Cold weather brings the need to bundle up in layers, which also means your laundry pile gets a little bigger. Washing winter clothes right the first time can help protect those chunky sweaters, save time in the laundry room and keep electric bills down.
Washing in cold water, even in the winter, is one the easiest ways to save money with your electric bill. In addition to washing in cold water, line drying clothes can also help the environment by using less energy. (1)
We’ve pulled together our go-to laundry tips to help keep puffer coats, knit sweaters, snow boots and the rest of your family’s winter clothing looking like new.
1. Hand wash hand-knitted sweaters or scarfs with a few drops of gentle dish soap.
Fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with cold water, add soap and swish the sweater around (refrain from twisting, this may hurt the material). Empty the sink, fill the sink again with cool water and swish repeatedly until the sweater is thoroughly rinsed. Repeat this process until there is no soap left.
2. Machine wash down jackets or alternative coats about twice during the winter.
Run your down coat in your washer with cold water and natural laundry detergent for a half an hour on the gentle cycle. Squish out excess liquid, but be careful not to twist the jacket in the process. Dry your jacket on a low setting, and to help re-fluff, add a few tennis balls to the dryer.
3. Re-wear sweaters, jeans and pajamas.
In the colder winter season, you are less prone to sweating and your outer layers can be worn multiple times without washing (if they don’t smell and don’t have any stains of course). You can put them on low in your dryer with a dryer sheet for five minutes to freshen between wears.
4. Wear an extra layer underneath your sweater.
A light camisole or t-shirt won’t warm you up, but it can help keep your sweater or top layers clean, so you won’t need to wash them as much.
5. Treat slush, mud and salt stains right away.
It may be convenient to hold out until the season ends to deal with stains, but once they have set, they are much more difficult to remove. Instead, spray unsightly blemishes with a stain remover and treat spots as soon as they come to your attention.
6. Help sweaters retain their shape.
Prior to washing, lay the sweater out and trace the outline of the sweater on a big sheet of paper. After washing, wrap the sweater in a towel to soak up the excess water, then lay the sweater on the parchment and reshape it to fit the outline. Allow it to dry flat.
7. Put hats, beanies, scarves, mittens and gloves in a sealable, netted laundry bag.
Throw these pieces of winter apparel in to wash once a month, then lay flat to dry. The bag will keep pairs of gloves from becoming separated and stop scarves from getting caught up in other laundry items.
8. Wash winter sports wear like long johns and fleece jackets with normal detergent.
But don’t use fabric softener - it can keep these fabrics from wicking moisture correctly.
9. Deodorize smelly snow boots.
Fill a bucket with cold water, one half cup of vinegar, and one capful of laundry detergent. Remove the boot inserts, soak them in this mixture for thirty minutes, then rinse completely and hang to dry. Swab the exterior of the boots with a wet rag and add a small amount of baking soda in the boot before putting the inserts back where they belong.
10. "Line dry" in the winter.
Suspend clothes over a towel bar or the rod for your shower curtain or any collapsible racks. These can serve as a “line dry” in the winter. As an added bonus, the wet attire will help increase the level of moisture in the dry winter air.
11. Keep air-dried clothes from getting crunchy.
Add one half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, which helps keep clothes soft and gets rid of leftover detergent. Shake out your clothes, then hang them up to dry. If your clothes are still rigid, place them in the dryer for five minutes with a slightly moist rag.
Citation (1) - https://www.energystar.gov/products/energy_star_home_tips