How to Cut Your Laundry Time in Half

With piles and piles of clothes to sort, soak, wash, hang and iron, a mum’s laundry is never done. It seems that as soon as it’s finished you need to start again. So when Shannon Lush, co-author of Speed Cleaning (ABC Books) promised to cut our laundry time in half, we let out an almighty cheer. Here are her top eight laundry-busting tips:

Set up a washing basket system

Shannon advises keeping three to five baskets or plastic crates in your laundry, marked with coloured ribbons, where family members can drop different types of clothes when they’re dirty. Mark each one as: whites; colourfast items; darks; sheets and towels and hand washing. “We keep a hamper in each bedroom and colour co-ordinated baskets in the laundry,” says Shannon. “When one of the baskets in the laundry is full, whoever is there puts a wash on. Then whoever is in there when it’s finished hangs it on the line. It’s a simple way for other people to help. I’m particular about my laundry, but anyone can do this.”

Turn socks the right way out

To save time re-washing socks that go into the machine inside out, train children and family members to turn them the right way around when taking them off. “If you don’t turn them the right way out, they get impregnated with dirt, as it gets stuck in the fibres. Not nice,” says Shannon.

Fit laundry around your daily routine

Shannon explains that one of her friends puts the washing on as she’s going to work and finishes the task when she walks back through the door. “Put the washing machine on as you head out of the door, and transfer the clothes to the dryer when you get home.”

Leave it in the machine

If you don’t empty the washing machine first thing (your two-year-old is decorating her face with lipstick and it’s time to exit) – don’t panic. You have a full 12 hours before that musty smell takes hold.

Great hanging means no ironing

Shannon says properly hung clothes mean no ironing. “When hanging your clothes, your mantra needs to be ‘I hate ironing’, ‘I hate ironing’ and then you’ll find you hang them much flatter. Peg clothes at the strongest part of the fabric – the waistband or seam – and never, ever hang shirts or jumpers by the shoulders.”

Spray and go

Try another Shannon speed cleaning tip with this amazing crease release mixture. “I never iron. I just mix a teaspoon of lavender oil – the cheapest kind available – in a litre of water and mist it over the clothes before wearing them or hanging them in the wardrobe. Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant, so the creases drop out. I always take a spray on book tours and it’s a great one to do on stage – you see the creases disappear before your eyes.”

Super-charge your iron

Another timesaving trick is to beef up your iron and halve your arm power. “If you absolutely have to iron, put some aluminium foil underneath the ironing board cover,” advises Shannon. “You get twice the heat, as it’s reflected back on to the clothes, and you don’t need the iron temperature so high, so you don’t risk burning your clothes.”

Beat dirty birds

If you’re freshly laundered clothes get soiled on the line with – ahem – bird poo, try this speedy hint to stop them at the pass. “This often affects people, depending on where they live and the trees surrounding their washing line,” explains Shannon. “Tying coloured ribbons to the washing line stops birds from hovering above.”

credit: kidspot