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The Way You Have Been Doing Your Laundry is Wrong

The Way You Have Been Doing Your Laundry is Wrong

The chemical industry and ‘throw-away’ culture have turned our laundry routines into giant wastes of time, money, and energy, not to mention the questionable safety of the chemicals in the plethora of laundry-related products we’re encouraged to buy. Turns out, you don’t need to buy half the stuff you use on your clothes.

Luckily for me, my parents never bothered with a lot of the extras, and my mom had several clever ways of DIY fixes and time-savers that I learned as a kid. So when I got to college and saw fellow students wasting their time and money on their laundry. What is a college student doing paying for frills like dryer sheets?! Why does anyone make their laundry more expensive and tedious than it needs to be?

Today, you’re gonna learn some things about doing your laundry, the smart way.

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Brand Name Laundry Detergent vs. DIY Laundry Detergent

Why you’re doing it wrong: Unless you’re able to pay extra for brands like Seventh Generation that contain less chemically junk, you’re washing your clothes with stuff you can’t even pronounce. If you have dry or easily irritated skin, your store-bought detergent may be contributing to your skin issues as most of them contain ingredients known to cause skin irritation. But most of all, laundry detergent is expensive when it doesn’t need to be.

What to do instead: Make your own laundry detergent. First of all, you’ll actually know what you’re washing your clothes in if you make your detergent yourself. And second, it’s WAY cheaper to make your own, and super easy. Some simple and inexpensive DIY recipes to try here, here and here.

Dryer Sheets vs. Dryer Balls

Why you’re doing it wrong: Dryer sheets are extremely wasteful because they’re one-use items. Add to that the fact that because they’re disposable, you have to keep buying them, adding an additional expense to your budget. Perhaps the most worrisome thing about dryer sheets is that there is no law requiring dryer sheets to be labeled with chemicals/ingredients used to make them, so you have no idea what you’re heating up with your clothing. Research has shown that exposure to many industrial and otherwise toxic chemicals, the regulation of which is poor in the U.S., are linked to dementia and other neurological disorders. Don’t gamble with items that don’t even say what’s in them.

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What to do instead: Buy dryer balls. These guys are reusable, so you buy them once and you’re done — they’re not even that expensive too. You can buy wood, wool, plastic, or rubber dryer balls, and many brands specify that they are free of harsh chemicals. If you want, you can even make your own.

Expensive Stain Removers vs. DIY Fixes

Why you’re doing it wrong: Again, this stuff is full of weird chemicals, and it doesn’t come for free. So you’re buying one more thing that you don’t need to buy, and the harsh chemicals run you the risk of damaging your clothes as you desperately try to get out clothing stains.

What to do instead: Use a homemade or natural method before you resort to the store-bought stuff. It’s convenient and cheap to use products you already have and many products work on their own without requiring you to make some kind of mixture. Hand sanitizer and hairspray work wonders on ink and some other kinds of stains; use some lemon juice or ammonia on armpit stains before tossing in the wash; and club soda, salt, or milk on red wine spills.

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Washing Items After One Use vs. Making Them Last

Why you’re doing it wrong: Unless you have an absolutely inhuman sweat/B.O. problem (which you should definitely schedule a doctor appointment for, by the way), you don’t have to toss most of your clothing in the laundry basket after one wear. Not only does this give you more laundry loads and therefore more energy/water usage that hurts your wallet and the environment, but you run out of outfits and delicates a lot faster.

What to do instead: There are several items you can make into a spray to keep clothing fresh through a few uses. These include white vinegar, lemon juice, and vodka. Distilling these items with some water and putting into a spray bottle gives you quick and effective fixes for odorous clothes, and saves you some time and money on extra laundry loads. You’ll never resort to a “laundry day” outfit again.

Fabric Softener vs. White Vinegar

Why you’re doing it wrong: Another popular laundry item that people waste money on is fabric softener. Again, like many of the items above, this stuff contains chemicals that add to the toxic soup of laundry products we use.

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What to do instead: One good alternative is white vinegar. It works well as a fabric softener, it’s cheap, and it’s natural. You don’t need to spend money on Downy to get soft clothes.

Constant Ironing vs. Hanging Clothes to Dry

Why you’re doing it wrong: Ironing is time-consuming and an additional cost on your energy bill. The time it takes to iron can be a real problem when you forgot to iron your work/dress clothes and suddenly need them when they’re a wrinkly mess.

What to do instead: Some items will dry relatively wrinkle-free if you hang them up, shortening ironing time or forgoing it altogether. If hang-drying doesn’t stop the wrinkles, a steam dryer is a great way to quickly de-wrinkle clothes, and even treat some “dry clean only” items at home, saving you time and money. Now that’s a deal.

Featured photo credit: Yellow Laundry/Shinichi Higashi via flic.kr

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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