How To Do Laundry

Category Kitchen
The proper way to do laundry is an art form that some people missed out on learning. This page covers the basics of how to do laundry.


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September 22, 2008

We have 6 people living in our house. This makes it hard to keep everything clean and our laundry done. I have asked each person to do their own laundry on a specific day. We are never waiting for someone to get done and are not stressed about it.

By Shirley from Henderson, NV

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While parents are preparing to send their children off to college, they try to think of all the material items to take with them to supply their dorm rooms. One thing that some parents don't think of, is showing your child how to do his/her own laundry.

Last year, my nephew in college was approached by a fellow student, who complimented him on his every day appearance and wanted to know the secret of how to make your clothes look neat. My nephew explained "how to." The fellow student wanted a more 'hands on' approach. He asked if my nephew could accompany him on his next wash day to see what he was doing wrong with his laundry. My nephew agreed.


My nephew, with his own clothing, showed the fellow student how to sort clothing, which products to use and why, how to dry on certain temps and why, how to fold or hang, etc. The fellow student was in awe, as he'd never been shown all the procedures. His mom had always done the wash, as most do. He'd never took the time to learn the techniques or the art of proper laundry.

As when my nephew asked how the fellow student had been doing his laundry, the young man lifted up his collapsible laundry bag filled with dirty laundry and stuffed it in the washer and turned on. Added the detergent!! LOL, as funny as this is, my nephew said the young man would have continued to put the laundry bag filled with clothes, in the dryer, too. That's one Mom who won't be having to wash a mountain of dirty clothes that come home from college, and can spend precious time with her college son.


By badwater from NV

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May 11, 2006

Hopefully you have found yourself at a school that offers free laundry facilities. If so, do laundry all the time and be proud that you are saving hundreds of dollars annually in washing and drying costs. If you live off campus, bus the laundry in and do it for free.

If you end up at a school that charges for laundry, check the local laundromats to compare prices and go with the cheapest option. Or, befriend someone with their own washer and dryer and do all of your laundry there. If all else fails, try to never do laundry at school. Save it up, for months at a time (washing only those things that absolutely must be clean) and take everything else home to wash.


Be aware that at many schools that charge for laundry, there is a coveted free laundry day - generally coinciding with a day where parents are invited to come to campus. Get in line early on free laundry day. Once you lay claim to a washer, do not give it up until all of your loads are done. Same with the dryer, otherwise you'll be at the end of the line again. I once did 20 loads of laundry for free on one of these days, just remember to always be present when the washer or dryer goes off or you will lose it to the crowd.

By Brandi M. Seals

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 27, 2006

I just did a load of laundry without soap. How could I? But this got me to wondering if anyone out there knows what our ancestors did or used to wash before those convenient (detergent) brands became available.


Thank you,
Soapless in USA


By Sandy (Guest Post)
January 27, 20060 found this helpful

My grandma told me that during war times in 1940s they used the ashes from the fireplace/stove. She would place the ashes in the bucket, fill it with water and let it stand for a day or so... After she would pour the water in the clean bucket throug the cheese cloth to get rid of the ashes. After that the water would be used to soak the laudry. She said it works better then any of modern detergents. Unfortunately, I do not know what the proportions are. I tryed to do it, and I found that the water became soapy after a while... You may try it. it is safe.

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January 27, 20060 found this helpful

I never heard of the ashes but my g/mother who was raised in the early 1900's (she was born in 1901) use to make her own lye soap. I guess that could be called detergent huh? Anyway, I remember her working all day in the back yard stiring in a black pot making several bars at one time and it smelled to "high heaven".

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January 27, 20060 found this helpful

My mother made soap. Always did this after we butchered, so think she used the tallow from beef. Added Lewis Lye to it,(don't know what else) put it in a cloth lined wooden box (peach crate) and as it hardened would cut it in bars. These bars were stored in a barrel that she had for that purpose. On washing day we used a slicer to shave the whole bar of soap for the wringer type washing machine.


Mother always had one tub for soaking, and two for rinsing. A little "blueing' was put in rince water to make white clothes whiter. their years supply of soap probably didn't cost as much as 200oz of TIDE does today. We sure have things easier. My mother had to heat the water in a boiler on the stove, and put in washer. We got water and plumbing in our farm house in 1942.

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January 27, 20060 found this helpful

Wow,you guys brought back the memories. My grandmother was still making her on soap years after all my friends families were buying theirs. She also did it in the fall after butchering and used the ashes from her wood cook stove . I do not rememberthe process but I know it envolved a large black keetle and outside fire,a long wooden trough type thing. Other than that I do not know,but I don't think the poster was interested in ALL the details just interested in general. happy laundering to you all!!

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January 27, 20060 found this helpful

I have my great-grandparents copper boiler that they heated the water in on the stove, I just love it. But, of course, I don't use it to do laundry in, I store blankets in it!

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By Marta (Guest Post)
January 27, 20060 found this helpful

When I was still a kid my mom would use Fels Naptha soap and a washboard.

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By Louise (Guest Post)
January 27, 20060 found this helpful

I've helped my Grandmother make "Lye Soap" many many is made from oak wood ashes places in a 5 gallon bucket and filled with water,let set for about 3 water was put into a big black washpot in the back yard and a fire kept going so the lye water would boil,then hog fat or tallow was put into the pot,boiled for about 2 hours and the fire was let go out.the "soap' was poured into a big granite dishpan [about 2 inches of it] and let cool.then it was cut into bars about the sixe of our soap bars was a yellow soap and was good for washing your body or your clothes or your dishes. I'm 68 years old and it hasn't been too many years since I helped ny Grandmother make soap.

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By terry r (Guest Post)
January 27, 20060 found this helpful

I have had this over my washer for years,,FunnyRecipe for Cleaning Clothes

1. Build a fire in the backyard to heat kettle of rain water.
2. Set Tubs so smoke won't blow in eyes if windy.
3. Shave one whole cake of lye soap in boiling water.
4. Sort clothes, make three piles: one pile whites,
one pile colored
and one pile work britches and rags.
5. To make starch, stir flour in cool water till smooth, then thin down with boiling water.
6. Take white things, rub dirty spots on washboard, scrub hard and then boil. Rub colored,
don't boil, just rinse and starch.
7. Take things our of kettle with broomstick handle,
then rinse and starch.
8. Hang old Rags on Fence.
9. Spread tea towels on grass.
10. Pour Rinse water in flower bed.
11. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
12. Turn tubs upside down.
13. Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs,
brew cup of herb tea, sit and rock a spell
and count your blessings.

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January 29, 20060 found this helpful

I think our ancestors probably had to eventually burn the hides they wore because of fleas!! I can't imagine how hard it would be beating animal hides on rocks by the river!! lol.

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January 29, 20060 found this helpful

Before my second son was born, and I had to do laundry at the laundry mat, I made my own mixing 1:1 Borax and grated bar soap (one-two tablespoons goes a long way!) I always use warm or hot water to wash, so everything dissolved, but whites were a little dingy from soap, so I found a cheap detergent and stayed with borax. Now I use 1/2 the recommended detergent and 1/2 cup borax. Makes it last longer and my whites look fine!

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By Soapless in USA (Guest Post)
January 29, 20060 found this helpful

Everyone - Thank you for sharing your tips. Your information is fantastic. :-) Soapless no More

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By Desperate! Urgent! (Guest Post)
December 4, 20060 found this helpful

I am so doomed. I need somebody to post how the people in England in the Victorian era washed linens and i need to know within the next 2 minutes! I hope this site is really busy. I know that they did NOT have a way to wash all their laundry, different things had different ways to be washed, so that's what's making this so hard! i gotta go give up now and do the rest of my homework and get a zero cuz i dont know how they washed linens.

Editor's Note: Here are a couple of links:

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March 31, 20160 found this helpful


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Answer this Question...

December 6, 2012

I would like to know what is the process to get a fresh mint smell in after wash garments? Can we achieve this by doing garment wash? If possible how many washes it will stay in garment?


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December 7, 2016

There is nothing nicer than the smell of freshly laundered clothing. This is a page about tips for good smelling clothing.

A woman smelling her clean clothes with pleasure.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 4, 2007

I can't get my clothes to smell good after I wash them. I buy really nice smelling detergent and liquid fabric softner, but after they come out of the dryer, they don't smell like anything.

My friend's laundry always smells good and smells good for days.

Jodi from CA


How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I add just plain old baking soda to my laundry detergent (dry). I probably add about a cup. It makes my sheets smell SO GOOD! Smells very fresh. I also use about 1/4 cup bleach, no more, because it will only smell like bleach and wash in hot water. (07/26/2005)

By Paula

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

Without saying anything about your laundry, why not just ask your friend how she gets her laundry to smell so good? Some people use a fragrance like lavender or something and spray it on a dry towel and toss into the dryer. I haven't done it, but makes sense to me. You could even ask her if she does something like this. (07/26/2005)

By Joan

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I know what you mean. I sometimes pass people whose clothes smell so fresh and wonderful. I have used Cheer and that works ok. (07/27/2005)

By Kari

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I use Gain, original scent, detergent. When I bought my house the former owners left some here, and I loved the scent so much I've been buying it ever since. (07/27/2005)

By SusannL

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I use Gain detergent (powder) and Gain liquid fabric softener too. I LOVE IT! All my family smells the clothes and tells me how everything smells so good. I used to use the fabric softener sheets but they really didn't do much. I think the Gain detergent and the same type liquid fab. soft. that's what makes the difference but try Gain a few times. I think you'll like it. (07/27/2005)

By peggygv

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

Do you use fabric softner sheets? I use the liquid softner in the washer for certain items like jeans and sheets but always use the fabric softner sheets in the dryer. I use Bounce sheets and the laundry always smells good to me. (09/01/2005)

By B

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I know the answer. I have been attempting to figure this out for years. Use 3 times the normal amount of liquid fabric softener (whatever you like. I prefer downy ultra) and the key is, either do not put the clothes in the dryer or just dry them a little and put them on a hangar. You won't believe the difference! (12/11/2005)

By April

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

My laundry smells fantastic. I use Persil detergent and it smells good for weeks. (07/26/2006)

By Stephanie Macceca

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I usually buy some of those dishwashing liquids that smells almost like perfume and mix them with my laundry detergent. The result is good, the clothes smell so good. (07/26/2006)

By irlande

How can I get my laundry to smell good?

I like to wash my clothes in One cup of white vinegar, One cup of baking soda and Half cup of borax along with the detergent. If you can during your rinse cycle try putting between 20-30 drops of some lemon, orange, lavender, etc oil essence in your laundry, (you can get these from any health food store). (08/19/2006)

By 1bigmama

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