laundry – Practically Functional https://www.practicallyfunctional.com Do it yourself! Tue, 13 Oct 2020 20:28:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/cropped-favicon-32x32.png laundry – Practically Functional https://www.practicallyfunctional.com 32 32 How Often Should You Wash It? A Guide for When to Wash Everything! https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-often-should-you-wash-everything-guide/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-often-should-you-wash-everything-guide/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=46690 Wondering how often you should wash jeans, pajamas, bras, pillows, and other household items? Here’s the ultimate list of how often you should REALLY wash these items!

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Have you ever looked at something and wondered how often you should wash it? A few months ago, I was reading a Facebook debate about how often you should wash jeans. Let me tell you—opinions varied widely and strongly! I saw every answer from “never” (for real?!) to “after each wear” to someone who stored their jeans in the freezer to help them retain their shape. 

This debate got me thinking about all the other pieces of clothing and household items we use and how often you should wash them. Do you really need to wash every piece of clothing every time you wear it? What about towels? Pillows? 

None of us wants to walk around in dirty, smelly clothes. But it’s also no secret that frequent washing can wear out your clothing and shorten its lifespan. So, I decided it was time to figure out (and share), once and for all, how often should you wash…everything! 

large pile of clothes on wooden floor in front of white washing machine and white dryer with text "How often should I wash it? The ultimate guide for when to wash everything!"

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Table of Contents
  1. How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes?
    1. How Often Should You Wash Knits and Casual Wear?
    2. How Often Should You Wash Jeans?
    3. How Often Should You Wash Bras? Underwear? Socks?
    4. How Often Should You Wash Pajamas?
    5. How Often Should You Wash Workout Gear and Athleisure?
    6. How Often Should You Clean Sweaters?
    7. How Often Should You Wash Workwear?
    8. How Often Should You Clean Formal and Dress Attire?
    9. How Often Should You Clean Coats and Outerwear?
  2. How Often Should You Wash These Household Items?
    1. How Often Should You Wash Towels?
    2. How Often Should You Wash Table Linens?
    3. How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?
    4. How Often Should You Wash Pillows?
    5. How Often Should You Wash Blankets and Bedding?

How Often Should You Wash Your Clothes?

There’s no blanket answer to how often you should wash your clothes. This is especially true for children’s clothing and items that see heavy use. With some kids, you’ll probably need to wash shirts and play clothes after each wear (let’s face it, probably after an hour).

Other items, like kid’s dress-up clothes, work clothing, suits, ties, and even pajamas, have different timetables. The first rule is always to check the label and read the manufacturer’s instructions. If you need a guide on what all those little symbols mean, check out my post on deciphering laundry icons and their meanings. (I even created a printable guide to help you translate the hieroglyphics.)

As for the general guidelines, here’s when you should wash the following items.

How Often Should You Wash Knits and Casual Wear?

A lot of casual wear, like tees and tanks are knits, which means you can safely wash these items every time you wear them. Most clothes that you wear next to your body as a base layer should be washed frequently because oil and sweat tend to get trapped in the fibers. Plus, knits tend to stretch out and get misshapen when they aren’t washed regularly. Washing these items after each wear gives you a chance to treat pit stains, too!

Most knits can be washed with like colors, following the guidelines on the label. 100% cotton items tend to shrink a bit during the first few wash and dry cycles, so you may want to let them air dry or remove them from the dryer early. To prevent wrinkles, simply pull the items of out the dryer immediately, and fold them. Hanging can also be good for some items, but keep in mind that hanging can stretch out the neck and lead to shoulder dimpling in some knits. 

How Often Should You Wash Jeans?

The source of the great debate—jeans! So, how often should you really wash your jeans? Well, jean manufacturers recommend washing every 3-10 wears. For raw denim (those expensive, designer jeans), washing should be very sparing to prevent fading, but for “regular” jeans from the Gap or Levi’s, you can safely wash them about every three wears. Oh, and the freezer method? It doesn’t work! 

For dark denim, turning the jeans inside out can help prevent fading. You’ll also want to avoid throwing stretchy denim in the dryer for too long, as the elastic can break down in high heat. Keep in mind, though, if you pull out jeans when they’re still damp, you’ll need to fold or hang them right away, or you may end up with a strange crease pattern.

How Often Should You Wash Bras? Underwear? Socks?

Bras seem to be another area of debate. I’ve explained before why you should always handwash your bras to extend their life and keep them looking great. Wash your bras every 3-6 times you wear it. If you must use the machine, put it in a lingerie bag and wash it on the delicate cycle. Good bras can be a serious investment, and as every gal knows bra shopping is the WORST, so don’t destroy your bra by boiling and cooking it in the wash.

As for underwear and socks, it probably goes without saying, but you should wash these items every time you wear them. Sweat and bacteria accumulate on our feet and nether regions, and it’s hygienic and healthy to wash these items every wear. If you’re concerned about keeping your “good” underwear nice, you can definitely wash them by hand or use a lingerie bag to protect them. As for socks, the best practice is to make sure to unroll them and flatten them out before you throw them in the washer, so they’ll end up properly clean and dry. 

How Often Should You Wash Pajamas?

Pajamas are another clothing item that I get asked about. Do you need to wash your pajamas after every wear? Doesn’t that add so much to your laundry load? Good news! You don’t need to wash your pajamas every time you wear them, especially if you’re just putting them on to go to bed and taking them off in the morning. As long as they still smell fresh and clean, you can wear them 3 or 4 times before washing. You can wait a little longer if you shower at night right before putting on your pj’s. 

Bathrobes can go for many uses before you need to wash them, but again, make sure your robe passes the “sniff” test. If it starts to smell sour or off, then it’s definitely time to wash it. If you only put it on after bathing (and especially if you put it on over your pajamas), then you can wear it quite a few rounds before you need to launder your robe.

How Often Should You Wash Workout Gear and Athleisure?

Workout gear is a little tricky. Unnecessary extra washing can break down fabric, but so can sweat, sunscreen, and deodorant. You may notice that your antiperspirant causes the armpits of your workout tops to get a little stiff or yellow. You can spot-treat pit stains with a bit of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.  

Your sports bra will likely need to be washed after every workout. Hand wash and air dry to help preserve support and elasticity. If you are doing light exercises and sweat minimally (like a gentle yoga workout, for example), then you may want to wash it every other wear. The same goes for yoga pants and leggings.

Unfortunately, unwashed workout clothes can lead to breakouts. The special sweat-wicking fabric      pulls moisture away from your body, but traps it in the fabric fibers. This leads to that sweaty, musty smell that we all want to avoid. If you want to play it safe, wash your workout gear every time you sweat. Yes, the items may not last as long, but look at it as an excuse to shop for more comfy, casual athleisurewear. 

Jackets, sweatshirts, hoodies, and other layered gear don’t require a frequent washing schedule. Laundering these items every 5-10 wears, especially if they’re worn as outer layers to stay warm, is usually enough. As always, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before you throw them in the wash. 

wicker laundry hamper full of clothes in front of a white washing machine and white dryer

How Often Should You Clean Sweaters?

Have you ever pulled a sweater out of the dryer and panicked? It’s easy to forget while you’re in a laundry-doing mood, but most sweaters are dry clean only (see the information about reading labels above). Due to the loose weave of the fibers and materials like synthetics, cotton, and wool, sweaters don’t like too much heat, or even water. 

But dry cleaning gets expensive, especially in the wintertime when your sweaters are in heavy rotation. You can refresh sweaters by gently hand washing them using mild soap and vinegar. Gently roll the sweater in a towel to squeeze out water, and then lay flat to dry.

If you layer your sweaters over another top, you may be able to get away with dry cleaning them once or twice a season. Use caution when you store sweaters for the summer months, though; sweat and food particles can attract moths and other pests, so it’s best to store them after they’re cleaned. 

How Often Should You Wash Workwear?

Assuming you have an office job, you may need to launder jackets, blouses, suits, and ties regularly. Read every single label so that you don’t wreck an expensive piece by accidentally washing it when it’s dry clean only. Once again, you don’t need to have your workwear dry cleaned every single time you wear it. If it smells fresh and is holding the shape, you can probably launder it every 3-4 wears.

Can you do dry cleaning at home? There are special at-home dry cleaning kits you can buy that allow you to clean clothes at home. These kits are useful for refreshing and spot-treating your clothes, but they won’t do the same work that a professional dry cleaner can do. Many natural fabrics can also be washed by hand and ironed at home, but proceed with caution. You may want to test fabric for bleeding or fading in an inconspicuous spot before dunking it in a water bath. Anything that’s embellished or made of delicate materials (like silk) should be left to professionals.  

How Often Should You Clean Formal and Dress Attire?

The little black dress you bring out once or twice a year for the wedding season probably doesn’t need to be cleaned after each wear. Unless you spill during the toast or work up a sweat on the dance floor, you can hang the dress back up in your closet and wear it several times. If you do spill, quickly blot up or scrape off as much of the stain as possible, treat it if you can, and get the item to your dry cleaner ASAP. 

Suits, tuxedoes, and formal dresses should be cleaned by a professional. These items are often far too expensive to make a wash mishap worth the risk. Protect your investment and splurge on dry cleaning after several wears (which may only be every few years).

How Often Should You Clean Coats and Outerwear?

Your winter coat will last almost all season without requiring professional cleaning. Some parkas are machine washable, so check the label. Be sure you remove any fur trim or other accessories, if possible. And zip up or fasten the coat to keep the hardware from damaging the fabric during the wash cycle. 

You should have most coats professionally cleaned before you put them away for the season. Always use a professional cleaner for wool, leather, and suede (or coats with a lot of embellishment). Dry cleaning a coat can be expensive, but it’s often worth the cost of around $25 to preserve an item you’ll wear for several years. 

How Often Should You Wash These Household Items?

Now that we’ve covered the definitive list of how often you should wash your clothing, let’s look at household items. Many of these pieces go under the radar when it comes to regular washing, but after time they can get dust mites, mildew, and worse. Here’s how often you should wash these everyday household items.

How Often Should You Wash Towels?

Do you wash your towel after each use, or do you hang it up and let it dry for the next shower? If you designate one towel per person in your household and they only use the towel after bathing, you don’t need to wash it each time it’s used. Presumably, you’re drying off your clean body that you just washed, so the towel should stay clean as well

Wash bath towels after 3-4 uses. You may want to wash them more frequently if they start to look dingy, if you dye your hair (and the dye transfers to the towel), or if someone in your household uses Benzoyl Peroxide for their skin, which can fade clothing and other items. 

Washcloths should be washed after each use, hand towels should be changed every day or every-other-day, depending on the frequency of use. Kitchen towels need to be cleaned daily to prevent the spread of bacteria and foodborne illness

How Often Should You Wash Table Linens?

Tablecloths are less popular than they were a few decades back. Many of our mothers and grandmothers would clean and starch tablecloths and napkins almost every week. These days, most of us only haul out the “fancy” tablecloth and napkins for special occasions. Placemats and table runners are the norm.

Table decorating trends aside, you can probably get away with washing your tablecloth after several uses, assuming nothing spills on the table. Foods and oils stain, so if there are any drips after Thanksgiving, you’ll want to spot treat and get the tablecloth into the washer right away. Most table coverings are now made from stain-resistant polyester, making them easy-to-wash and wrinkle-free (vintage table linens will need a more delicate touch). 

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets?

You should wash your sheets weekly, at least every other week. Clean sheets are especially important for people who suffer from breakouts and skin problems because oil and sweat can transfer to your bedclothes in the night.  

Fortunately, most sheets are easy to care for. You can simply pop them in the washer and dryer, and they’re ready to go, no special treatment needed. If you remove the sheets from the dryer right away, they’ll stay wrinkle-free and look great. Fold the fitted sheet, then the top sheet, and wrap them inside a pillowcase to keep every set neat and together. 

How Often Should You Wash Pillows?

Allergy sufferers might be surprised to discover that your pillow can be a significant source of discomfort. Pillows trap dust mites, dander, and even pollen. It’s essential to wash your pillows regularly, and even replace them often!

I was amazed at what a difference washing my pillows made. They went from dingy to bright white and brand-new-looking in just one simple wash. It was easy to launder them and now I do it regularly. Experts recommend washing your pillow covers every three weeks, the inner pillow every three months, and replacing pillows every six months to three years. 

pillows in top loading washing machine ready to be washed

How Often Should You Wash Blankets and Bedding?

Like pillows, your comforter and blankets can trap dust mites, pet fur and dander, and more. It’s best to launder your blankets and other bedding regularly. Comforters may require professional dry cleaning or a trip to the laundromat. Often the larger capacity washers and dryers can handle bulky blankets better.

It may seem like a pain to wash these items often, but washing your duvet or comforter once a season will help everyone in your household stay healthy and breathe easily. If someone in your family gets sick, you should wash and clean all the bedding, including the comforter, to prevent the spread of illness.

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of how and how often you should wash everything in your house. Keeping up on your laundry regularly will help make the task less overwhelming and a little easier. Once you get in a routine, you may find that you’re doing less laundry than before (just be sure to take your jeans out of the freezer and put them in the wash)!

infographic of how often should you wash 14 common household items
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How To Hand-Wash Bras, The Right Way! https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-hand-wash-bras/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-hand-wash-bras/#comments Mon, 05 Aug 2019 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=44447 No one has time to hand-wash their bras and other delicates, right? Think again! Hand-washing bras is actually really easy, and quick too. Learn how to hand-wash your bras correctly to keep them clean and make them last longer, because you deserve to have nice things!

The post How To Hand-Wash Bras, The Right Way! was written by Jessi Wohlwend and appeared first on Practically Functional.

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No one has time to hand-wash their bras and other delicates, right? Think again! Hand-washing bras is actually really easy, and quick too. Learn how to hand-wash your bras correctly to keep them clean and make them last longer, because you deserve to have nice things!


When it comes to laundry, I’m just trying to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’m definitely guilty of tossing my bras into the washing machine (on a delicate cycle!) because I just didn’t have time to hand-wash them.

Turns out I was wrong! Hand-washing your bras and other delicates is actually super easy to do, and way quicker than I thought. Plus, hand-washing your bras keeps them from becoming misshapen and makes them last longer, so it’s definitely the best way to care for them.

Here’s how to hand-wash bras the right way. Cuz you deserve to have nice things! (And also, bra shopping is the WORST!)

Learn how to hand wash a bra correctly 1

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How To Hand-Wash Your Bras Correctly

How to hand-wash a bra and other delicates

Hand-washing bras is the best method for keeping them clean and making them last longer. And luckily, it’s easy to do!

  1. Fill a sink with cold water and add 1-2 teaspoons of gentle detergent. (My favorite detergent for hand-washing bras is Soak.)
  2. Add your bras.
  3. Swish the bras around in the water, gently rubbing at the areas that tend to collect the most sweat, like the back band and the center and bottom of the cups.
  4. Let the bras soak in the water for 15 minutes.
  5. Swish and gently rub one more time.
  6. Rinse the bras in clean, cool water (unless you are using a no-rinse detergent like Soak).
  7. Gently fold your bra against a towel to get rid of any excess water. Don’t wring it out; twisting causes too much strain on the delicate fabric.
How to hand wash bras the right way

The “real world” way to wash a bra (in the washing machine)

I get it, even though it only takes like 5 minutes to hand-wash a bra (plus 15 minutes of soaking), we all live in the real world and sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to do it. For those times when you do put your bras in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry, follow these tips to keep them as safe as possible:

  • Close the back and any other hooks, so the bra doesn’t snag and stretch out.
  • Put each bra in its own mesh lingerie bag, so they aren’t roughed up by the heavier fabrics in your machine.
  • Wash them on a delicate cycle using cold water; hot water causes the elastic and spandex to break down quicker.
  • Don’t wash them in the same load as heavy things like towels, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.
How to hand wash delicate bras
© Tarzhanova – stock.adobe.com

How to dry a bra

There’s a “real world” way to wash your bras when you’re really pressed for time, but when it comes to drying your bras I’m going to take a hard line: You MUST air dry your bras. We already know that heat is bad for your bras (it degrades the elastic and spandex), but even a low-heat cycle is too much heat for the delicate fabrics. Many dryers also have a no-heat/tumble dry/air dry cycle, but those aren’t any better because the tumbling is still rough on fancy embellishments and can cause the underwire to bend in weird shapes or poke out of the fabric.

There are two ways you can air dry your bras:

  1. Lay them flat on a towel. Lay the bra flat with the cups facing up, then re-shape the cups before leaving it to dry so they don’t dry with weird creases.
  2. Hang them on a drying rack or clothes hanger. If you hang your bra to dry, NEVER hang it by the straps or from one end of back clasp. The weight of the bra when it’s wet can cause the straps or back band to stretch out. The best way to hang it is from the center gore (the fabric between the two cups); just let the cups hang down on either side of the hanger. And make sure to re-shape the cups if they got a little flattened in the wash.
Learn how to hand wash bras the right way to make them last longer

Bra care and storage tips

Bras aren’t cheap, so here are a few more tips to make sure you get the most out of your investment.

  • Wash your bras every 3-6 wearings
  • Rotate bras between wearings to give them a rest (don’t wear the same bra two days in a row)
  • A bra’s lifespan is generally about 3 years before the elastic is worn out, even with the best care.
  • Store your bras standing up in a drawer. You can nest them together with the cups inside of each other to help them retain their shape, but don’t fold them in half.

Want to share this article with your friends? Share to Facebook, Pinterest, or send the article by email—just click on any of the share buttons floating on the left, or find them at the top and bottom of this post.

Below is a printable version of this post; click the large “Print” button to print out the instructions. If you like this post, leave a review by clicking the stars or by clicking the Review button! That way I know which types of how-to’s and projects you guys like and which I should do more of!

How to hand wash delicate bras
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How To Hand Wash Bras

No one has time to hand-wash their bras and other delicates, right? Think again! Hand-washing bras is actually really easy, and quick too. Learn how to hand-wash your bras correctly to keep them clean and make them last longer, because you deserve to have nice things!
Cook Time 5 minutes
Wait Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Jessi Wohlwend

Ingredients

Instructions

How To Hand Wash A Bra

  • Fill a sink with cold water and add 1-2 teaspoons of gentle detergent.
  • Add your bras.
  • Swish the bras around in the water, gently rubbing at the areas that tend to collect the most sweat, like the back band and the center and bottom of the cups.
  • Let the bras soak in the water for 15 minutes.
  • Swish and gently rub one more time.
  • Rinse the bras in clean, cool water (unless you are using a no-rinse detergent).
  • Gently fold your bra against a towel to get rid of any excess water.
  • To dry, lay the bra flat on a towel, or hang it by the center gore (the fabric between the two cups).

How To Machine Wash A Bra

  • Close the back and any other hooks, so the bra doesn’t snag and stretch out.
  • Put each bra in its own mesh lingerie bag so they aren’t roughed up by the heavier fabrics in your machine.
  • Wash them on a delicate cycle using cold water; hot water causes the elastic and spandex to break down quicker.
  • Don’t wash them in the same load as heavy things like towels, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.

Notes

  • Wash your bras every 3-6 wearings
  • Rotate bras between wearings to give them a rest (don’t wear the same bra two days in a row)
  • A bra’s lifespan is generally about 3 years before the elastic is worn out, even with the best care.
  • Store your bras standing up in a drawer. You can stack them with the cups inside of each other to help them retain their shape, but don’t fold them in half.
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How To Remove Yellow Sweat Stains From Your Clothes The Easy Way! https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-remove-yellow-sweat-stains/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-remove-yellow-sweat-stains/#comments Thu, 30 Nov 2017 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com?p=27501&preview=true&preview_id=27501 This is a sponsored post by the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda. I received compensation for this…

The post How To Remove Yellow Sweat Stains From Your Clothes The Easy Way! was written by Jessi Wohlwend and appeared first on Practically Functional.

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This is a sponsored post by the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda. I received compensation for this campaign but the opinions are 100% my own.

When it comes to doing laundry, finding yellow sweat stains in the armpits of your shirts is a pretty common problem. And unfortunately, the stains don’t usually just come out when you do a regular load of laundry. But, there is a way to clean those armpit stains, and all you need are a few simple ingredients you can get at your local grocery store! Today I’m going to share with you my miracle underarm stain remover recipe and show you how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes.

how to remove yellow sweat stains

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The secret ingredient in this recipe is ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda; it’s an all natural, super powerful cleaning agent and laundry booster, and we use it all the time! It’s great for tough laundry stains, but it’s also a really awesome general household cleaner that you can use in the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere in your home. Check out all the ways you can use it here. If you want to try it out, you can save $.75 on ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda and other great products at your local store or retailer by grabbing a coupon here.

How To Remove Yellow Sweat Stains

  • 15 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 2 hours (time spent waiting around)
  • 2 hours and 15 minutes (total project time)

Ingredients

  • ½ C ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda
  • ½ C hydrogen peroxide
  • 3 T liquid dish soap
  • 1 C vinegar
  • 4 C warm water

Supplies

  • washing machine
  • scrub brush
  • tub for soaking

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

Instructions

My husband’s undershirts have the worst armpit stains on them; it’s gotten so bad recently that he can’t even wear the shirts anymore because they’re so discolored! Here’s what his shirts looked like before. The photo doesn’t even really do it justice…it’s bad!

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

To remove yellow sweat stains from your shirt(s), start by mixing together the Super Washing Soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dish soap in a bowl until it forms a soupy paste. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural whitening agent, the dish soap will help cut any grease or residue on the stain, and the Super Washing Soda will lift it right up and out of the fabric.

Lay your shirt out on a clean towel and apply the paste to the stain, making sure to cover the entire area. Gently scrub the area with a scrub brush to really get the mixture into the fabric of the shirt. The point here is just to work the paste into the fabric; the stain isn’t going to come out at this point, so don’t work too hard!

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

If the paste soaks into the shirt as you’re scrubbing, that’s fine! When you’re done scrubbing, apply a little more paste to fully cover the stained area, then set the shirt aside. Let the paste soak into the shirt for ten minutes.

While the paste soaks into the shirt, mix up another batch of the same solution of Super Washing Soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap in a large tub of water. Make sure everything is well dissolved in the water. Once the paste has soaked into your shirt for ten minutes, dump your shirt (paste and all!) into the tub of water with the dissolved cleaning solution and leave it there to soak. It can soak for an hour or up to overnight.

If you’re cleaning a bunch of shirts at once, you can soak them all together in the same tub.

Once the shirts are done soaking, gently squeeze the liquid out of the shirts so that they aren’t dripping wet.

Next, soak your shirts in a 1:4 vinegar to warm water solution. Again, you can soak a bunch of shirts at the same time if you want; just make sure that you keep the 1 C vinegar to 4 C warm water ratio. The vinegar helps to penetrate the stain and loosen any residue and grease, plus it will help kill any lingering odors.

Leave the shirts soaking for at least half an hour.

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

The last step is to toss all of your shirts into your washing machine and clean them on a regular cycle. If you want to add an extra boost to your laundry, add ½ C of Super Washing Soda along with your regular detergent.

Dry your shirts like normal, and you’re done! (Double check to make sure all of the paste is gone from the shirts before you dry them, just in case!) Your shirts will be clean, fresh, and looking brand new again!

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

His shirts haven’t been this white since we first bought them!

By the way, the yellow sweat stains in the armpits of your shirts aren’t actually caused by sweat! The stains are a reaction to the aluminum in your antiperspirant. So this recipe works GREAT if you want to clean up the sweat stains on your shirts, but if you want to prevent them from coming back once your shirts are clean, switch to a deodorant without aluminum in it.

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

Pro Tip: We mostly notice yellow sweat stains on white or light colored clothing, but it happens on dark shirts too! This recipe is totally safe for dark shirts, but I recommend cleaning your light shirts and dark shirts in two separate batches just in case some color escapes while you’re soaking them.

Another Pro Tip: Add ½ cup of ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda to all your laundry loads to boost your detergent performance!

how to remove yellow sweat stains from your clothes the easy way

Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

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Disclosure: I received compensation from Ahalogy and ARM & HAMMER™ in exchange for my participation in this campaign, and my honest discussion of their products. But super washing soda is seriously amazing and all opinions in this post are 100% my own. I would never write a post about something I didn’t think was useful or interesting for you guys, and Practically Functional will only publish sponsored posts for companies or products I love and believe in! 🙂

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Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/simple-diy-laundry-basket-dresser/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/simple-diy-laundry-basket-dresser/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2016 13:00:38 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=22104 Laundry is a never-ending chore in our house, but I recently built something that makes it SO much easier and…

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Laundry is a never-ending chore in our house, but I recently built something that makes it SO much easier and more efficient: a laundry basket dresser! It holds nine laundry baskets that slide in and out of the dresser so you can easily put clothes in and take them out. Plus, I put a really nice wood top on this dresser so that I can use the top of it as a laundry folding and sorting station.

Now when it’s time to do laundry, I can just dump all the dirty clothes on top of the dresser and then sort them into baskets for darks, colors, whites, etc. Once a load is finished in the dryer I can put the clean clothes back on top of the dresser, fold them, and sort them into the “clean clothes” baskets to be taken back upstairs and put away. This laundry basket dresser makes doing laundry so much simpler, and it helps keep our laundry area so much tidier. Today I’m going to show you how to make one yourself, including a cut list so that you can get your lumber pre-cut at the hardware store!

Great idea to get your laundry room organized! Make a simple laundry basket dresser to store your laundry baskets, and use the stained and sealed top for sorting and folding!

Building this laundry basket dresser has been on my to-do list for a long time, but I never seemed to get around to it. Then when Minwax® reached out and asked if I would like to partner with them on a project, I figured it was the perfect opportunity. And now that I have this thing in our basement laundry area, I can’t believe I ever did laundry without it!

My laundry baskets are 2 bushel Sterilite Ultra laundry baskets, and this tutorial will show you how to make a 3×3 dresser that fits these baskets exactly. But if your laundry baskets are a different size or you want a different configuration for your dresser, just adjust the measurements in this tutorial to fit your preferred baskets and configuration!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser pieces

 

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser

  • 4 hours (time spent doing stuff)
  • 4 hours (time spent waiting around)
  • 8 hours (total project time)

Tools

Materials

Cut List

  • Two 5’ x 2’4” pieces of 3/4” plywood for the top and bottom of the box
  • One 5’ x 1’8” piece of 3/4” plywood for the back (this should be a “leftover” from cutting the top or bottom piece out of an 8’ sheet of plywood)
  • Four 3’6” x 2’4” pieces of 3/4” plywood for the verticals
  • Eighteen 2’4” 2x2s (you can get these cut out of three 12’ 2x2s and one 8’ 2×2)
  • Two 4’4” 2x4s
  • Two 1’5” 2x4s (you can get all the 2×4 cuts out of one 12’ 2×4)
  • One 5’2” x 2’6” piece of 3/4” AB plywood for the finished top piece

NOTE: I bought three 8’ sheets of 3/4” particle board and got all of my plywood cuts from those (except the AB piece for the finished top), with a few scraps leftover. You can use particle board or plywood, whichever you’d prefer; it’s all going to be painted and covered up at the end anyway!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser materials needed

Instructions

The first step is to make sure you have all your lumber cut to the right length. Most places like Home Depot or Lowes will cut the pieces down for you when you buy them, so make sure you take the cut list with you when you go shopping!

Building the end pieces:

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser vertical piece dimensions 2

Drill three holes all the way through one 2×2 cleat, one hole near each end of the cleat and one hole in the center. The exact spacing of the holes doesn’t matter, just make sure that you get three holes and that you drill the holes with a drill bit that is just ever so slightly larger than the threads on your 2” screws. Repeat for five additional 2x2s so that you have six cleats with holes in them.

TIP: When you’re attaching two pieces of wood together and you want the screw to pull the two pieces of wood super tight as you drive it, you want to pre-drill a hole in one piece of wood that is ever so slightly larger than your screws. This way the screw easily fits through the first piece of wood and the threads of the screw don’t “grab” anything until they hit the second piece of wood. As you drive the screw it easily spins through the first piece, then grabs the second piece of wood and pulls it tight to the first piece.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser pre drill holes in the cleats

Measure and mark the piece of plywood where your cleats will attach. Put a thin line of wood glue on the back of one of the cleats with holes in it, then clamp it into place on the piece of plywood you are using for one of your end pieces. Drive 2” screws through the pre-drilled holes to attach the cleat to the plywood, then wipe away any extra glue that squeezed out of the joint.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attach the cleats to the center verticals

Repeat this process to attach two more cleats to the end piece, then repeat the whole process again to create the second end piece.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser end piece

Building the interior vertical pieces:

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser vertical piece dimensions

This part is similar to building the end pieces, except that you need to attach cleats to both sides of the plywood instead of just one side.

Measure and mark the piece of plywood where your cleats will attach. Put a thin line of glue on the back of a cleat, and position it on the plywood. Clamp the cleat into place, and then drill three holes through both the cleat and the plywood, one hole near each end of the cleat, and one hole in the center. Then put a thin line of glue on the back of a second cleat and position it on the back of the plywood, in line with the first cleat.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attaching the cleats to the central vertical

Clamp both cleats to the piece of plywood, then drive 3” screws through the pre-drilled holes to attach both cleats to the plywood. Wipe away any excess glue that squeezed out of the joints.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attaching the cleats to the verticals

Repeat the process to attach two more pairs of cleats to the interior vertical piece, then repeat the whole process again to make a second interior vertical piece.

Attaching the top and bottom plywood pieces:

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser top dimensions

To attach the top and bottom pieces, start with the two interior vertical pieces first. Put a thin line of wood glue on the top and bottom edges of both interior vertical pieces, then lay the pieces out and use pipe clamps to hold it all in place.

Pipe clamps are really great for clamping large pieces of furniture, plus they’re pretty inexpensive! The pipe clamp ends attach to any standard 3/4” pipe, so once you get the ends (which you can find at most hardware stores), you can get any length pipe, meaning you can clamp even really big stuff like a dining room table! I actually bought four 36” sections of pipe, and when I need a long clamp, like for this project, I just connect two pipe sections so that I have a 72” clamp instead of a 36” clamp.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attach the two central verticals

Drill six holes through the top piece of plywood and into the top edge of the interior vertical piece using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of your 1-5/8” screws.

TIP: When driving a screw into the end of a board, you always want to pre-drill a slightly smaller hole so that the screw doesn’t split the wood as you drive it.

Then drive 1-5/8” screws through each hole to attach the top to the interior vertical piece.

Repeat the process to attach both interior vertical pieces to the top and bottom pieces. Then remove the clamps and repeat the whole process (glue, clamps, pre-drilling holes, and driving screws) to attach the end pieces to the top and bottom pieces.

And voila! You have most of the laundry basket dresser built!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attach the two end pieces

Attaching the back:

To give the laundry basket dresser some stability, and to help keep it square, you need to attach a back piece to the dresser. While the dresser is still laying down on the ground, lay the back piece on the dresser, lining up the top and two sides with the dresser below.

Make sure the dresser is square by measuring diagonally across the dresser from corner to corner. Then measure the other diagonal; if the measurements are the same, then the dresser is square. If the measurements aren’t the same, push a little on the corner of the larger measurement, then measure again.

Then pre-drill holes and drive 1-5/8” screws along the top, down the end pieces, and down the interior vertical pieces, spacing the screws about 6” to 8” apart.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser attach the back piece to make the dresser sturdy

Building the base frame:

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser base frame dimensions

If you’re planning to use the top of your dresser for folding and sorting laundry, you’ll want to build a base frame for the dresser to sit on so that you have a kick: a little space to put your toes under the dresser while you work.

Put a thin line of wood glue on the ends of the shorter 2x4s, then butt them against the longer 2x4s as shown above. Attach them all together using two 3” screws at each corner, remembering to pre-drill your holes first.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser assembling the base frame

Finishing touches:

Since the plywood (or particle board in my case) isn’t pretty wood, I painted it to cover up the imperfections. I used a roller to prime the dresser, and a small brush to get in the corners and joints around the cleats.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser priming the interior

Once the primer was dry I did the same thing using a blue/grey paint to add color.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser painted interior

Making the finished top piece:

Since I wanted to use the top of my laundry basket dresser for sorting and folding laundry, I knew it had to be a nicer piece of wood than plywood; I didn’t want the rough plywood snagging our clothes as I did laundry. So I bought a nice piece of AB plywood to use as the finished top piece.

TIP: Plywood comes in grades, A, B, C, and D. A and B are nicer pieces of plywood, meaning there are few, if any, knots or holes that have been repaired, and the entire board has been sanded smooth. C and D are more economical pieces of plywood, meaning you’ll see more patched knots and voids, and some defects may even be left as is.

I decided to stain it a nice grey color to go with the blue/grey of the base cabinet, so I went to Home Depot and had them mix up a beautiful Slate grey stain using Minwax®’s Water Based Wood Stain. I love their water based stain because it dries really fast, which means I can get all of the staining and finishing done in one day rather than having to stretch it out over a couple of days. And it cleans up with just soap and water, which is a huge bonus. Plus their water based stain is available in 40 custom mix colors, so you can do some really fun stuff with wood, like stain it bright pink!

In order to get the best finish on your top piece, you need to prep the wood with a pre-stain conditioner, stain it, and then add a clear protective finish.

Start by sanding the plywood to a smooth finish. Use a medium sandpaper (#120 grit) to start, sanding in the direction of the grain. Then sand again using a fine sandpaper (#220 grit). Remove the dust from the surface of the plywood using a baby wipe.

Next, apply Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Read the directions on the can for specific instructions, but I like to use a soft cloth and rub in the direction of the wood grain.

TIP: Wood absorbs stain at different rates, which can result in blotchy color. The wood conditioner helps prevent this by conditioning the surface of the wood so that it stains more evenly.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser pre condition the wood for the top piece

Let the wood conditioner soak into the wood for 1 to 5 minutes, then wipe away any excess with a clean, soft cloth.

Allow the plywood to dry for about half an hour, then lightly sand it using #220 grit sandpaper. The wood conditioner can raise up the grain of the wood, so you want to sand that back down before you apply stain.

Again, read the directions on the can for detailed instructions, but I also like to apply wood stain using a soft cloth, rubbing in the direction of the wood grain. Apply a liberal amount of stain to your plywood and let it sit for a minute or two, then wipe away any excess stain using a clean, soft cloth.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser stain the top piece

If you find any weird variations in color, you can rewet the lighter area with a little more stain and rub the stain into the surface, blending the uneven colors.

Let the stain dry for at least two hours. If you want a darker color, you can reapply a second coat of stain after two hours. There’s no need to sand between coats of stain; you’ll just sand away the color if you do!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser stained top piece

Once you’re happy with your color, it’s time to apply a clear protective finish!

Again, the instructions on the can will give you all the details you need to know, but I like to apply Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish using a synthetic bristle brush. Stir the finish often to keep it from settling while you work, and apply thin coats in the direction of the wood grain.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser seal the top with polycrylic

Once you have applied a thin coat of finish to your plywood, “tip off” the plywood by running the brush lightly over the entire length of the piece at a 45 degree angle. This will help straighten out any brush marks and remove any excess finish.

Let the finish dry for at least two hours, then lightly sand the plywood with #220 grit sandpaper, wipe away the dust with a baby wipe, and apply another thin coat of finish. I like to do three coats of finish, letting each coat dry at least two hours before sanding. Once your third coat is dry, you’re done!

Putting it all together:

Using wood glue and 1” screws, attach the finished top piece to the plywood top of the dresser, driving the screws from inside the dresser into the finished top piece.

If you stain and seal the top piece of this simple laundry basket dresser it can double as a folding and sorting station

I covered the top edge of my cleats with a small piece of plastic shelf liner to help prevent the laundry basket from scraping flecks of paint into our laundry as it slides in and out. I cut a shelf liner to size and attached it using spray adhesive. I let the adhesive dry for about an hour, and then the laundry basket dresser was ready to go!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser use cut up shelf liners to protect the cleats from the laundry basket

I printed out labels for the laundry baskets and laminated them, then I attached them to the laundry baskets using zip ties. And now my laundry basket dresser is ready for use; I can’t wait to do laundry nowadays!

Build a simple laundry basket dresser for your laundry room

The piece is so functional, but also really beautiful! I love how the stain on the top piece complements the color of the base, but I can still see the gorgeous wood grain through it. And I love how smooth the top is; it’s perfect for sorting dirty clothes waiting to be washed, and folding clean clothes right out of the dryer!

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser stained and sealed top piece doubles as a folding and sorting station

See how Minwax® can help you enrich the wood and create beautiful and meaningful pieces in your home at Minwax.com/madewithlove.

Simple DIY Laundry Basket Dresser

This simple DIY laundry basket dresser holds 9 laundry baskets and has a smooth, sealed top piece so you can use it as a folding and sorting station!

Use this simple DIY laundry basket dresser to keep your laundry room organized!

This laundry basket dresser is a great idea for keeping your laundry room organized! And the top is smooth so you can use it for sorting and folding!

Build a simple laundry basket dresser to organize your laundry room, with a smooth top for folding and sorting!

Build a simple DIY laundry basket dresser to help keep your laundry room organized; holds 9 laundry baskets and the smooth top can be used for sorting and folding!

Shop this project:

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Disclosure: I received compensation from Minwax® for my participation in this campaign and my honest discussion of their products. But the water based three piece stain system from Minwax® (and all of their products, really) is seriously amazing and all opinions in this post are 100% my own. I would never write a post about something I didn’t think was useful or interesting for you guys, and Practically Functional will only publish sponsored posts for companies or products I love and believe in! 🙂

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DIY Crib Spring Drying Rack https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-crib-spring-drying-rack/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-crib-spring-drying-rack/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:22:42 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com?p=22257&preview_id=22257 It’s starting to get a little rainy here in Chicago, which means soon I won’t be able to use my…

The post DIY Crib Spring Drying Rack was written by Jessi Wohlwend and appeared first on Practically Functional.

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It’s starting to get a little rainy here in Chicago, which means soon I won’t be able to use my DIY pulley clothesline anymore. It’s been great to be able to hang our laundry and AJ’s diapers out in the sun, but I can only use the clothesline in the summer; it’s too rainy in spring and fall, and too snowy in the winter. So I decided I needed a way to hang laundry and diapers indoors during the rainy season. I was out in the garage and saw an old crib spring that I used for JM’s advent calendar last year, and realized it was the perfect solution!

What a great idea! Turn an old crib spring into a drying rack for your laundry room!

This crib spring makeover only took a few minutes, and now it’s a totally fun and functional laundry room accessory!

DIY Crib Spring Drying Rack

  • 30 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 1 hour (time spent waiting around)
  • 1 and a half hours (total project time)

Tools

Materials

Instructions

This project is so simple, it barely requires “instructions”, but I’ll tell you what I did and if you want to make your own crib spring drying rack, just follow along!

I started by giving the crib spring a quick wipe down with some diaper wipes I had on hand. Before you paint you want to make sure that the surface is clean and free of dust. My crib spring wasn’t dirty or rusty so I didn’t need to do more than just wipe the dust off, but if yours is dirty or rusty, make sure you clean it fully before you paint!

Transform an old crib spring into a functional laundry room accessory with a coat of spray paint!

Then I set the crib spring on a large piece of cardboard and gave it a coat of navy blue spray paint. I did a really light coat, but the thing is so large that by the time I finished spraying the whole thing, the first section was dry enough to spray a second light coat to make sure I had full coverage.

Give the crib spring a coat of spray paint

Once the paint was dry I carried it down to the basement laundry area. Our basement isn’t finished, so I figured the exposed floor joists in the ceiling were the perfect place to hang the crib spring drying rack! JM helped me install four screw hooks into the floor joists, then we threaded heavy duty zip ties through the hooks and through the crib spring and pulled them tight. And voila, the crib spring drying rack was securely hung from the basement ceiling!

Turn a crib spring into a laundry room drying rack!

The crib spring is perfect as a drying rack because it has so many different places you can hang things from! I can easily fit a coat hanger over the wires, and space them out however I’d like. Or I can clip things up with clothespins just like I do on my clothesline.

It’s super easy to pull delicate clothes out of the wash and hang them on the rack after I put the rest of the load into the dryer. And we don’t dry AJ’s cloth diapers in the dryer, so this is the perfect diaper solution for spring, fall, and winter when I can’t hang them outside. It’s also a great place to hang wet rags or towels to let them dry so they don’t sit, sopping wet, in a hamper somewhere and start to stink before I can wash them!

Turn an old crib spring into drying rack for your laundry room!

And the best part is, it’s out of the way so I can still walk around in the basement without running into hanging clothes!

This drying rack used to be a crib spring!

How do you hang your clothes to dry?

Turn an old crib spring into a functional laundry room accessory! This DIY drying rack is so quick and easy to make!

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How To Clean The Ring Around The Collar Of Your Dress Shirts https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/clean-ring-around-the-collar/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/clean-ring-around-the-collar/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:17:10 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=22133 My husband wears button down shirts to work every day, and lately I’ve been noticing that even after I wash…

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My husband wears button down shirts to work every day, and lately I’ve been noticing that even after I wash them, they still have a dirty ring around the collar. Every single collared shirt he owns has a seemingly permanent ring around the collar that I just couldn’t get rid of, even after pre-soaking the shirts in stain remover and scrubbing at them. But then I discovered there’s a simple trick to cleaning the dirty ring around the collar: dishwasher detergent. I gave it a try and every single one of his shirts came clean; they look brand new again! Today I’m sharing how easy it is to clean those dirty shirt collars, and how you can do it too!

This is a really easy way to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts! All you need is dishwasher detergent!

Here is what the collars on just a few of my husband’s shirts looked like before I cleaned them. Yuck!

Learn how to clean the dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts

How To Clean The Ring Around The Collar Of Your Dress Shirts

  • 15 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 1 hour (time spent waiting around)
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes (total project time)

Tools

Materials

Use dishwasher detergent to clean the dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts!

Instructions

Mix the dishwasher detergent with water until it forms a paste. I used about 2 tbsp of detergent and had more than enough to clean five shirts, so you don’t need much!

Run the collar of your shirt under cold water until both the front and the back of the collar are totally wet.

Using your fingers, rub the paste onto the stained shirt collar so that it covers all of the dirty spots.

Make a paste and apply it to the ring around the collar

Don’t worry if the paste is a little spotty like in my photo above; as long as your collar was wet all the way through with water before you added the paste, the water will help spread the soap over the whole stain, even if there isn’t a large clump of soap sitting right on top of every dirty spot.

Let your shirt sit for about an hour with the paste on the collar.

After an hour the paste will probably be dried up and hard, but that’s fine! Just run the collar under cold water again until the paste loosens up a bit, then scrub at the collar with a toothbrush or bristle brush.

Scrub the ring around the collar

Scrub hard! You should see most of the dirt coming out as you scrub, but there may be some slight discoloration left, like in my photo above. Don’t worry about that! Once you’ve scrubbed the heck out of the collar, toss the shirt into the washer and wash it like normal with your next load of laundry.

When you pull the shirt out of the washer, the ring around the collar will be totally gone!

The dirty ring around the collar of your dress shirts is gone!

So much better!

This shows you how to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts!

This works so well to clean the ring around the collar of your dress shirts!

I actually use dishwasher detergent all the time in my laundry; it really helps to cut the grease and oils on your clothing! Check out how to wash and whiten pillows and pillowcases in your washing machine!

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How To Make A DIY Pulley Clothesline https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-pulley-clothesline/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-pulley-clothesline/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=21960 When we moved into this house there was a small clothesline in the backyard. I loved using it to hang…

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When we moved into this house there was a small clothesline in the backyard. I loved using it to hang AJ’s cloth diapers to dry, but as I was hanging a load of diapers up to dry one day, the line snapped in half! It was this cheap plastic-covered synthetic line and it had been sagging pretty bad lately, so I wasn’t all that surprised when it broke. I figured if I had to replace the clothesline anyway, I might as well make it nice, functional, and strong. I bought some pulleys, cotton clothesline, and a few other supplies and made my own DIY pulley clothesline. The step by step instructions are below if you want to make one for your own yard!

This tutorial shows you how to make a DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener and clothesline spreaders to keep the line from sagging

When planning out my new clothesline, here were the most important features I wanted it to have:

  • Strong: The clothesline needs to be strong enough not to break, even under the weight of a bunch of clothes or diapers.
  • No sagging: The clothesline needs to not sag under the weight of the clothes, or stretch out over time.
  • Pulley: I want to easily put clothes up and take them down, so I wanted a pulley clothesline.
  • Easily removable: My husband and I are both tall, so I want to make sure that I can easily take the clothesline down when we’re not using it so that we don’t hit our heads on it.

How To Make A DIY Pulley Clothesline

  • 20 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 0 minutes (time spent waiting around)
  • 20 minutes (total project time)

Tools

Materials

Supplies needed to make a DIY pulley clothesline with line tightener

Instructions

First you need to find a sturdy place to install your clothesline. I installed our clothesline between our detached garage and our house, but you can also attach the ends to a large tree, a sturdy fence, or a shed. Or if you want your line to run along the side or back of your house, you can install the clothesline between two large, sturdy brackets attached to your house like they did over at Homestead Revival.

When you’re ready to install your clothesline, drill a pilot hole for your screw hook, then screw the hook into your house, garage, tree, or whatever. Make sure it’s screwed all the way in, then clip one of your pulleys to it using a carabiner.

Attach a pulley to a wall with a screw hook and carabiner to make a DIY pulley clothesline

Repeat the process for the second screw hook at the other end of your clothesline.

Now it’s time to thread your clothesline! With a pulley clothesline you’ll have two parallel clotheslines running between your pulleys, one on top of the other. If you’re using a line tightener and line spreaders, the line tightener normally goes on the lower of the two clotheslines so that you can add the line spreaders as you add your clothes and it will all slide through the pulleys without the line spreader getting stuck on the tightener. But I chose to add my line tightener on the upper line so that I would have some extra room to hang clothes on the lower line. This means that I have to walk down the line and add the line spreaders to the line after I have hung all the clothes, but our line is short and it’s worth it to save the extra space for clipping up clothes!

Take your clothesline and tie it onto the loop end of the line tightener. Then take the other end of the clothesline and thread it through one pulley from the top to the bottom, then run your clothesline over to the other pulley and thread it through from the bottom to the top. Bring the clothesline back over to the first pulley so that it meets up with the line tightener. You want to leave yourself at least 3 feet of clothesline to thread through the line tightener, but you can cut off any extra clothesline beyond that. Thread the cut end through the line tightener and pull tight. (This will put your line tightener on the upper line like mine is; if you want your line tightener on the lower line, just thread the clothesline from bottom to top of the first pulley and top to bottom on the second pulley.)

If you’re using the same tightener I used, you have to pull on the body of the tightener to open up the ball bearings, slide the clothesline through the opening, and release the body of the tightener. The ball bearings will grip the clothesline tight; to tighten the line just pull on the loose end of the line hanging out the back of the tightener.

And you’re done!

Use a line tightener to keep your DIY pulley clothesline tight even after lots of use

I hung a canvas clothespin bag at the other end because that’s where I stand to hang clothes up and take them down.

DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener

The beauty of the pulley system is that you can completely fill your clothesline without having to walk down the line as you go! Start with the line tightener all the way at the opposite end of the line from you, then hang your first piece of clothing on the lower line closest to you. As you continue hanging clothing, pull the clothesline through the pulley until you have everything hung up and the line tightener is against the pulley closest to you. If you start hanging clothes while the tightener is in the middle, it’s going to run into the pulley closest to you and the line will get stuck halfway through and you’ll have to walk over to the other half of the line to finish hanging your clothes.

(If your line tightener is on the lower line instead of the upper line, start with the line tightener up against the pulley closest to you, then move the line out a few feet and start hanging clothes after the tightener. You can add the clothesline spreaders along with the clothes as you go, or you can add them at the end like I do.)

Learn how to make a DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener and two clothesline spreaders

It’s totally normal for your clothesline to sag a bit under the weight of the laundry, and of course, cotton clotheslines will stretch out over time with use, but that’s why you have a line tightener. Once you get your laundry hung up (or any time you notice the clothesline sagging), pull the loose end of the clothesline through the line tightener until it’s tight. The lower line will probably still be sagging a bit, but that’s what the clothesline spreaders are for. Just clip them onto your clothesline in a few places and they will help keep the upper and lower lines together instead of sagging.

DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener and two clothesline spreaders

Once the clothes are dry, you can go back to the same side of the clothesline you started on and start unclipping clothing, pulling the lower clothesline towards you as you unclip. When you’re finished, your line tightener should be all the way back over against the far pulley again.

If you want to disassemble your clothesline when you’re not using it, loosen the line tightener slightly to give yourself some slack, and unclip one of the pulleys from the carabiner. Then you can gather up the clothesline (I like to loop it around my wrist and elbow like an extension cord) and hang it over the other screw hook so that it’s all contained together. When I want to use the clothesline again, I just clip the pulley to the carabiner again, pull the line tight through the tightener, and it’s ready to go!

DIY pulley clothesline that you can easily remove and reinstall so you don t hit your head

One thing to note when deciding where to place your clothesline is the angle of your screw hooks. The screw hook in our house is around the corner, perpendicular to the clothesline, but the screw hook in the garage is straight in line with the clothesline. It is much worse to have the force of the clothesline pulling straight on, so if you can manage to put the hook around the corner of something to get that right angle, it’s much sturdier.

We didn’t really have a choice on the garage because there is a downspout on that corner that would be in the way of the clothesline if I put the hook around the corner, and if you don’t have any other good options, it’s totally fine to put the screw hook straight on to the clothesline. But if you have options, go with the right angle for a sturdier installation!

DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener to keep the line from sagging

Learn how to make a DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener and two clothesline spreaders to keep the line from sagging

Do you hang your clothes to dry? We can only do it in the summer because it’s rainy and snowy the rest of the year, but I love line-drying our clothes in the summer; they smell so fresh and clean when I bring them indoors!

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Learn how to make a DIY pulley clothesline with a line tightener and clothesline spreaders to keep the line from sagging

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How To Clean A Dryer Vent – Remove lint and prevent fires! https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-clean-dryer-vent/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/how-to-clean-dryer-vent/#comments Sat, 02 Apr 2016 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/?p=20744 Did you know you’re supposed to clean your dryer vent once a year?! I had heard that before, but I…

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Did you know you’re supposed to clean your dryer vent once a year?! I had heard that before, but I figured that was just a manufacturer’s recommendation, and those always seem a little excessive. But it turns out there is a GREAT reason to clean your dryer vent once a year; it helps remove lint build-up and can prevent fires!

When the heat turns on in the winter, it dries out the air and everything gets staticky. Static electricity is annoying when you accidentally shock yourself while walking around the house, but it can also be incredibly dangerous if it ignites lint that has built up in and around your clothes dryer. You can hire a professional to come clean your dryer vent, but that gets expensive, and you can do it yourself in about fifteen minutes! Today I’m going to show you how to clean a dryer vent to remove any lint build-up and prevent the possibility of a fire!

How to clean a dryer vent to remove lint build up and prevent a fire!

It’s actually quite simple to clean your dryer vent, as long as you have access to the vent hose. If you can see the entire vent hose from where it connects at the back of your dryer to where it goes out the wall to the outside, then you can clean out the lint build-up yourself!

How To Clean A Dryer Vent

You only need a few tools to do this yourself. Here’s what you need:

The first thing you need to do is pull your dryer away from the wall so you can access the dryer vent hose. Unplug your dryer, and turn off the gas if it’s a gas dryer.

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Wait, what?! PAUSE! When I pulled our dryer away from the wall there was a GIANT hole in the dryer vent hose! Ok…this is not supposed to happen folks! But it definitely explains why our laundry area was covered in so much lint!

For 99.99% of you, when you pull your dryer away from the wall, you will see the hose, and some lint, but the hose will be fully intact, as it should be. I have no idea what happened to the dryer vent hose, but I’m sure glad I decided to clean the dryer vent now and didn’t wait any longer!

So it turns out I had to replace my entire dryer vent hose rather than just cleaning it, oops. But don’t worry, the steps to clean your dryer vent and hose are basically the same whether you just clean out the hose or have to replace it entirely. So for you guys without giant holes in your dryer vent hose, this whole thing will be super simple!

Once you’ve pulled your dryer away from the wall, find the exhaust port where the dryer vent hose attaches to the wall.

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Loosen the screw holding the clamp together, and you should be able to pull the dryer vent hose away from the port in the wall. (There are two main types of clamps for dryer vent hoses: one with a screw like mine in the photo, and one with little metal wire “tabs” that you can squeeze together with your hand. If your clamp doesn’t look like the photo above, it’s probably the other kind, so see if you can loosen it by pinching the two tabs together.)

We’ve lived in this house for two years and this is the first time I’ve cleaned the dryer vent, but based on how much lint was built up in the hose and in the port, I imagine the previous owners hadn’t cleaned the dryer vent for a while either!

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Yikes! We’re extremely lucky none of this ever caught fire!

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Once you’ve removed the dryer vent hose from the wall, you need to remove the other end from the back of your dryer. You should see another clamp at the other end of the hose; remove it and pull the hose away from the port at the back of the dryer.

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Now you need to clean out all the lint from the hose, from the port in the wall, and from the port at the back of the dryer. I used my dryer vent trap brush to knock the lint loose from the walls of the port.

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As for the hose, it can be up to ten feet long, so the dryer vent trap brush won’t be long enough to reach everywhere. That’s where the dryer vent duct brush comes in handy! It’s super long, and flexible, so it can snake through the entire dryer vent hose and push all the lint out the other end.

Once all of the lint is knocked loose, grab your vacuum and the lint remover vacuum attachment, and vacuum up all of the lint you can find. You’ll want to clean out the wall port, the dryer port, any lint you knocked loose out of the hose, and any extra lint that happens to be floating around your laundry area. You might as well vacuum off the back of your dryer and clean up any lint on the floor or walls as well; it’s always better to be clean and safe!

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After you’ve cleaned up all the lint, it’s time to put the dryer vent hose back together. Slide one end of the hose over the port at the back of the dryer and reattach the clamp. Then slide the other end of the hose over the port in the wall and reattach that clamp as well.

The last step is to clean out your dryer’s lint trap. Pull out the lint trap and clean off any lint you see on the screen. Then stick the dryer vent trap brush into the lint trap and knock loose any lint that’s stuck inside the trap.

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Attach the lint remover vacuum attachment to your vacuum again and use it to vacuum out the lint trap.

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Replace the lint trap screen, reconnect the gas, plug the dryer back in, and carefully push the dryer back against the wall. Be careful not to crush the dryer vent hose!

If you have access to the dryer vent exhaust outside, head out there with your vacuum and clean off any lint stuck to the exterior vent as well. And then you’re done!

That wasn’t so bad, was it?! Remember, you should clean the dryer vent once a year to help keep lint from building up and causing a potential fire hazard!

How to clean a dryer vent to remove lint build up and prevent a fire!

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DIY No-Sew Drawer Sachets https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-no-sew-drawer-sachets/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/diy-no-sew-drawer-sachets/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com?p=19694&preview_id=19694 I love the smell of lavender, and I grew a ton of it in our garden last year. I harvested…

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I love the smell of lavender, and I grew a ton of it in our garden last year. I harvested it and dried it throughout the season, and we still have a ton laying around, so I decided I needed a great way to use it. So I made these cute little no-sew drawer sachets for our dresser drawers!

Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

They’re cute, and functional, and the best part is, you don’t need to sew a single stitch to make them! All you need is an iron and hem tape and you can have your own colorful, fragrant drawer sachets to help keep your clothes from smelling musty. Plus they make great handmade gifts!

DIY No-Sew Drawer Sachets

Here’s what you need to make your own:

  • 2 small squares of fabric per sachet (about 4″x4″)
  • fusible (iron-on) hem tape
  • scissors
  • pinking shears
  • dried lavender, or lavender essential oil and cotton balls (or whatever scent you’d prefer!)
  • an iron

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Start by cutting out small squares from your fabric. They can be whatever size you want, but don’t make them too big or they will be hard to fill!

Turn your iron to whatever setting is recommended for the fabric you are using and make sure it is dry (no steam). I used a basic quilting cotton because the weave is dense enough that the lavender filling won’t fall out through the fabric, but it’s loose enough that you can still smell the awesome scent through the fabric. Just make sure you use something that you can iron without melting!

Next, cut 4 strips of fusible hem tape (one for each side of the square) and make sure they are the same length as each side of your fabric squares.

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Turn one fabric square upside down (so the wrong side of the fabric faces up) and place four strips of hem tape on top of the fabric, right up against all four edges. Then place the other fabric square, right side of the fabric facing up, on top of that.

Iron around three sides of the squares for about five seconds to melt the fusible hem tape. Iron the corners on the fourth side, but make sure not to iron the entire thing closed! You need to leave a small hole in one side in order to fill it with lavender.

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Fill your fabric pouch with dried lavender, or if you’d prefer, you can use essential oils and cotton balls. Add a drop of essential oil to each cotton ball, wait a minute for it to dry a bit, then stuff the fabric pouch full of cotton balls.

Once your pouch is filled, iron the hole for about five seconds to close it.

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Clip the frayed edges off all four sides using pinking shears to give it a cute zig zag pattern and to prevent the edges from fraying any further, and you’re done! Enjoy your DIY no-sew drawer sachets!

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Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

Make your own no-sew drawer sachets in any scent; perfect quick and easy handmade gift idea!

Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

If you liked this project, check out these other simple health & beauty projects!

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How To Make Homemade Felted Wool Dryer Balls https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/homemade-wool-dryer-balls/ https://www.practicallyfunctional.com/homemade-wool-dryer-balls/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.practicallyfunctional.com?p=15959&preview_id=15959 I’ve started using homemade felted wool dryer balls when we dry our laundry, and I’m loving it! They are so…

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I’ve started using homemade felted wool dryer balls when we dry our laundry, and I’m loving it! They are so easy and inexpensive to make, and they help your clothes dry faster, which saves you time and money! If you want to learn how to make wool dryer balls, check out the simple tutorial below!

Learn how to make homemade felted wool dryer balls to save time and money and reduce static in your laundry!

Homemade wool dryer balls are great for tons of reasons; check out all the benefits of dryer balls below! Since they only take a few minutes to make, why not give them a try!

  • They are reusable! No more dryer sheets that you throw away after a single dryer load; these wool balls will last for years!
  • They reduce drying time, which saves time and reduces your energy bill! Plus, fewer wrinkles!
  • They are non-toxic! Commercial dryer sheets are full of chemicals that get on your clothes and eventually your skin, but these wool dryer balls are all natural, no toxic chemicals!
  • They are gentle enough to use on cloth diapers! Since they are all natural and non-toxic, they are safe to use with cloth diapers, unlike commercial dryer sheets and fabric softeners which can ruin cloth diapers.
  • They reduce static in your laundry! They soak up moisture from your clothes and then slowly distribute it throughout the dryer as the machine runs. This helps keep the dryer humid for longer, which greatly reduces the amount of static generated.
  • They won’t “coat” your laundry! Over time, commercial dryer sheets and fabric softeners can “coat” your towels and washcloths with a film which affects their absorbency, but wool dryer balls won’t!
  • They help your pillows keep their shape as they dry! The wool dryer balls hit the pillows (and any other stuffed or filled laundry items, like sleeping bags, etc.) as they tumble around, helping to break up any clumps of filling so the pillows don’t get lumpy!
  • They soften your clothes naturally!
  • You can add essential oils to your wool dryer balls to help naturally scent your laundry!

So how do dryer balls work?

Well, dryer balls do a lot of things while they bounce around in your dryer. As I mentioned earlier, they soak up some of the moisture from your wet laundry, then slowly release it as the dryer tumbles. They do this over and over again throughout the whole cycle, helping to dry your laundry even faster! They also tumble around, pummeling your clothes as the dryer runs. This helps reduce wrinkles and soften your clothes, plus if you have pillows or other filled/stuffed items in the load, it helps keep them from getting lumpy.

The more dryer balls you use, the faster your clothes will dry, so be sure to make about 4 or 5!

Tennis balls or the plastic PVC dryer balls you can find in stores also work the same way, but they can leak weird chemicals when they get hot, so these homemade wool dryer balls are much better! Plus, they’re so easy to make!

How To Make Homemade Felted Wool Dryer Balls

Here’s what you need for your homemade wool dryer balls: (affiliate links below to the products I use and recommend)

I made 4 dryer balls  (about baseball sized) with one skein of Fishermen’s Wool yarn.

A quick note about yarn: You need 100% wool yarn for the wool dryer balls themselves. No acrylic, no blend, no wool yarn that is labeled as “machine washable”; these types of yarns won’t “felt” and then your dryer balls will just unravel the first time you try to use them! Make sure the label says 100% wool yarn! You also need a few pieces of acrylic or washable yarn or string to tie up the dryer balls in the pantyhose. You don’t want to use the same 100% wool yarn for this step or the strings tying off the pantyhose sections will “felt” into your dryer balls and it will be really hard to get the dryer balls apart later on!

How To Make Homemade Felted Wool Dryer Balls-4

Start by wrapping the 100% wool yarn around two fingers a few times.

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Then pull the yarn loops off your fingers and start wrapping more yarn around the loops in the opposite direction.

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Continue wrapping yarn around the loops, squishing them up and rotating the directions of your loops until a small ball forms.

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Continue wrapping yarn around the ball, changing up the direction every once in a while, until the ball of yarn is about baseball sized.

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Cut the yarn, leaving about a six inch tail. Wind the tail in and around other strands of yarn in the ball to secure it. Then tuck the very end inside the ball as far as you can. You can use a blunt-tipped needle for this, or just tuck it in with your fingers.

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Repeat the steps above to make as many dryer balls as you want! If you run out of yarn halfway through winding a ball, just start a new skein, tie the two ends together, and keep winding! It will all hold together later so it won’t matter if it’s two separate pieces of yarn.

Once you have all your dryer balls made, it’s time to “felt” them! Stick one of the balls down into the toe of some pantyhose. Then tie off the pantyhose with a piece of string or washable (acrylic) yarn. Then add another ball and tie off the pantyhose again. Continue until all of your dryer balls are in the pantyhose, and make sure to tie off the pantyhose again after the last ball is added!

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Wash and dry your dryer ball “snake” on the hottest wash and dry settings 4 or 5 times. I just washed a bunch of sheets and towels along with the snake so that I wasn’t wasting water! Keep checking the dryer balls between each load of laundry; you should see the wool starting to “felt”, meaning the wool strands start to mesh and meld with the rest of the strands, smoothing out the surface of the ball.

After 4 or 5 wash and dry cycles, the individual strands of the balls should be much less visible; just remove the wool dryer balls from the pantyhose and you’re done!

When you’re ready to dry a load of laundry, toss 4 or 5 wool dryer balls in with the load and start it up just like normal. The ball will bounce around as your laundry dries, and when the clothes are completely dry, just pull the dryer balls out and set them aside for the next load!

Learn how to make homemade felted wool dryer balls to save time and money and reduce static in your laundry!

Add a drop or two of essential oil to each dryer ball before tossing them in the dryer to help naturally scent your laundry! I love using Lavender essential oil and Purification essential oil for this!

Learn how to make homemade felted wool dryer balls to save time and money and reduce static in your laundry!

What other laundry tips and tricks do you have?

Want to share this with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

P.S. if you liked this project, check out these other great cleaning and laundry tips!

Did you know you can wash & whiten pillows in your washing machine?! Learn how here!

What scents would you use in your laundry?

If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, just let me know or join our Facebook group! I’d be happy to get you more info or get you a sample to try out!

Or if you are ready to start using essential oils, you can get the all of the must-have essential oils in the Young Living Premium Starter kit at a HUGE discount. Plus you 24% off every purchase you make for life when you sign up as a wholesale member. The starter kit is everything you need to get started living a happier, healthier, more natural life with essential oils, and the 24% discount on any future purchases of Young Living oils and products doesn’t hurt either! Check out this page for more details.

Welcome to the club! Sign up to get Young Living essential oils at 24% off for forever, and get all this as well at a huge discount! https://practicallyfunctional.com/young-living-member-sign-up/

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