7 Genius Laundry Hacks Using Common Household Items

The average American spends anywhere from five to 17 minutes each day doing laundry. Over time, those minutes add up. Make the most of every moment with these seven smart laundry hacks meant to save you time, money and maybe even a trip to the store.

  1. Alcohol: The solvent power of rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer make them great homemade stain removers for inks and dyes. Simply saturate the stain, wait 10 minutes and wash.
  2. Baking soda: Baking soda naturally lifts stains from fabrics. Make a general stain remover by mixing four tablespoons of baking soda with ¼-cup water. Use to pretreat underarm stains or ring around the collar. For set-in spots or tough-to-lift stains like rust or fresh grease, let baking soda mixture set for three hours before washing. You can also freshen laundry by adding one cup of baking soda to your wash along with your favorite detergent.
  3. Salt: Nothing makes clothes look dated like faded color. Keep darks dark and colors bright with table salt. Set the color in new garments by adding ½-cup salt to your load during the initial wash. Keep colors from fading by adding one tablespoon salt along with your favorite detergent to subsequent loads. Salt also makes a great homemade stain remover—especially for grease. Sprinkle on fresh grease stains and the salt will lift the oils right out of the fabric. 
  4. Vinegar: Out of fabric softener? Skip the store and opt for vinegar instead. It naturally softens fabrics without leaving behind residue, plus it brightens, whitens and keeps clothes smelling fresh. Simply add one-half cup distilled white vinegar during your final rinse cycle.
  5. Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is another alternative to store-bought fabric softener. Just crumple a sheet of foil into a ball about the size of a baseball and toss it into the dryer as you would a sheet of fabric softener. Aluminum foil can cut down on ironing time, too. Remove your ironing board cover, line the board with foil and replace the cover. The foil will reflect heat from your iron onto the underside of the garment eliminating the need to iron the other side.
  6. Ice cubes: Speaking of ironing, Erma Bombeck said it best: “My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.” Avoid ironing altogether with this easy laundry hack. Toss wrinkled clothing in the dryer along with a couple of ice cubes and run the dryer on the warmest possible setting. The steam created by the heat and ice will smooth out stubborn wrinkles. Ice cubes can also be used to remove gum from fabrics. Place ice directly on the gum, wait a few minutes for it to harden, then peel away.
  7. Tennis balls: Using tennis balls in the dryer can help fluff up bulky items like comforters, pillows and down jackets. This trick also reduces dry time, cuts down on wrinkles and static, and softens fabric. Simply toss a couple tennis balls (unused only) in your dryer and dry as usual. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to the balls for a fresh clean scent. 

Want to make the most of your time spent in the laundry room? One or all of these genius laundry hacks will help you save time and money.