Laundry is a pretty boring part of everyday life, but thanks to modern technology, it can be a relatively painless process — especially with some handy laundry hacks on your side. While using most washing machines is as simple as pressing a button, there are still some pretty helpful washing machine hacks out there. Below are our seven top washer hacks, to get you out of laundry jams and make your life a little easier — without sacrificing your wardrobe or breaking the bank in the process.
1. Sanitize your washing machine with vinegar.
Is your washing machine giving off a mildew smell? It might be time to do a thorough sanitizing. First, pour some distilled white vinegar on a towel and carefully scrub down the rubber gasket. Then, set your machine to the hottest, longest setting possible, toss about two cups of vinegar in, and let it run. Repeat as necessary.
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2. Whiten your clothes with this bleach alternative.
If you want your whites to be as pure as snow, but aren't necessarily a fan of bleach, there's an alternative that can be made from common household items. Pour 1/3 cup of distilled white vinegar where the fabric softener softener would normally be added and sprinkle some baking soda on top of it. Run your washer and your whites will be made whiter.
3. Use chalk to pre-treat grease stains.
Grease might be the word, but we hate it on our clothes. If you have a stubborn grease stain that won't come out, search your house for a stick of chalk — it can help destroy the mark. Just rub some chalk on the spot, and it will absorb and lift out the grease. Toss your chalked-up item into the wash and when it emerges, it will be conveniently grease-free.
4. Wash your detergent cap in the washer.
Don't waste your time scraping off the sticky mess that gunks up on your detergent cap. Just toss the whole thing right in the washer every now and again and let it get cleaned alongside your clothes. As long as you make sure the cap doesn't end up in your dryer — and you don't wash it with delicates — you'll be good to go with this laundry detergent cap hack.
5. Use vodka as a quick deodorizer when you've run out of detergent.
Run out of detergent? Skip the washer altogether and fill up a spray bottle with half water and half cheap vodka that's been on your bottom shelf for far too long. Give your lightly worn clothes a spritz to deodorize them prior to a second wear. At some point, you'll have to actually wash your dirty clothes, but a blast of vodka mist can help freshen them up in a pinch.
6. Make sure you’re using detergent pods correctly.
This is less of a hack and more about following instructions, but detergent pods are frequently used incorrectly, hindering their ability to clean your clothes. Don't put them in the dispenser drawer where you would normally pour liquid detergent. Pods need lots of water to dissolve properly, which is why they should be placed at bottom of the washing machine drum before your clothes go in — that's where the water will pool first. And if your pod gets tossed on top of a batch of clothes in the washer, it may not dissolve all the way.
7. Use vinegar to soften bed sheets.
There's nothing better than settling into bed after a long day of work and/or chores like washing clothes. However, scratchy bed sheets can throw everything off balance and ruin your sleep. Fear not — there's a hack for that. Put your sheets in the washer and pour 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar into the drum. The vinegar will make your sheets feel softer and smell fresher, ensuring a more comfortable night in bed.