Looking for simple laundry tips to help your clothes last longer? Here are 14 simple tips you can use today.

laundry tips for clothes

I may or may not have pointed this out about 500 times before, but instead of eating chocolate chip cookies?

I’m shopping.

It’s my new favorite thing on the planet.

I wait for sales and find new stores and hunt for bargains and organize my closet so it all fits.

And along the way with all these new clothes, I’ve discovered something important.

YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.

There’s nothing worse than ruining an outfit with salad dressing.

It is not your outfit friend.

No worries.

I got you.

Along with shopping, I’ve found a bunch of tips that have served me and my outfits well over the past six months.

Here are 14 laundry tips to help your clothes last longer.

(total aside: I’m really writing this for the twins at college. If you have a college student this would be the perfect post to send to them.)

14 Laundry Tips to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

1. Add a Tide pen to your purse (or purses)

This is the tip that has saved many an outfit.

I’m just messy.

I’m going too fast and talking too much and getting it all on my clothes.

The key with stains is you want to treat them right away. I found this set of three Tide pens so I”m always at the ever ready. Make sure to add a little water when you use it. I’ve found this makes it work better.

I put one in the car, one in my purse and one in my traveling bag.

I’ve already used them more times than I can count.

2. Soak the stain in water overnight

This is my BEST tip for getting rid of stains.

I mix up a little paste of detergent (whichever detergent you have on hand) and rub it into the stain.

If the stain is really stubborn (and the fabric has a lot of ridges), sometimes I use an old toothbrush to rub the detergent paste in. Then I put the garment with the stain into a bowl of water and let it soak overnight.

Then wash as usual.

3. Don’t dry stains

I know this is Captain Obvious of stain removal, but I wanted to put it here just in case.

If you use tip number 2 and you wash the shirt or the dress or the pants and the stain doesn’t come out?

DO NOT DRY IT.

Drying it is like setting the stain.

Instead, repeat step 2 and try to get the stain out again.

laundry tips for delicates

4. For really tough stains Fels-Naptha really works

I discovered Fels-Naptha when Zack played baseball.

I could NOT keep those white pants clean.

And then another mom told me about Fels-Naptha. It’s totally old school and comes in a bar. Best stain purchase you will ever make.

Every laundry room needs one.

Use the end of the bar and rub it into the stain and wash as normal.

5. Use the sprayer at a car wash for baseball pants

If you are a baseball mom or know someone who plays baseball, this tip is gold.

We would take our white pants to the local car wash with hand-held sprayers and rub Fels-Naptha into the stains and lay the pants on the ground.

And then?

We’d spray them clean.

The power of the sprayer at the car wash was the best fix for baseball dirt.

6. Use Blue Dawn Detergent on oil stains

All stains are not created equal.

And oil?

Specifically salad dressing oil is one of the worst.

If you have an oil spill, for the best chance of success, you want to act as quickly as possible.

Blue Dawn Detergent is your friend.

Rub it into the stain and immediately wash per washing instructions.

7. Pay attention to fabric care labels

This has saved me with many a garment.

The fabric care labels are there for a reason.

If it says to wash in cold, wash in cold. If it says “delicate” and “don’t dry” make sure to follow instructions.

Your clothes will last so much longer if you just follow the care instructions.

8. Wear something twice without washing

Someone gave me this advice and just between us?

It was hard to follow.

I felt like if I wore it once? It had to be washed.

But truly? If you wore it and there aren’t any stains and you didn’t run a mile in it or climb a mountain?

It can probably go back into your closet for one more wear.

Clothes actually last so much longer if you don’t wash them as often.

9. Use mesh lingerie bags

This is the best tip ever. I never knew about these before someone else told me about these bags.

It started when I snagged a sweater with the hook on the back of my bra.

(total aside: you should always hook these together before washing.)

But lingerie lasts so much longer if you use these bags to wash them. It prevents everything from being stretched out or getting tangled up together and ripping.

Protect your unmentionables (as my grandma used to call them) in the wash with lingerie bags.

laundry tips and ideas

14 Laundry Tips to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

10. Don’t dry everything

I don’t dry half of what I wash.

Here’s what I dry:

  • jeans
  • pants
  • sweatshirts
  • older pajamas
  • velour clothing
  • acrylic (on low heat)

Here’s what I don’t dry:

  • sweaters
  • blouses with ruffles
  • swim suits
  • tops with embellishments
  • shoes
  • tights
  • wool (never ever ever)

I love a drying rack that pulls out like this.

Many times, I’ll also lay a towel on top of the washer and dryer and lay the clothes flat to dry.

11. Use less detergent

ESPECIALLY if you have a front loader.

I know this seems counterintuitive, but using less detergent is actually better.

If there’s too much soap, it can bubble up and those bubbles get trapped in the clothes and leave a sticky mess.

Most detergents now are so high-powered that you just need a small amount.

12. Turn dark-colored clothes inside out

One of the easiest laundry tips, I’ve found to reduce fading is to turn dark clothes inside out.

Especially black pants and shirts.

Turning them inside out reduces the friction on the front of the fabric and puts all the friction on the inside instead (that no one will ever see).

12. Reduce wrinkles

The easiest laundry tip? Always remove your clothes from the dryer as soon as possible.

This prevents wrinkles from setting in and clothes looking frumpy.

I also have stopped ironing and started using a steamer instead. It saves SO MUCH time.

Instead of going back and forth with the iron, the steamer just swipes over the top of the shirt or blouse or dress and all the wrinkles disappear.

This is the steamer I have and love.

laundry tips

14. Keep track

One last tip that isn’t so much a laundry tip as a life tip.

Whenever we run out of something in the laundry room or butler’s pantry (they are the same room).

We just write it on this little craft paper roll.

It’s so easy to rip off and take to the grocery store.

They don’t make this one anymore, but I found a similar one here.

I hope this post inspired you today.

(Twinnies I’m talking to you).

Taking care of the clothes you have and making them last longer is so rewarding.

And now?

Can you help the twins and I out?

What is your favorite laundry tip?

Let’s discuss in the comments below. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Image for Liz Shivel Liz Shivel

    Hi KariAnne, there’s a laundry product called Soil-Love. It’s a liquid to use on stains, and it comes in a green bottle. I’ve used it a lot on various stains. If you get those rusty colored stains on things, you put that liberally (let it soak in a little) on any if those and it will remove the stains when washed.

  2. Image for Tracey Tracey

    I love your use of the word “unmentionables”. My grandma also called them this. Made me smile to remember! Thanks and have a day as amazing as you are!

    1. Image for Debbie Debbie

      My grandmother called her REALLY unmentionables her "step-ins", giggling as she said it. Glad to get the names of stain-removal products. The one advertised so much on TV has been a disappointment!

  3. Image for Eileen Eileen

    You have some Really great tips. BTW, I bought that laundry detergent holder you have displayed, probably at your suggestion. What a wonderful item...cute, functional and I love the spoon on the side. Great post!! ALSO, I absolutely LOVE that your posts are in larger typeface. I have several of my favorite blogs, but the tiniest print. So frustrating. So happy with your print.

    1. Image for Jan Jan

      I don't dry anything either, when things are a bit wrinkled after hang drying I throw them in the dryer on the dewrinkle cycle and they come out ready to wear. It's a no heat cycle so doesn't shrink things or hurt garments.

  4. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Great tips, Karianne. I hang my wet garments on the rubbery coated hangers (I keep those in the laundry room) instead of the fuzzy coated ones. I also hang a shower curtain bar between two walls for hanging my damp clothes on. That way I can take it down if I don’t want to look at it or have company - who always seem to want to peek into my laundry room. 😜

    1. Image for Nita Nita

      We did that hanging rod as well and I absolutely love it. I put nothing but sheets, towels, husband's T-shirts and jeans in the dryer, everything else I hang. I could not live without my hanging rod!!!

  5. Image for Tracey Tracey

    WOW!!!! I haven’t read your post yet, but I had to comment on how fabulous you look and that outfit is the bomb! I love it! You are really finding amazing outfits!!! 😍 I opened the post and literally went WOW to myself, and my eyes got all big and googly!! Ok, now I’ll go back to reading the post. I hope you put a link to that fabulous top and belt! 😍

  6. Image for Jennifer Dynys Jennifer Dynys

    Great tips! I used to use vinegar to prevent new jeans from bleeding on other clothes. However, the washing machine repair man said this is a big no-no for newer front loaders, it corrodes the wires on the sensors and can cause problems!

    1. Image for Regina Rudd Merrick Regina Rudd Merrick

      My favorite thing EVER for new jeans or those red garments that like to leave everything pink? Color-catchers!! They're like magic, and literally soak up excess dye! They always come out of the washer the color of what I didn't want to run!

    2. Image for PJ PJ

      Thank you for this tip! I use white vinegar as an alternative to fabric softener, but will stop that practice when I buy my new front loader.

  7. Image for Kris Kris

    For oily stains, I use an old school product called Lestoil (as in less toil, geddit???). You can find it on Amazon. I've gotten out old oil stains on clothes that I thought were destined for the rag bag. It does have a strong smell but it's worth it to me. The odor goes away when the clothes are out of the dryer. A friend told me years ago about a method to get out chocolate stains. Rinse the stain with milk (after you remove any big hunks of chocolate) and rub gently. It's best to get to it while the stain is fresh (which is true of all stains) but it's worth a try even if the stain is dry. Honestly, if my son does his laundry regularly, I will be ecstatic. Not sure it's in the cards for him to be aware of stains!😜

    1. Image for AnnTN AnnTN

      When my son was in college he washed everything together. Just dumped it all in the washing machine. His white t shirts were lovely shades of gray. UGH!!

  8. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    KariAnne, I will add one thing to your great post. On my oil stains , I immediately rub shampoo yes shampoo into the stain. Then I just leave it until wash day. It has always worked for me. Smiles, alice

  9. Image for Sheila Anderson Sheila Anderson

    All good tips! Some others that I like: Shout color catcher sheets in the wash to keep colors from running. Use vinegar in the rinse. Always do up zippers before washing. I have found Dawn liquid will even take out grease spots that have been washed and dried. Add bras to the list of not putting in the dryer (and anything with elastic/spandex. Thanks, Karianne.

    1. Image for Diane Hinnant Diane Hinnant

      PJ, you're right ... hydrogen peroxide is great on blood stains, especially if they are new stains. Unfortunately, I often find stains that are older and it doesn't seem to work on those. Have you found/heard of anything that might?

  10. Image for janine Czerniak janine Czerniak

    good morning I loved some of your tips... it's always good to have a new tip in our back pockets, like the dawn tip ( if it works on birds that have been in an oil spill, it makes sense it would work on an oil spill on our clothes from something like salad dressing), or be reminded of one we have forgotten... I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU LOST 100LBS AND LOOK SO INCREDIBLLY FABOUSLOUS NOW, AND SO PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR BLOGS thanks a bunch Janine Victoria BC Canada

  11. Image for Patricia Patricia

    I just have one laundry hack, wrinkle release spay. If something comes out of the dryer or your suitcase too wrinkled to wear, spray it with the wrinkle release and "iron" it with your hands. Let dry briefly before wearing. I always travel with it. But I need some help from your brain trust of readers. I spilled orange soda on my desk and didn't realize it also dripped down to my beige carpet. Spotted it a week later. Folex carpet cleaner is not budging it. I've also spot cleaned with a small portable cleaner. Didn't help. Any other suggestions? I do have a full apartment carpet cleaning set for October (my fall back position). Any ideas?

    1. Image for Nita Nita

      We use Tuff Stuff for our carpet stains and they come right out. I had an old truck, very old, to leave a rusty stain on my bedroom carpet and Tuff Stuff got it all out. You can buy it at Walmart in the automotive department.

  12. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    I love-love-love that blouse on you! You look soooooo cute! 😍 And I love your tips! A tip? Hmmm...how 'bout this one? If at bedtime you decide you want to wear something in the morning, but maybe it's somewhat wrinkled, hang it (on a hanger) over the door or doorknob and spray the wrinkles with water. In the morning, they should be gone. 😃

  13. Image for Lori Lori

    I am also a fan of the wrinkle release spray…but even better, Dollar General has their own brand and it is only $2.50! Some things I put in the dryer for 3 or 4 minutes to get warm and take out some of the wrinkles, then spray with wrinkle release, hang and swipe down them with my hand. Leave them to dry and they will be perfect. Also, when the shoulders of your clothes get that lump where they have been hanging, I just spray that spot with the wrinkle release and if I’m in a hurry, shoot it with the blow dryer.

  14. Image for Mary Mary

    Fels-naptha is a great stain remover, mother-in-law taught me that years ago. Love your top, I would also like to know where you got it!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      It came from Elizabeth Wilson designs: https://www.elizabethwilsondesigns.com/shop/laura-lynn-top-in-red-gingham And it's on sale right now!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      LOL! It's from Elizabeth Wilson designs! They don't have that color any more, but you can see the red version here: https://www.elizabethwilsondesigns.com/shop/laura-lynn-top-in-red-gingham

  15. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    You are always as cute as a bug's ear, even while doing laundry (or pretending to). I like your outfit and I LOVE that belt! When our weather is nice I hang EVERYTHING out to dry, including my "unmentionables" (my grandma also called them that). Living in the country, I don't worry about anyone seeing them, but when I lived in town as a teen my mom taught me to hang them on the middle line, so the two side lines of clothes would "hide" them. That was a total aside, but I thought it might bring back memories for some. The only thing I DON'T hang out to dry are jeans and towels. They get too stiff and scratchy. Here are a few tips that I have: hydrogen peroxide on fresh blood works well to remove it (great tip for nurses, menstruating young women, or anyone who accidently cuts themselves and gets blood on their clothes (some of us are clutzes in the kitchen; don't judge. LOL). Oxi-Clean is AMAZING at removing most stains, including the yellow ones that end up on our dishtowels. I just follow the directions and fill up a five gallon bucket with boiling water that I've dissolved the Oxi-Clean in, then add my cotton items and let them soak for a few days. Please note that I've only used it on cotton or cotton/poly blends, and it can cause colors to run or bleach/fade out (don't ask me how I know, blue silk fabric I'm talking to you). And when it comes to colors running, a great product for the washer is SHOUT ColorCathcher. They look like dryer sheets, and I simply throw one or two into the washer with new clothes, so that their color doesn't bleed onto other items. Happy Washing, ya filthy animal! :) Our washer currently needs to be repaired (when we add liquid detergent it runs down the front of our front-loading machine) so I've been using Tide pods. I've found, however, that they don't totally dissolve in loads using warm or cold wash water. Instead, they left a gummy pod remain on our clothes. Because of this, I now take a clean container (like what cottage cheese comes in) and dissolve the Tide pod in HOT water first, then pour that in the washing machine and add our clothes. And that's another good tip: if the clothing label says to wash in cold water on gentle, then make sure you do that. One last idea if you're brave enough. I wash most items that say, "Dry Clean Only" in cold water on the gentle cycle. I then either hang up, or lay flat to dry,

  16. Image for Ann C Ann C

    Use a lingerie bag for socks. Never lose one again! If you count them when you put them in. Also when I take my jeans off to put in hamper I empty my pockets and zip them up. That way I don’t wash a Kleenex by accident and the teeth on the zipper doesn’t snag my other clothes. If on laundry day I find a pair of slacks without the zipper zipped I know I better check my pockets. I hate washed Kleenex all over my clothes.

  17. Image for gail w turner gail w turner

    I opened the Elizabeth Wilson website and thought you were standing there. lol Thanks for all the laundry tips. I recently got makeup on my favorite shorts and scrubbed and rubbed so hard to get it out that I took the color our of the pants so they are still destined for house and yard work. oh well.

  18. Image for Diane Hinnant Diane Hinnant

    Karianne, I tried to click on the link for the fold down drying rack you mentioned several times, but each time it pulled up the lingerie bags again.. Can you please check that link? Thanks!

  19. Image for Jude Jude

    Hi My tip laundry tip is stains should ALWAYS be treated from the inside. You are then pushing the stain out and not working it back into the fabric. It’s a game changer.

  20. Image for CyndiM CyndiM

    How about this one ... hand wash silks with shampoo. Silk is a natural fiber, and not always dry clean only. I've actually heard that Woolite is damaging, and I haven't used it in years. And THANK YOU for not calling these "hacks"!! So many people do that now, and it's kind of a pet peeve, because they're just exactly as you call them, tips.

  21. Image for Sandi Sandi

    My laundry tip is always zip up zippers. That way the metal teeth don't drag or snag at other items they are being tossed with!

  22. Image for Lo Lo

    Fels Naptha is an old school items that works! Cut the bar in half and use the cut end's roughness to scrub the stains out!

  23. Image for Tawny Stoddard Tawny Stoddard

    Wonderful tips! Thank you! I have one from my messy boys who work on motors in the garage and get oily then toss in their own wash without pre-treating....UGH!! Those greasy stains get washed, dryed and SET!! I discovered how to UN-SET them! I use WD-40 ...yes you have to use something to reactivate those stubborn set in stains and you know you can fix anything with WD-40!! LOL so I just keep some old shopping bags nearby to put in between the fabric, say the stain is on the front of the shirt, I dont want the WD40 to seep into the back also? Place the plastic bag in between the 2 layers. Spray the set in stain to reactivate. Let it sit for about an hour. Then rub that stain with blue Dawn dish soap to remove that oily stain and launder with warm / hot water and your normal laundry detergent. Be sure to check that it came out with one washing before you put it in the dryer, you may need to repeat the blue dawn process if it was stubborn. I have removed a huge hydrolic oil spot from my sons expensive skateboarding hoodie with this process! He was so extremely happy!! Have a great day

  24. Image for Tawny Lynn Stoddard Tawny Lynn Stoddard

    Karianne....the baseball pants! LOL!!! I wished I had known about your car wash trick a few years ago....BRILLIANT!! The playoff days just about killed me, heck I even combed the resale shops for extras! That son of mine had double headers and games just about everyday for 2 weeks solid and we proud mommas want our champs to look their best in crisp whites! Thank you & have a lovely day!

  25. Image for Jo Jo

    I learned years ago that a lingerie wash called Forever New got baseball hat stains out. Make a paste and rub into the inside rim and any outside sweat stains...really works. Also, I love to hand wash more items and place them on the pull-out dryers. Saves the fabrics, especially linen and cotton. Love the carwash tip!!! Terrific tips.. I will use your link and order Tide pens...never tried them. Thank you!!

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