Laundry day hacks: Use less detergent; presoak for stains

Melanie Lawson helps to get your laundry clean while also being efficient.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The average family does about eight loads of laundry every week. It’s a big job, especially if you have kids.

News4Jax went to an expert for some laundry hacks that will help get those loads squeaky clean and maybe even save you money.

Mike Harris, of Oceanside Cleaners, has been cleaning clothes in Northeast Florida for 30 years. He has 80 employees and washes or dry cleans about 60,000 to 70,000 garments a month.

He has a ton of tricks to get the stains out, but one thing he says doesn’t work using too much detergent.

“We consumers at home over pour our softeners and detergents because it’s only going to use the detergents and softeners that the machine needs,” Harris said.

Melanie Lawson checks back in to give us the results on her laundry hacks test results.

Even Tide suggests using only using one to two teaspoons of detergent, which is way less than the dispenser cup provided. High-efficiency washers need next to no detergent to operate super efficiently.

Even if your clothing is really dirty, it’s suggested to add about 50% more detergent. That would be three teaspoons of liquid detergent instead of two.

Experts said even the dirtiest clothing benefits more from a longer wash time with more water than more detergent. If you’re washing really dirty clothes, it’s more useful to use the pre-soak or pre-wash function on your washing machine than piling in more detergent. That’s why Harris prefers pods over measuring your own detergent.

“The rest is going to stay on the clothes. When it stays on the clothes, it attracts spots. So the pods are really accurate,” he said.

Harris said the hardest stain to get out is red Gatorade but he has tricks for stain removal. He uses Dawn for oil and grease.

Grandma’s secret spot remover to get out stains? Hydrogen peroxide on whites to get out spots that have turned yellow.

He suggests using just a little bit of detergent, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then take a brush and rub it. When the stain starts to lift, you can throw it in the washing machine and wash as usual.

Harris also suggests keeping a bucket nearby to soak clothes that are super dirty if you don’t have a sink devoted to laundry.

Harris said another key is making sure you pick a neutral detergent so your bright colors don’t fade.

Joining live this morning is Melanie Lawson to give us some more tips on whether or not you should wash your clothes at home or take them to a dry cleaner.

About the Author:

Anchor on The Morning Show team and reporter specializing on health issues.