Parenting Hacks: Streamlining Your Laundry Routine

Upon Request: Laundry

Styling cute flat-lays and seeing that nostalgia-hit smile might be my favorite parts of this business, but there’s an unseen, less glamorous piece of the process that comes before all the fun stuff: LAUNDRY. For me, one of the biggest shocks of becoming a parent was the amount of laundry it involved. Add to that the one thousand pieces of inventory I’ve processed over the past year and a half (I keep track!) and I am doing laundry 100% of the time. At this point, I’ve got a process, best practices, and ways to optimize effort and keep clothes looking better longer. This is just what works best for me, so please take from it what you like, and let me know if you’ve got ideas to share with me! There are affiliate links included in this post, but every single one of them is for something I have and use and love and you can probably just pick up at the grocery store. 

To start, let me gush about my washer and dryer . If you’re considering replacing your set, I cannot recommend Speed Queen highly enough. Manufactured for over 100 years just outside my Wisconsin hometown, they’re objectively the best in the biz. They make most of the commercial machines you see (or don’t see) and the TC series washer (the C is for Classic) is a no-nonsense, top-loading washer with an agitator that does the job and does it well. They are reliable, long lasting, serviceable, and available with great warranties. Nuff said. 

On to products and processes. As a new mother, I gave cloth-diapering a shot. It ended up not being for us because I love to get out of the house, and cloth-diapering on the go is a level up I wasn’t willing to challenge myself with. BUT, I learned SO MUCH about laundry during this phase. Two of my favorite resources were (and continue to be, for all kinds of cleaning info) the Facebook group Laundry Love and Cleaning Science and the Instagram account GoCleanCo . If you are a nerd like me, you’re welcome.

My typical laundry routine is powdered tide , wash on cold, add a color catcher if there’s anything new (or new-to-me), and a scoop of powdered oxyclean if anything is actually dirty. I air dry some vintage and high resale value items, but most things go into the dryer on medium heat.

For most stains, my go-to is oxyclean max force spray followed by a soak in a bucket of water with a scoop of oxyclean powder. I’ll soak until I start the next load of laundry, later that day or the next. After a wash, I always check stained items to make sure the stain is out before putting in the dryer. Heat sets stains, so THE most important thing is to never put your stained items in the dryer. You can keep working on that stain as long as it doesn’t get heat set! 

For greasy stains (like chocolate or cooking oil), the stain protocol is a bit different. Blue dawn (a little goes a long way) and hot water. I pretreat immediately with a few dots of blue dawn and work in with my fingers and usually just let sit on top of the washing machine until the next load. If it’s a big or bad greasy stain, i’ll soak the treated stain in hot water. 

For whites that need some love, I like Oxyclean white revive and hot water if I’m not too concerned about shrinkage. Although I do keep bleach and use it very occasionally (like for a big stain on white jeans), it actually breaks down the optical brighteners most modern whites are dyed with and makes them dingier. 

My secret weapon is lingerie bags . I like to throw my stained items I’m working on, or any delicate or special items that need to avoid the dryer, into a bag before putting in the washer. This helps me remember (or tells my husband) that these things need special attention when switching loads! These bags also help keep things from getting twisted and wrung in the dryer so are useful for items that need a little special care but let’s be honest, are not getting a special delicate cycle by themselves.

My last (free!) tool is sunlight! Sunlight is a powerful stain remover and works especially well on dingy vintage items and breast milk spit up stains (which sometimes magically reappear after some time). A good stint in the sun can do wonders for whites as well. Just be careful with colors because too long in the sun can fade them. 

One last note is that while I do make an effort to use more natural products and avoid synthetic fragrances in my home, sometimes I just go with what WORKS. Everything mentioned above is a result of that mindset. Happy laundering! 

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