Keeping on top of the laundry pile is one of those household chores that never seems to go away.
It’s no coincidence that the most common items in our washing pile are those that come into contact with our body – underwear, socks, personal towels, facecloths, re-useable nappies, sports gear, bed clothes, and towels. Throw in the dish cloths and tea towels that are used as part of food preparation and you have a whole collection of items that are likely contaminated with bacteria like staphylococcus and E.coli. With a young family, vomit and fecal material are also common contaminants so keeping on top of the washing pile is not only satisfying, it also means dirty items are not sitting around cross-contaminating and generating more germs and smells.
To help you keep on top of your washing pile and ensure your washing is hygienically clean, we asked for top tips from the experts – Kidspot Mums!
1. Get sorted
Debbie S has different hampers for whites, coloureds and delicates and has a reward chart to encourage her children to put their washing in the appropriate hampers while Emma W recommends putting a washing basket in each child’s room and wash the contents once a week.
2. Get in early
Kidspot Mums are huge fans of putting your washing on at night so it’s ready to hang out when you have a moment in the morning. Jessica A says her four children shower at night, then she puts the washing on when they’re in bed and hangs it out in the dark.
3. Be regular
Kidspot Mums agree that doing your washing regularly is imperative otherwise it turns into a massive headache, In fact Gem B reckons, “Don’t leave it even for a day as somehow 24 hours worth of extra washing equates to 10 years worth!”
If you’re not too bothered about sorting your washing you could do as Mons G recommends, “Put your washing straight into the washing machine then it’s more obvious when the next load is ready to be done.”
4. Clean the first time
To ensure your washing is hygienically clean, it is recommended that water at a temperature higher than 60°C is used.1 However, if washing in 60°C or higher is not suitable, adding a sanitiser will remove the need to wash regularly at high temperatures.
Kidspot Mum Robyn O uses Dettol Laundry Sanitiser in every wash as she has “a very active toddler who likes to explore his surroundings and goes to kindy three days a week. It’s good to know that if he does pick up germs in his clothes at least it helps eliminate most of them.”
5. Share the load
Kidspot Mum Laura N has taught her older children to use the washing machine and to peg out the washing while her younger ones “help fold washing the best that they can.” Eryn R shares the laundry with her husband. “With both of us doing it it is always kept on top of.”
6. Wrinkle free
Mel R shakes her washing when hanging it out which reduces wrinkles and therefore ironing, while Vanessa K advises to hang “as much as possible on coat hangers to dry – avoids ironing and can instantly be put back in the wardrobe!”
To help avoid the lost sock epidemic Arielle H recommends you put socks in a laundry bag as soon as they are taken off while Sonja R hangs matching socks out together.
8. Each to their own
Michelle M says she hangs “out the washing on the line by person so that when I fold it straight from the line, it is already sorted and ready to go inside”.
Natalia B bought a basket for each of her three children and puts their folded washing into them. “It helps keep their folded clothes nice and tidy until I can carry it to their rooms to put away. Looks better than unsightly clothes piles if you’re caught unawares with visitors!”
Disclaimer: The above information contains third party opinions, which have not been independently verified.
1 Bockmulh, D. P. (2017). Laundry Hygiene – how to get more than clean. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 122, p. 1124-1133.
2 AUT study (2019) tested on 60 samples of wet clothes straight from a completed standard NZ washing cycle (below 60°C, normal detergent). The number of bacteria will vary under different washing practices (temp, washing duration, types of load) and will be reduced depending on the drying process.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “It too will pass”