Why is it that some families appear to have their laundry under control, while others find it a struggle to manage the never-ending pile of clothes waiting to be washed, ironed and folded?
We asked some household laundry experts, who manage around 10 loads of washing a week, to share their tips.
Find a rhythm
Most agree that a ‘daily ritual’ that fits in with your schedule is key. “Washing is done in our house at night, Tuesday to Friday” says Rachel, mother of four boys under 12.
A common routine is to do your washing either early in the morning or at night, using the Delay Start setting so your machine starts while you sleep and your clothes are ready when you wake. This prevents creases caused by garments sitting in the machine for too long, uses off-peak electricity and enables you to take advantage of daylight drying hours.
Those who work, or are too time poor to peg their clothes on the line, rely more heavily on their dryer than mother nature, or for some it just depends on the time of year.
“I use our dryer when it’s raining, when the clothes line is full and generally at nights. I like the way it makes our towels fluffy and takes the dampness out of clothes that have been on the line during the winter.
“My husband uses it for his clothes instead of ironing,” says Amie, mother of three children under ten.
Make sorting before and after part of the routine
Fabric type: Collect and sort garments into separate tubs for whites, darks, colours and workwear prior to washing.
“I have a three-compartment laundry hamper, one for colours, whites and blacks. The family ‘usually’ gets it right, but stripes confuse them!,” says Mary, mum of a 12 and 13 year-old boy and girl.
Peter, who takes charge of the laundry in his home, separates the gym gear from the rest of his family’s clothes.
“Every night after work, I put a load of washing on, and I like to wash the gym gear separately,” Peter said.
Sort by family member: Each family members’ clothes are grouped together when either put on the washing line, or taken off and then folded into baskets specific for each person to put away.
Treat stains right the first time
Most say it is critical to treat stains as soon as possible, by treating the area with a stain remover, and either pre-soaking the garment in their washing machine or in a bucket.
There are many sources available to determine the best treatment, including a guide by Miele, whose select machines also feature an integrated Stains programme.
A number of the families we spoke to either iron one hour on a Sunday afternoon, or just before wearing. Here are some short cuts:
Coat Hangers: Hang work shirts directly from the washing machine onto hangers or on the back of chairs to maintain their shape.
“I hang my washed shirts and trousers on hangers so when they’re dry, I simply hang them in the cupboard,” John father of two boys says.
The SteamFinish programme available on Miele clothes dryers inject a shot of hot steam to smooth and loosen the laundry, caressing out wrinkles which can eliminate ironing altogether.
Getting everyone to pitch in
Idle time = folding time: Encourage your family to fold clothes while watching television or Netflix.
Assign tasks: Incentivise your teenagers to fold clothes to earn pocket money
Put your own clothes away: Create a tub for each family member where their folded clothes are placed. Make everyone responsible for putting their own clothes away.
Discover more about Miele’s laundry appliance range here.