It’s a sad fact of life that a laundry basket is never empty. Once you’ve finished the last load, you know that, by the end of the day, there will be yet more washing to do. But, with so many seemingly indispensable hacks swirling the internet, surely there are some out there that will make this chore a little easier? The answer is yes and no. A great number that you find online are like old wives’ tales: they sound great, but don’t work. Like the tip that suggests hairspray will remove ink stains from fabric. Once upon a time, some hairspray would have contained alcohol, which would have acted like a dry-cleaning agent, but, sadly, this is no longer the case. Similarly, there’s no sound science behind dissolving a pack of aspirin in water to “whiten” clothes. Soaking clothes in salt won’t prevent colours running either and nor will using hair conditioner to un-shrink jumpers (in this case, prevention is always better than cure).
Some hacks, however, I can vouch to be a genuine lifesaver, like the fact that you can use a little lemon juice mixed into salt as a gentle way of removing sweat stains on natural fibres, such as wool, silk and cotton. Or that you can use white vinegar in your wash to stop your jeans from fading — and, contrary to presumption, they won’t smell like the inside of a fish and chip shop (remember to always turn jeans inside out before you wash them, too). You can also use white vinegar (mixed with two parts) water and spray on a shirt to smooth wrinkles too.
Finally there’s the secret to keeping your whites white, which is – drum roll – using the exact amount of detergent the manufacturer recommends. Be tempted to use more and experts warn your clothes will become grey and dull.
I’m not saying any of these hacks will go as far as a good dry clean but, for someone who can’t afford to splurge on such luxuries, they’re a good stopgap. Here are some more of The Pool’s favourites:
SOAK T-SHIRTS IN SALT TO SOFTEN THEM
Imagine if all your cheap tees could be as soft as the American Vintage ones you know and love. Secret laundry hack: they can be! Soak them in salt water (4 cups water, ½ cup salt) for a few days, then wash as normal. Voilà – luxury tees on a basic budget.
TRY THE SUEDE SKIRT AND BREAD HACK
You spend a major wad on that suede skirt, then you go and get some blimmin’ dirt on it. Before spending a fortune on dry cleaning, try lifting the dirt off first with a stale crust of bread.
BANISH SMELLS WITH A DIY ALCOHOL SPRITZ
That funky smell vintage clothing always has? Whizz up an at-home vodka spritz. Spray your musty clothes with a mixture of two parts water, one part vodka, to eliminate those smells.
SPRAY TIGHTS WITH HAIRSPRAY TO PREVENT RUNS
A light coat of hairspray will bond the fibres together, making your tights less likely to get runs or snags.