Laundry detergent, fabric softener, a little bleach and a few plastics baskets – is there anything else to a laundry room arsenal? Those are certainly the basics, but there a few items that will make cleaning your clothes even easier. Before you throw your next load in the washer, make sure your laundry room cabinets are stocked with these must-haves:
Intended to protect your most delicate items from shredding to pieces in the wash, mesh bags are relatively indispensable when it comes time to wash your unmentionables. But did you know they're also great for keeping socks together? That's if you can keep a pair together in your hamper first, of course.
These are particularly great for those teeny, tiny stains that seem impossible to spot treat. Simply dip the end in a stain-fighting solution and gently rub it into the offending spot. A good alternative to the cotton swab: an eyedropper. The precision will help make sure you don't accidentally lighten the rest of your shirt.
It might seem like baking soda can solve everything short of world peace, and truth be told, that's almost accurate. Adding the stuff to your washer in conjunction with your detergent will soften your clothes just as well as fabric softener itself, plus it helps remove any lingering odors.
Oil stains and fabric softener can leave unsightly stains on your laundry. Luckily, corn starch can help save the day. If it doesn't work by itself, try softening the grease first with a little dish soap.
A measuring cup
Using too much detergent might seem harmless, but it can leave a nasty residue on your clothing. When it comes to laundry detergent and fabric softener, it's a good idea to use the exact amount prescribed, and a measuring cup is the most accurate way to do it.
Speaking of fabric softener, white vinegar is a fantastic and natural alternative. Use it the same way you would use the baking soda we were talking about – right when you pour in the detergent.
A soaking bucket
When you see a stain, simply throw it in the soaking bucket stationed in or near your sink. It's as easy as that.
A wall-mounted drying rack
How many times have you laid a wet shirt out across the top of your washing machine because you didn't want to bust out the drying rack? That's where the wall-mounted versions come in. They pull out easily (and with one hand), meaning they're just as convenient for tiny loads of laundry as they are large ones.
The first rule of stain removal is to apply your solution of choice as early as possible, but rubbing it in with a soft brush will expedite the process even further. Just be careful not to scrub too vigorously, or you'll damage your clothing.
There are half a dozen tricks out there invented just for preventing static, but let's be honest – they're not nearly as easy as just spraying your susceptible clothing as it comes out of the dryer.