Your weekends are likely spent hip-deep in chores around the house. Some of us are the type to dive into a honey-do list. Others are the kind of man with his own list of tasks that must be done between Friday and Monday. Regardless, there is one that you have to get done: your laundry.
Men’s laundry habits are all over the board. Some good and some bad. We have been cleaning our clothes on our own since our parents decided we’re old enough to do it ourselves. Still, it is likely that many of us have been doing it incorrectly in some way.
The first thing we should say is that you already have help. Nearly every garment you buy is going to come with its own cheat code sewn into the inner seam.
Following the directions on the how-to-care tag is the first step to making sure your clothes look great. However, there are some tips and tricks you can use to make your life easier.
They go beyond using the delicate cycle to protect unique fabrics or using specific temperatures to avoid shrinking the garments.
Up The Detergent To Battle Hard Water
85% of all Americans have hard water. And while hard water contains some minerals that are great for drinking, it plays Hell on your laundry. Hard water brings with it calcium and magnesium, which can hamper your detergent’s ability to clean the clothes. The best way to combat this is to add a laundry booster.
Much like adding more bleach to your mop water, a laundry booster creates a more potent formula. This works to break through things like hard water or clean more soiled clothing. If you don’t have a laundry booster, that is ok. Just up the amount of laundry detergent you use, and it will do for now.
Turn Dark Clothing Inside Out
When you buy new clothes, one of the best things about it is the color. You may wear vibrant colors that express your personality or a myriad of black and dark grays. But you want to do everything you can to preserve the colors to continue to look your best. There are a few ways to add to men’s laundry processes that can save their color.
The easiest way to protect the hues of your garments is to turn them inside out when you wash them. This process has an added benefit. The detergent has access to the side of the garment that picks up dirt, sweat, and odors from your skin.
Keeping your clothes looking great and the colors vibrant is the number one reason to turn your clothing inside out. Eliminating odor is a great side benefit. Denim companies also recommend this to keep your denim looking brand new for as long as you wear it. Extending the life of every garment in your closet is that easy.
Have you ever opened the dryer door, and the spin motion wrapped your sweatpants, joggers, or gym shorts around everything else in the machine? Drawstrings are a wonderfully helpful feature for pants that you can’t wear a belt with, but they can be a massive pain in the butt in the laundry.
Not only can they wrap up plenty of other garments that keep them from getting cleaned properly, but they can also slide out of the garment altogether.
Have you ever lost the drawstring in a pair of shorts and still worn them? Us either. An excellent trick to keep these things from happening is to tie the drawstrings together before dropping them into the wash.
It is best to recheck them before putting them in the dryer. This is a small step you can take that will pay massive dividends by never losing out on a hoodie, gym shorts, or jogger again.
Use Baking Soda To Combat Smells
Men smell. We work hard, and we work long hours. We get dirty, and we sweat. Our clothes don’t just protect our bodies from the elements. They also absorb the grime and sweat from our skin to keep it dry and temperature-regulated.
The flip side of that benefit is the clothing can get pretty rank. No matter how much you pay for the laundry detergent, it won’t work miracles with your smelly clothing. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the washer with your detergent; removing those pesky odors from your wardrobe will do wonders.
You can also use a detergent booster, which not only gets rid of odors but also infuses them with something a little more pleasant, like lavender or something else. Anything is better than how your gym clothes smelled when you dropped them in your gym bag.
You can also put the rest of that box of baking soda on the shelf in the laundry room to keep the overall smell of the entire space under control.
Keep The Load Light
If you grew up like us, you had a father or mother who walked around your house and turned off unused lights, checking the thermostat’s setting, and a dozen other ways of saving money. In the interest of saving money, we were all trained to stuff as much into the washing machine as possible to get the most out of a load.
Since then, men’s laundry doctrine dictated that no space shall remain unfilled. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but if you want to be as efficient as possible with your laundry, keep the loads lighter.
The larger the load of laundry, the harder it is for the detergent to reach every thread of the garments. Add to that the harder it will be for the clothes to dry during the next part of their journey.
Put in fewer clothes, and your parents will get a little annoyed that you’re wasting water, but you’ll lessen the chance that you will have to rerun the load.
Use A Mesh Laundry Bag
You know the jokes. You’ve heard the plight of the socks. Every time you do a load of laundry with socks, you run the risk of losing an entire afternoon searching for a long-lost match to the one random sock remaining in the basket at the end.
If you do your wife’s, girlfriend’s, roommate’s, or mother’s laundry along with your own, their bra straps can tie up your clothing like bales of hay in a field. If you put undergarments and socks in a mesh laundry bag, you can keep everything together and limit the possibility of losing socks or tying everything up like a rolled hotel towel.
A mesh laundry bag isn’t going to change your life, but it sure will make many parts of it seem much more manageable.
Add Ice Cubes Or A Damp Towel To Combat Wrinkles
When was the last time you used an iron and an ironing board? Men’s laundry knowledge is moving away from ironing. You can probably find one in every hotel room you stay in when you travel, but you and your friends likely have wholly forgotten where to get one and how to use them.
Many brands know this; hence, we’re seeing more and more “wrinkle-free” fabrics. Of course, regardless of materials or knowledge of the archaic ironing techniques, you need to ensure that you don’t go into the world wearing clothing that looks like they spent months at the bottom of the laundry pile.
Steam is one of the newer ways we have perfected the release of wrinkles. It avoids the possibility of scorching your shirts when you get distracted. And you don’t need a board taking up space in the laundry room.
Dropping some ice cubes in the dryer with your wet clothes will create steam and simultaneously de-wrinkle your wardrobe. If you are running late and your shirt is wrinkled, tossing it in the dryer for a few minutes with a damp cloth does the same thing for you.
Fold Your Laundry
Men work so hard and spend long hours chasing the titans of industry. We have a tendency to procrastinate on some of the less critical tasks around the house. Our Sundays spent watching football can’t be interrupted by folding the laundry you spent all weekend washing.
However, the longevity of your clothes depends on you biting the bullet and folding or hanging your laundry. Many of us have two laundry baskets, one for dirty and one for clean. Resist the urge to live out of a laundry basket for a week until you have to do laundry again.
Instead, finish the task and keep your clothes put away and wrinkle-free. Creating better men’s laundry habits saves clothes and clutter.
Our attire sends a message about who we are to all those around us. Our wardrobe is an extension of our personality, which means we need to spend a little time taking care of them to the best of our ability.
Follow these laundry tips, and you will keep your clothing looking its best for the life of the garment.
Now that you have your tricks to take care of your clothes on a regular basis, you can step up your game and start becoming an expert at removing stains. Keep your colors vibrant, your fabrics wrinkle-free, and your clothes lasting as long as you do.