NYT Attacks Dirty Clothes

You know the recession is drilling down to deeper levels of the economy when the The New York Times Home section makes laundry into the Next Big Thing.

To get top tips on the subject, The Times reached out to quinuple threat Cheryl Mendelson, a former philiosopher turned Harvard lawyer, professor, wife, mother, and expert homemaker. Mendelson's secret to bright clothes? Get ready: you have to separate clothes prior to washing!

Unlike your mother, Mendelson suggests you filter your clothes five ways: whites; lights and almost-whites (yellows and whites with prints); brights (reds, oranges and light blues); darks (purples and blues); and blacks and browns.

She also recommends testing to see if a fabric will run by dipping your clothing into a small dish with a tablespoon of detergent with label-recommended hot or cold water.

Bottom line: newbies should follow directions on the label.

We figure if a philosopher/launderer can do it, so can we, so after the jump, you'll find our top money-saving laundry tips-even a couple ideas about wha to do if you're ready to spring for your own little bundle of laundry love: a washing machine that's sized just perfectly for your tiny rental.



Money Saving Washing Tips

Wash Less
Wait for a full load of clothes before washing. Hand wash items that don't get too dirty in between laundromat visits.

Make Your Own Detergent

Make your own laundry detergent out of washing soda, bar soap, and Borax. This can save you roughly $65/year or more. If you have no idea about these ingredients check out this visual how-to guide.

Split Dryer Time Between Loads
Sometimes, it can be more economical to feed additional quarters into one dryer than have two running at the same time.

Air Dry
Check with the rules at your building. Some allow you to hang clothes to dry outside. Just be sure not to block the fire escape. Or, invest in a nifty dryer rack.

Skip the Extras
Skip the bleach, fabric softener, or dryer sheets and other fancy add-ons entirely. Less to haul, too.

Stock Up on Socks and Undies
A few dollars spent on a few more pairs of socks and underwear can extend time between laundry visits. Additionally, you can reduce the overall amount of clothing you wear and wash.

Trade Babysitting
If you like kids, trade with a couple that has a washer-dryer. You can do your laundry in exchange (or in addition to) watching their children. The only downside is hauling it!

Two Portable Washing Machine Options

If you're ready to do laundry in your apartment here are two machines that do not require special hook-ups.

Haier HLP21E Portable 6.6lb. Compact Washer

It says a lot when several reviewers "love" this little guy. Writes one:

"I would totally say if you have a prewar apartment in NYC like I do ... you need this!"

Absolutely! It is no fun lugging bags of laundry up and down flights of steps, even if you're taking it to be washed by someone else.

This unit connects to your sink. The common complaint seems to be that it isn't on wheels and therefore trickier to store away. One person uses a wheeled plant stand to move it back and forth.

The Haier portable washing machine retails for about $200.

Wonder Wash
This laundry system looks like a mini cement mixer. You'd be surprised to learn it works a lot like a pressure cooker by combining hot water, detergent, and air in a pressurized container. It holds five pounds of clothing-almost as much as the Haier washer profiled seen here, but in an even smaller footprint. (And green too: it uses a fraction of the water and detergent of conventional systems. It also works using cold water. Find more FAQs here.

The Wonder Wash retails for about $45.

Now that your laundry problems are solved, don't you feel as fresh as a folded towel?



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