Up Your Laundry Game

Up Your Laundry Game: Get Better Results

Lets face it, no one likes to do laundry.  It is an unending task, especially with kids in the house! However, fresh clothes and soft linens are an everyday luxury we all appreciate.  Here are a few tips to keep the piles moving, and keep your family looking (and smelling) their best.

Here is our collective advice for keeping the whole family looking good.


My rule is to avoid washing heavy fabrics with light ones. Separate jeans from tops, for example. Lingerie and delicate items have special needs from the rest of your laundry.

Your delicates should be washed by hand or in the machine on a delicate setting, in cool water, with specially formulated soap like Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Hand or Machine laundry detergent.  Garments like bras with lace and underwire or padding should be protected from agitation in a mesh garment bag.  Check out these great shaped laundry bags for bras.  These delicates should never be subjected to the dryer but rather folded over a hanger and hung to air dry.

Towels and Linens

Heavier fabrics like towels need their own tub and are best run on hot water with a cup of vinegar. We use store generic vinegar with 5% acidity. You may reduce the detergent recommended on the label by about half when adding vinegar to the wash.  Why add vinegar to your wash loads? The vinegar breaks down the soap residue that builds up in the thick towel fibers, it also seems to neutralize odors and can reduce odors from smoke, pets, and sweat. Just by adding ½ to 1 cup to your load you will smell a difference.  It does not leave a vinegar odor in your clothes. 

Over time, fabric softener stops towels from being able to absorb water and will leave a waxy build-up on them when added to the cycle. Likewise, bed linens need their own load and benefit from softener included in the wash. The same goes for denim jeans and jackets, keep them in their own wash load with other heavy items.

Washing Colored Clothes

There has long been a debate about sorting clothes into color groups. Dyes would come out in the wash and stain lighter clothes being washed together.   Because dyes have changed, it is now possible to wash clothes together.  Products like in-wash  Shout Color Catchers will allow you to wash more clothes together.  But a pro-tip is to use a Mesh Lingerie Bag for the color catcher sheets.  Left loose in the load, these sheets can become caught up in the drive mechanism of your machine. 


There are many types of delivery systems for detergent. Powder, Pods, Liquid and Sheets.  Detergents come with all sorts of additives, fragrances and boosters. This is a consideration for the environment since all of these products go into our water system.  Pods have a plastic that degrades, but never leaves the environment, liquid jugs are cumbersome, heavy and an ecological problem since single-use plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose. 

HE Washers and HE Detergent

HE washers use less water and wash on shorter cycles. These require a HE, or high efficiency, laundry detergents. Be sure the detergent is HE if you use this type of washing machine.  You cannot use regular detergent in a HE washer because they produce too many suds and won’t leave your clothes clean. 

Thankfully, you can use HE Detergent in both HE and regular washers. And they clean better. We only recommend HE formulated detergents. HE safe detergents are marked HE clearly on the packaging.

Environmentally Friendly Detergent Option 


Newest on the market are sheet detergents like eco-friendly, low-cost Blue Water Laundry Detergent Strips. One of my sisters has used these strips over the last year. She loves that the lightweight, small box that holds 64 sheets, enough for 128 small loads or 64 large ones. It is made for sensitive skin. Our other sister has been using InsoGreen Laundry Detergent Sheets, a box of 40 that will do up to 80 loads. They both agree this is the future of laundry detergent. Unfortunately, these products are not available in our local grocery stores, so we order them online from Amazon.

There are other better-known eco-brands strips that cost more. We see no difference in the effectiveness of the eco-friendly detergent strips compared to competitor sheets or other detergent brands we like, including Tide, our long-standing favorite in liquids and pods.

These brands offer compostable cardboard packaging.  The sheets are concentrated, biodegradable and easily stored and transported.  Any of the detergent options below will get your laundry clean, but if you factor in the convenience and ecological impact, many people are moving toward the sheets as the best delivery system.   

As an environmentally sound laundry booster option, you may want to try washing soda, especially when washing clothes to remove odors. Arm and Hammer offers a Washing Soda that is just sodium bicarbonate. It is less expensive than food grade baking soda and can be used for many household tasks.  

Tried and True, with a Sensitive Skin Option

We grew up with Tide detergent, and have used it successfully in all its forms with good results. Our sensitive skin family members prefer  Tide Free and Clear are hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested and free of dyes and perfumes. The powder form of Tide Free and Clear skips the plastic bottle in favor of a cardboard box.

The men in our family prefer detergents that tackle odors too.  Their favorite is Tide with Downy because it gets athletic wear clean and dries without the need for a dryer sheet. 

Purex, another good option for colored clothes and linens, is an economical color wash detergent that boasts a low-sudsing formula rinses clean and is suitable for high efficiency washers. 


First, always clean the lint trap before drying. Ensure that you are using the right setting on the dryer for your clothes to avoid damage. For more delicate items we suggest putting on hangers and drying in the bathroom. Bras will last longer if not subjected to the dryer. Roll sweaters in a towel or lay flat to dry. 

If you like to use dryer sheets there are a number of good economical choices. Our long-time go-to is Bounce, shown here in the fragrance free formula, and it is available in many options including Pet Hair Removal Bounce, Bounce Wrinkle Guard. For smaller loads, you can cut your drying sheets in half. Dryer sheets may be used at least twice in the laundry and can have a second life in household cleaning. 

Recycle and Upcycling Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets can have a second life for a number of household cleaning chores including dusting and deodorizing.  They can be put in any area where you might use an air freshener such as the trash can, tucked into small spaces in the car, or in shoes between wears. To get burnt food out of a stainless steel or glass pan, soak the pan overnight in water with a dryer sheet then wash well. When using dryer sheets for cleaning, use gloves to avoid prolonged skin contact.

Thank you 

As always, these product recommendations are based on our personal experience and are independent of manufacturer, seller, or any commission we may receive should you purchase from the link. We encourage you to shop for the best price including additional considerations such as shipping. Please read the disclaimer below.

In our next article we’ll be talking about stain removal.