Laundry Tips for Busy Parents
Experts come clean on how they get it done quickly and painlessly.
They run small loads, often.
The experts agree: Dealing with all the week’s dirties in a single session is not the way to go. Instead, fit laundry into random spare minutes that are hiding in your daily routine.
After Hartford’s kids have taken their baths, she throws in a load at night, then moves it to the dryer first thing the next morning while she’s making coffee. “You only need to find two to five minutes here and there to keep it moving, versus hours each weekend to get through everything that built up,” she says.
They use settings to their advantage.
“I work all week, so the last thing I want to do over the weekend is laundry, but I’m not a fan of running the machines when I’m out of the house or asleep,” says Forte. That’s why she swears by the delay start function found on most washers these days: “Set it up in the morning to start as soon as you get home. It streamlines the whole process.”
The Good Housekeeping Institute’s lab pick: Miele TwinDos Washing Machines. The front-load washing machine (a GH seal holder!) is WiFi-connected, so you can set it and monitor progress regardless of where you are. Meanwhile, the QuickIntenseWash program takes under an hour and “works really well for particularly soiled loads or when you’re in a rush,” Forte found during lab testing.
Saratova is a fan of Miele washers and dryers, too: “I always run a cool prewash first to avoid setting stains and wash using fairly hot water,” she says. “An extra spin cycle can really help shorten drying times.”
They reconsider sorting.
Forte keeps it simple by separating only two ways: darks from lights, and lighter-weight clothes from heavier ones. She collects everything in one hamper, then divides into piles in the laundry room.
They save money by using the *exact* right amount of detergent.
Ideally, with each and every load, you’re taking into account the kinds of fabrics, amount of laundry, and degree of dirtiness you’re dealing with. So while you can try to figure out the optimal products and doses yourself each time, you could also just let the machine figure it out for you…
Miele’s TwinDos washing machine calculates how much and what type of detergent to dispense based on the cycle you’re running. You read that right: You don’t have to measure or even decide what detergents to use. Once you tell it how hard your water is, the machine determines which cleanser cartridges to use, including gentle formulas for fabrics like wool and laundry boosters including whitening agents, fabric softeners, fragrance or activewear finishing treatments.
“It takes the guesswork and the extra step of measuring out of your routine,” says Forte—not to mention cutting down on excessive detergent use by 30 percent.
They only fold what they have to.
Rapinchuk hangs up most shirts in the closet and preps them like an assembly line: “I lay them all out stacked on a bed or flat surface, place a hanger in the first, fold it down, place a hanger in the next, fold it down, and repeat.”
“We stopped folding things like the kids’ socks,” she adds. “They all go in a bin in the top drawer, next to another bin with their undies. If you buy the same types of things, all you need to do is grab and go.”