Laundry Cheat Sheet

Bleach, hand wash, lay flat to dry, delicate wash, iron, dry clean. There are so many different ways to tend to your clothes — are you confident you’re using the proper techniques?

Use the below guides to help address those hard-to-remove stains, decipher complicated washing symbols and make the whole process more efficient. These laundry tips and tricks will increase the life of your clothes and keep them bright!


Sorting + Folding Hacks

  • Clip a delicates bag to the side of your laundry basket for socks. That way, you can zip them all up together and keep each pair from losing its mate from the washer to the drying rack.
  • Folding the fitted sheet of the bed is a challenge! Instead of folding corner to corner, tuck the corners inside of one another for more defined angles. Check out this guide for more help.
  • Dry cleaning can actually shorten the life of your clothes! Use this method to spot-treat stains and minimise the cost (and effort) of going to the dry cleaner.
  • Spray collared shirts with vinegar and air dry on a hanger outside to extend the time in between washes.
  • Use a salad spinner to dry delicates faster.
  • Accidentally shrank your favourite shirt? You can fix it in minutes with some lukewarm water and hair conditioner. Find the full tutorial here.

How to Tackle Tough Stains

Unfortunately, not all stains are created equal, and some can’t be resolved by a spin through the washer. Save your garments by treating them with methods specific to the stain you’re dealing with. Below are some of the most common stains and how to lift them. But first, some general rules about stain removal:

  • Avoid rubbing delicate fabrics aggressively.
  • The sooner you treat the stain, the more likely it is to come out.
  • If possible, blot away excess liquid as soon as you can.
  • Take your time and be patient, as some methods will take some more time and effort.


Grass: Rub the garment with one part dishwashing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide. Rinse with cold water.

Mud: Soak the garment in warm water and washing powder to help loosen the stain. If that doesn’t solve it, rinse it with white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

Ink or paint: One of the toughest stains to get out, ink/paint should be treated progressively. Start at the top and work your way down this list as far as you need to until the stain is gone. Just know that with each step, the chances of the garment getting damaged in the process increase, so don’t skip.

  • Rub with dishwashing liquid
  • Rub with hairspray
  • Rub with isopropyl alcohol
  • Rub stain with acetone or nail polish remover
  • Launder with colour-safe bleach

Bodily fluids: Rinse the garment with cold water, then launder with one cup of hydrogen peroxide and one cup of baking soda. This works best for blood, vomit, urine or faeces.

Grease, oil, lipstick: Rub the stain with baking soda and water — the baking soda helps to absorb the oil. Rinse it with cold water. Soak the garment in vinegar and scrub with dish soap to remove the remaining components. Rinse with cold water.

Food: Soak the garment in dishwashing liquid and water.

Coffee, wine, etc.: Scrub the stain with a mix of baking powder and water, or soak in vinegar. Rinse with cold water after.

Antiperspirant: Mix dishwashing liquid with water and a few drops of vinegar. Press the mixture in to the stain with a rag. Flush with water and blot to remove antiperspirant.

Gum: Freeze the gum with an ice cube until it hardens. It should pry off easily.

Nail polish: Place the garment stain-side-down on a paper towel. Dip a cloth in nail polish remover and rub the afflicted area from the back side. Once the stain is gone, wash as usual.

Candle wax: Remove as much of the wax as you can with your hand or a knife. Heat up an iron and place the garment stain side down on a paper towel. Press the heated iron on the back of the shirt to help melt the wax and transfer it to the paper towel.


Wash Care Symbols Explained

Ever tried to decipher the small symbols on your clothes tag, become frustrated and washed your clothes all together in cold water? These recommended care instructions may be a pain, but they will increase the longevity of your garments in the long run. Print out this table and post it near your washer so you’ll always have a cheat sheet nearby to reference when you need it.


Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.


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