully, rubbing salt into the board with a lemon will take care of that!
36. Dissolve hand odors: After touching stuff literally all day long, your hands start accumulating some, well… smells. Ditch the soap and grab a handful of salt instead. Scrub with only the salt for a minute, then wash it away. Just like that: clean hands!
37. Eradicate shoe odors: If you think your shoes don’t stink, you’re either lying to yourself, need to see an ENT, or you’re ahead of the curve and already know that a pinch of salt and baking soda left in your shoes overnight takes care of any smell.
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38. Unclog the drain: Ready for a little elementary school throwback? Pour a quarter-cup of salt and a quarter-cup of baking soda down a clogged drain, then add a half-cup of vinegar. You just made a volcano that’ll force any gunk from the drain! Drano? More like no need-o.
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39. Scrub the bathtub: Bathtub cleaning unfolds in three steps—dump chemicals, pass out from the chemical smell, then wake up in a daze and break your back scrubbing. Forget that! Put salt on a grapefruit for a natural scrubber that won’t knock you out.
40. Clean shower curtains: Often more neglected than kitchen cutting boards are shower curtains. Prevent your curtains from becoming mold hotspots by scrubbing them with salt water when they’re fresh out of the packaging.
41. Eliminate carpet stains: You klutz! There you go spilling wine on your off-white carpet again. Don’t panic. First, absorb the bulk of the spill with a sponge and then just unload a pile of salt on the spill. Let it sit—and absorb—for half a day and just wipe it away.
42. Invigorate your skin: Suck gunk right out of your pores by making a sort of paste by mixing warm water and a bit of salt. Gently rub that salty paste onto your face with little circular motions. Let it sit, then wash it away.
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