The laundry room is one of the hardest-working spaces in the house which means ensuring your storage situation is under control will make a major difference in how you use it. To help you create the laundry room of your dreams, we share some of our favorite tips on how to organize it like the experts.
A place for dirty clothes, cleaning products, pet paraphernalia, and odd socks, your laundry room may not be the most appealing space in your home, but that’s not to say it can’t be.
With a bit of elbow grease and some smart storage solutions, you can turn the most uninviting room in your home into an organized oasis or, at least, a place of organized chaos.
If your laundry room currently resembles a dumping ground, our expert tips and hacks should help you get it (and your life) back in order.
Organizing the Laundry Room
- Throw out any unwanted products that didn’t live up to expectations or find another use for them. For instance, pop detergent into the potting shed for cleaning pots.
- Put powders into clear jars with a wide opening for easy access, such as mason jars, so you can instantly see how much is left.
- Keep products together on a shelf or in a box in order of use. On a shelf, arrange stain remover, soaking powder, detergent, wool wash, softener, and ironing water from left to right. If using a box to store items, arrange the products from front to back.
- Dust-proof drying racks are indispensable for delicates and wet-weather days. Keep them off the floor when not in use by attaching a couple of hooks to a wall. If you have the room, mount a permanent rack.
- If using four laundry hampers side by side for whites, colors, darks, and delicates, it’s impractical space-wise. Have four stackable tubs on hand for sorting laundry. Four stackable tubs will take up little more space than one. Use the tubs again when it comes to folding washing straight from the line and sorting into different tubs according to where the items belong in the house.
Laundry Room Cleaning
You can’t clean clothes in dirty laundry. Keep your space dirt and dust-free with these simple cleaning tips:
- Sweep around machines before vacuuming as far as you can get underneath with an attachment made for vacuuming crevices.
- Wipe down hoses attached to taps.
- Vacuum the back of appliances with a brush attachment to remove any built-up dust.
- Remove the soap dispenser, if possible, and wash it in the sink.
- Wipe down the exterior of appliances with a cloth dipped into a weak solution of water and dishwashing liquid.
- Run a cup of white vinegar through a regular washing cycle to remove internal soap scum.
- Wash ironing board cover.
- Wipe rubber seals around doors with petroleum jelly.
Washers and Dryers
There are generally two types of washing machines on the market: top loaders and front loaders.
Both styles come with various bells and whistles, some of which are extremely impressive. Which machine is right for you is dependant on your particular requirements and budget, but here are the basic pros and cons:
- Front loaders: Front loaders have a much longer cycle, sometimes up to two hours. However, they use much less water. Most clean better than top loaders because laundry tumbles up and down in the drum (rather than round and round), which is also a more gentle action so kinder on clothes. Many models take smaller loads than top loaders, but more large-capacity machines are now available. Front loaders are generally more expensive than top loaders and are also heavy.
- Top loaders: Most top-loaders can take larger loads, have shorter cycles, and items can be added to the wash once the machine has started. On the downside, these machines use more water (up to three times more) and require a greater amount of detergent per load. They also take up much more space, thereby needing a dedicated laundry area.
Whichever style of machine you choose, look for one that has connections for both hot and cold water taps as you can determine whether the water is heated by your machine or your water heater (getting the machine to do the work generally requires more energy and is, therefore, more expensive).
Also look for machines that have start-time programs as you can take advantage of off-peak energy rates where the wash will start at, say, 5 am, and will be ready for the line when you wake.
By their very nature, dryers gobble energy to produce lots of hot air, but most of us still ﬁnd them indispensable at times. Opt for a dryer with auto-sensing features so it stops when the load is dry.
To avoid condensation, choose a dryer that can be attached to a duct so moist air is vented directly outside or go for a condenser model, where the machine deals with the moist air internally. If you have a particularly compact space it might also be worth considering a combined washer/dryer unit.
- Keep a towel in the laundry for gently rolling up hand-washed woollens to remove excess moisture before lying the garment ﬂat to dry.
- Cut back on professional dry-cleaning, which generally involves a chemical solvent known as perc, by brushing garments with a stiff brush and airing outside. Alternatively, try home dry-cleaning kits, such as OzKleen’s Dry Cleaner’s Secret, which works in conjunction with a tumble dryer.
- Zippered mesh bags are great for washing delicates as they keep small items such as lingerie from getting twisted and stretched. A zipper sewn into an old pillowcase will work just as well and prevents bra hooks from getting caught on other items.
- To clean the soleplate of an iron, mix baking soda and water to a thick paste, then scrub with a rough cotton cloth. For non-stick soleplates, use a rough cloth dipped in water mixed with detergent.
- If a wool item shrunk, try soaking it for 15 minutes in a bucket of warm water mixed with a couple of tablespoons of Fuller’s Earth. Lay the garment on a towel and gently stretch back into shape.
- Leave the door of the washing machine open for at least an hour after using to allow the machine to dry internally, which helps prevent mould from forming around seals and keeps the machine smelling fresh.
- Look for detergents labelled ‘low’ or ‘no phosphate’ as too much phosphorus is ﬁnding its way into our waterways and causing algae.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.