If you’re like most people, you probably settled into a laundry routine when you started adulting and haven’t looked back since: wash, dry, fold, repeat. Sure, your clothes might be clean. But chances are you’re missing out on opportunities to save time, spare headaches, and make your laundry smell downright sensational—all while saving time and money.
Keep reading to discover 11 of the best laundry hacks your parents never told you about.
From removing stains to releasing wrinkles, you’ll wish you would’ve tried these tricks years ago—but there’s no better time to start than now.
1. Soak Your Sweaty Gym Clothes in Vinegar
Letting your sweaty gym clothes sit in a hamper for hours (or days) before washing them is a recipe for foul smells. Luckily, you don’t need to wash them right after you work out. Instead, you can just pre-soak them in vinegar before you’re ready to run a load. This hack gives you a head start for breaking down odors and sweat stains.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Mix half a cup of white vinegar with cold water
2. Add your dirty workout clothes into the solution
3. Let it sit for at least an hour
4. Wash your clothes like you normally would
2. Shorten Your Dry Cycle with Wool Dryer Balls
Hate waiting for your clothes to dry? Toss a few wool dryer balls before starting your dry cycle. They separate the layers of fabric as they tumble together, which boosts airflow to shorten drying time. Dryer balls also soak up excess moisture from your wet laundry, cutting drying time even further.
Bonus: less time in the dryer means less money spent on your energy bill. The U.S. Department of Energy endorses the laundry ball hack, noting that it’s a proven way to cut energy costs.
3. Ditch Liquid Detergent for Laundry Pods
- No mess: You won’t have to worry about sticky spills or leaks
- Pre-measured doses: No more math problems to figure out how much liquid you need per load
- Higher concentration: Laundry Sauce pods are 4x more concentrated than most liquid detergent, so you’ll need less product to get the same cleaning power
4. Use Chalk to Get Rid of Grease Stains
If you thought grease stains spelled a death sentence for clothes, think again. Using chalk is a cheap and easy hack to remove grease or oil stains. It’s porous and highly absorbent, which helps it lift oily residue from your cooking (or eating) mishaps.
Just take a piece of white chalk and gently rub it over the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes, brush it off, and wash it like you normally would. Once it comes out of the washer, the stain should be gone.
5. Remove Wrinkles with Ice Cubes
Whether you’re too lazy to bust out your iron or too short on time, you can quickly remove wrinkles from your clothes by tossing them into the dryer with a couple of ice cubes. This hack creates a DIY steaming effect.
Just place your wrinkled garment into the dryer along with a few ice cubes and run a quick dry cycle on the hottest setting. After a few minutes, your clothes should be wrinkle-free.
6. Air-Dry Your Clothes on a Pool Noodle
Air-drying your clothes, especially outside, is a great way to cut energy costs and preserve the integrity of your fabrics. However, if you hang your clothes on a drying rack, chances are you’ll end up with a big crease you have to iron out.
You can avoid this issue by draping your wet clothes over a foam pool noodle. Cut it to match the length of your drying rack, then cut one side lengthwise, and slip it around the rod.
Pro tip: Air-drying clothes also maximizes the duration of the fragrance from your laundry detergent.
7. Add Scent Booster Beads
Depending on your drying process and water type, the fragrance from your laundry detergent may not last as long as you’d like. That’s where laundry scent boosters come in. These tiny beads infuse your clothes with an extra dash of bold, long-lasting fragrances. All you have to do is sprinkle a capful into your washer and let them work their magic.
Most store-brand scent boosters come in boring fragrances like “Spring Breeze” and “Fresh Linen.” But if you want your clothes to smell irresistible, snag a bottle of Laundry Sauce Advanced In-Wash Scent Booster, which comes in five premium fragrances:
8. Keep Your Socks in a Mesh Bag
Losing socks is a laundry epidemic. One study found that the average person loses a sock every month. Rather than replacing those stray socks over and over, consider investing in a sock sack. This can be a mesh laundry bag or any other washable bag.
Hang it near your hamper, toss in your dirty socks when you take them off, and throw the whole bag into the wash on laundry day. This ensures your socks always stay together. Further, it prevents them from getting stuck between the folds of other items, which interferes with the cleaning process.
9. Use Vinegar on Fabrics That Aren’t Compatible with Fabric Softener
Liquid fabric softener leaves your clothes feeling silky smooth—but it’s not compatible with everything in your hamper. For example, microfiber towels, sportswear, and other moisture-wicking items shouldn’t be washed with fabric softener, since it interferes with their ability to soak and repel liquid.
As an alternative, you can run a quick wash cycle with a half-cup of distilled white vinegar. Since vinegar is mildly acidic, it will neutralize the pH levels in your washing machine and prevent your laundry detergent from stiffening the fibers of your clothes.
Vinegar also counteracts hard water and prevents mineral deposit buildups that make clothes feel rough and stiff.
10. Unshrink Your Clothes with Baby Shampoo
If you accidentally shrunk your favorite shirt, it’s not a lost cause. All you’ll need to restore it is a bit of baby shampoo, which helps relax the fibers of the garment.
Start by filling your sink with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of baby shampoo. Soak the shrunken garment for about 20 minutes, then gently stretch the fabric back to its original size. Finish by rinsing the garment with cool water to remove the shampoo and let it air-dry.
This hack isn’t foolproof, but it’s worth a try for cotton or wool items.
11. Save Money by Washing with Cold Water
Washing your laundry with hot water isn’t just unnecessary, it’s inefficient and expensive.
Nearly all of the energy (about 90%) you use for a load of laundry is spent heating the water up. By switching to cold water, you can save hundreds of dollars per year on energy costs—and your clothes will be just as clean.
Bonus: Washing with cold water can help your household eliminate 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the Cleaning Institute.
Laundry Sauce Is the Ultimate Laundry Hack
We covered a ton of clutch laundry hacks here, but the most important one of all might be swapping your jug of neon sludge for Laundry Sauce: the world’s best-smelling laundry detergent.
Nobody ever got a compliment for smelling like “spring breeze” or “April fresh.” But when you start saucing your clothes with Siberian Pine or Indonesian Patchouli, you’ll be turning heads everywhere you walk.
Snag the Laundry Sauce Signature Package to save 10% and upgrade your whole laundry routine.
Pro tip: Always check your garment’s care labels and wash instructions before trying the laundry hacks we mentioned. We’ve tried these tips ourselves, but results can vary.