How to Get the Most Out of Your Washer & Dryer

After a while, laundry becomes kind of a mindless task. You put the dirty clothes in, add the detergent, then they wash. When they're done, you throw them in the dryer, clean the lint trap, and start it up.

If you take a minute to think about how your washing machine and dryer actually work, though; you can make a few thoughtful changes to maximize how well they work. There are a lot of ideas on how to wash clothes, but here are a few to get you started!

A Little Bit of Space. It seems like the more you fill your washer, the more efficient it will be, but that's not actually true. In order to clean, the agitator moves the clothes around, and it's this contact and “scrubbing” from the agitator that gets your clothes clean and fresh.

When the washer's overfilled, there's not enough space between clothes for the agitator to do its work, so your laundry pile may get smaller faster, but it won't actually be as clean as it could be.

It's Not You, It's the Suds. The more detergent you add to the laundry, the better it will clean, right? Not so much—in fact, it's actually the exact opposite! Too many suds can't mix into the water, so they pick up dirt off the surface of the water and deposit it in a film right back on your clothes. Yuck.

Lighten Up a Little. Your dryer dries different materials at different rates. The thin, cotton tank top is always going to get dry faster than your thick, fluffy towels.

Unfortunately, when you dry the thin stuff with the heavier stuff, the thin stuff over dries. It's actually lack of moisture that causes clothes to shrink, not heat, so when your gentler clothes get over dried, they can shrink and start to look worn. Try this: separate your clothes into “heavy” and “light,” and dry them with their like types.

Laundry doesn't have to be the chore everyone hates—after all, who doesn't love nice, fresh clothes from the dryer!