Men Today

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Laundry shortcuts to try

Laundry is a chore few people enjoy. All that sorting, washing, drying and folding can be time-consuming.

But laundry is a chore you simply cannot ignore. Fortunately, there are ways to cut down on the amount of time and effort that goes into doing laundry.

* Get more out of your wardrobe. Reducing your laundry load often means getting more wear out of clothes before they end up in the hamper. However, there are some who may cringe at the thought of wearing dirty clothes. But just how "dirty" are they? In 2009, a college student and one of his professors conducted their own experiment to test just how much  bacteria would be on a pair of jeans he wore consistently without washing. Canadian college student Josh Le wore a pair of jeans for 15 months straight without washing them and took a sample for bacteria. He then compared that sample to one taken after wearing the same pair of jeans for just 13 days in a row, which is the average duration a person wears a pair of jeans before washing them. After a bacterial swabbing of both pair of jeans, there did not appear to be any differences in the amount of bacteria on the jeans at both intervals. In fact, most of the bacteria came from Le's skin. While wearing clothes for a year before washing would be extreme, many clothes can be worn a few times before they need to be laundered.

* Sort before washing. Purchase a sorting hamper that enables you to sort clothes into lights, darks and delicates so you will not have to do the sorting at the time of washing.

* Use "pod" type laundry detergent. Pre-measured laundry detergent pods contain just the right amount of detergent needed for most loads. Rather than measuring and pouring, you can pop in a pod and go.

* Don't overload the washer or dryer. If you fill up the washing machine or dryer to the brim, you might feel as if you can fit more clothes into every load and save time. But that's not the case, as the washing machine or dryer may not adequately wash or dry your clothes if it's too full. You may end up having to run another cycle, which will take longer.

* Rinse stains when they happen. Use some cool water to dilute stains and apply a pre-treater. In so doing, your clothing item can sit around for a day before washing without forcing you to spend time fighting a stubborn stain that won't wash out.

* Add a dry bath towel to the dryer. Include a dry bath towel when machine drying a damp load of clothes to make clothes dry more quickly. Some say putting a tennis ball in the dryer also will help fluff the clothes and make them dry faster.

* Remove clothes promptly. To avoid a big ball of wrinkled clothes, take them out of the dryer when they're done. When you forget to remove clothes right way, rerun the load for a few minutes with a damp towel inside to loosen wrinkles.

* Get organized. A more organized laundry space can cut down on the time it takes to wash and dry clothes. Have racks for hanging delicate garments and shelves for folding and sorting.

* Play catch-up. If clothes have piled up and you simply have not had the time to get to them, drop them off at a nearby laundromat. Many have wash-and-dry service for a few cents per pound.