We all need a laundry routine.
There are few household tasks that are as thankless as the laundry. It’s a never-ending cycle (pun intended) and surely we all joke that we never see the bottom of the laundry basket. From sorting to washing to drying to ironing to putting away, it really is endless.
But it’s a fact of life. So we all need a laundry routine.
I’ve often joked that I shouldn’t have any more children as I can’t cope with the laundry. Babies bring a huge increase in the volume of washing. If you’re brave enough to use cloth nappies, that volume trebles.
After a while, the volume does reduce slightly, but if your children are anything like mine, everything they are wearing needs washing at the end of the day. Dinner ends up down the jumpers, trousers get grass-stained and let’s not even think about the pants.
Step 1: The pre-sort system
6 years ago, I started tacking our laundry system. We went from having 2 laundry hampers where we put everything, to a pre-sort system. I use the Algot from IKEA with three deep mesh baskets, which are still available and work really well. There are other laundry sorters, but they are more vertical, whereas I really like the baskets in the Algot. You can carry the load downstairs, and even out to the washing line in the same basket.
The system is really simple: white at the top, lighter colours in the middle and dark colours at the bottom. Everyone is responsible for putting their clothes in the correct basket. When the basket is fairly full, put a wash on.
I honestly couldn’t believe the difference this system made. Instead of guessing which colour washing I needed to do, or emptying out the laundry hamper and sorting the washing on the floor, it was already there. Tim started doing laundry once he saw that the basket was full.
Step 2: Wash daily
I’ve kept this system going and it’s worked really well. I have to do a load a day, sometimes more, but that does include towels, sheets etc. I iron twice a week – I have a fair amount of ironing as both Tim and Ben wear shirts for school, and I do keep on top of it.
Recently, I’ve been using Ecover laundry liquid. I was sent a sample of their Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent. I always use non-bio liquid, as I find it’s gentle enough on our skin. Both Ben and I really struggle with eczema, and it does get affected by different detergents.
I have been really impressed by the laundry liquid. Firstly, you only need to use a tiny amount. I presume it’s really concentrated as it does seem to create a very thick foam. It goes straight in the drawer, which I actually prefer. I seem to collect the balls and caps from other laundry liquids and I don’t think they make any real difference to the laundry!
I’ve been using the Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent for 2 weeks, which is plenty of time to allow for a possible eczema flare-up. There really hasn’t been a change, so it’s definitely good for sensitive skin.
The laundry scent is really pleasant – Lavender and Sandalwood. I love the sandalwood in particular, and it comes through well. The lavender isn’t so strong, and it definitely doesn’t smell like old ladies, which is what I usually associate with lavender!
Step 3: Dry immediately
Our washing machine has an alarm which beeps once the washing has finished. It’s the most annoying noise in the world, but it is definitely a good trigger. As soon as the washing is finished, it either goes on the line or in the tumble drier.
You might like to avoid using a tumble drier, but it saves me so much time and hassle, it’s a no-brainer.
I do often use a fabric softener with my washing, especially if it is going to be line-dried, and I felt that the Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent needed a softener with it. I have to admit to always putting towels in the tumble drier – it’s the only way to keep them soft!
Step 4: Iron, fold and put away regularly
Some people fold their laundry and put it away as soon as it is dry. I confess that I’m not one of these people. I put it all into a big basket and sort it and iron anything that needs ironing twice a week. Once it’s ironed – and I do a lot of ironing as Tim and Ben both wear shirts – I put each person’s clothes into a small basket.
That basket gets taken upstairs and put away as soon as possible. As I usually iron when the boys are in bed, their baskets can be put just inside their bedroom doors and put away in the morning. Everything is tidy and easy to find – exactly how I like it.
I actually made a video about my laundry routine, so if you’d like to see the routine step by step, here you go:
Step 5: Shop carefully – and use the machine for hand washing
Since going through my wardrobe and defining my style, I’ve tried to avoid buying hand-wash only clothes. But last week, my toddler managed to get orange felt tip pen all over one of the cream cushions in the lounge. It took me a while to spot, and, like most hand-wash things, too me a few more days to get it into the machine on a hand-wash cycle. At 40 degrees with a small amount of Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent, the cushion cover came out spotlessly clean. I have to say, I wasn’t really expecting that.
Remember: Make it easy to wash things properly
I do think it makes a huge difference to the appearance of your clothes if you sort the washing first. Whites can be washed at 60 degrees, which definitely makes them look brighter, and by keeping darker colours separate, I preserve our clothes better. I also do have a range of products – including stain removers and disinfectant laundry cleanser – on a shelf above the washing machine so I can use the right product at the right time.
I will definitely be using Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent as part of my laundry routine.
This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover.
If you’d like to read more posts about developing household routines, pop over to my routines section.