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6 surprising laundry hacks you need to know

Add these tips to your washday to make your laundry look, smell and feel better.

Even if you're a laundry pro, these tips might surprise you. They'll solve some of your biggest laundry woes and even save you money, from nixing the need to buy dryer sheets to making your whites whiter. 

Make your laundry smell great without dryer sheets

Dryer sheets are the go-to if you want sweet-smelling laundry. If static cling isn't a problem, though, there's a much easier – and customizable – way to make your clothing and towels smell great.

I love putting dryer sheets to all kinds of household uses, but I'm over-using them in the dryer. They can create a sticky film that covers the lint trap and the exhaust hose, blocking air flow. In the end, your dryer works less efficiently, and you use more electricity to get your clothes dry.


A couple of drops of essential oil to an old sock to make your laundry smell great.

Alina Bradford/CNET

To make your laundry smell fresh without the sheet, grab an old (clean!) sock, dampen it and dab it with two drops of vanilla, rose or peppermint extract. Then, turn the sock inside out and throw it in the dryer with the rest of your clothes.

The vanilla will only leave residue on the sock, not your lint trap. Plus, you can customize your scent by mixing and matching extract combinations.

Put foil in your dryer

If you do have trouble with static cling in the dryer, just toss in a couple of balls of aluminum foil. CNET's Taylor Martin explains that the balls discharge the static buildup, preventing your clothing from sticking together. Here's more on foil dryer balls.


Foil dryer balls.

Taylor Martin/CNET

Add a little blue

If you want your whites to be super-white, try bluing. Bluing can be found in most grocery stores in the laundry isle beside the starches. Also sold as laundry blue, dolly blue or washing blue, this product adds a little blue dye to the load of laundry.

It's not as scary as adding a pair of red towel to a white wash, though. The touch of blue fools the eye into thinking the laundry is whiter and brighter. Bluing is a great way to brighten sheets, button-down shirts or towels that have gone a little yellow.

Bonus tip: Hanging white laundry in the sun to dry can naturally bleach them without dyes. 

Go inside out

Keep your favorite little black dress or dark wash jeans from fading by simply turning them inside out before you toss them in the washer. Turning items inside out insures that that the inside -- the part no one will see -- gets more abrasion from washing than the outside.

Bonus tip: Be sure to wash your darks in cold water, too. The cold water sets the dye to the fabric, so it doesn't float away in the wash water. Finish up by hanging your darks to dry. Heat from the dryer can make them fade faster. Here are some more tips to prevent your clothes from fading.

An extra rinse equals extra fluff

When washing anything made from down, be sure to give it an extra rinse to remove any soap residue. Left behind residue can make feathers less fluffy, leaving your winter coat, comforter or pillow looking a little sad. 

Hotter isn't always better

Turning up the heat in the dryer will make your clothes dry faster, right? Well, yes, but the more heat you use, the faster your clothes will tend to wear out. A medium heat for a longer cycle is much better. Plus, medium heat is less likely to shrink your jeans and tees. 

Bonus tip: Cold water is better for washing, too. This is because most modern laundry detergents are designed to work better in cold water.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 5, 2018 and has been updated with extra tips.