How to Be a Housework Hero: Five Laundry Tips For Dads

Gone are the days when the home was a woman’s domain. It’s 2019: loads of men elect to clean up after themselves and the kids. But even with the best intentions, chances are you’ll come up against a few housekeeping chores that nobody ever showed you how to do. These tips will help you get laundry down to a fine art.

Get Your Head Around Wears-per-wash

Dad sanity announcement: you do not have to launder every single thread of clothing after you’ve worn it once. Take your everyday jeans for example: feel free to wear those bad boys until they start to look grubby. The denim won’t mind the hard-wearing between washes, and unless you’re wearing your jeans for sweaty work, they won’t get smelly. Use your common sense to judge how many wears you can get away with before a garment should be chucked in the wash.

Let’s start with the one-day wear items. Underwear, socks and T-shirts all fall in this category. Wear it, take it off, and throw it straight in the wash basket. Next, you have your button-down shirts and woollen jumpers. You’re looking at roughly 1 to 3 wears per wash, but this is largely dependant on the weather, the fabric and how snug the item is. Linen clothing is breathable, so you might get away with a few bonus wears before a wash is required. Sometimes an airing is all that is required. When in doubt, have a quick sniff around the armpit area and make your decision. Towels and bedclothes should be washed every week. Two weeks, you’re pushing it, but the laundry police probably won’t come for you.

Read The Label

It is a truth universally acknowledged that men don’t read the instructions. Don’t let that be true of your laundry practice. From water temperature to drying instructions, you won’t go wrong if you take ten seconds to check the label on an item of clothing before throwing it in the wash. And it’s not rocket science: washing instructions are usually so simple even a child can understand them. Hell, there are even pictures! After a while, your laundry skills will be so sharp that you won’t have to read the labels anymore. 

Wash Separately

If you want to go down the rabbit hole of optimal laundry sorting, feel free. There are a million different ways to sort laundry: by fabric, colour, use—you name it. But let’s be honest: most guys aren’t going to bother with more than a simple, logical sorting system. Colour should be your starting point. In an ideal world, you want one pile for darks, one pile for lights and one for whites—that’s actual white whites: no prints, beiges, or whatever. And when you’re short of time—or just aren’t too fussed about the whiteness of your whites—you’re fine with just darks and whites/lights. 

If you have more washing per pile than you can do in one wash (see the next section) you can sort your piles into fabric type. Don’t worry: there is a logical reason for this. Light-weight fabrics, like undies and shirts, dry faster than heavier-weight things like jeans and towels. Keeping fabrics with different dry times separate means you’ll spend less on energy.

Don’t Overload The Machine

If now and then, your house looks like a laundry bomb exploded, do not panic and try to get everything in the machine at once. Keep calm and do one load at a time. Just like in the dryer, you want the clothing to be able to rumble around in the washing machine to ensure it gets washed effectively. You can go by feel, by sticking your hand in and ensuring the clothes aren’t packed too tightly, or if you want to be scientific, have a squiz at recommended load sizes for your washing machine. (Hot tip: if you’re looking for the instructions, they’re often on the inside of a top-loader’s lid). 

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

There have been books written about the best way to set and run a laundry cycle. From water temperature to a smorgasbord of detergent types, colour-safe bleaches to cycle length, you can fuss over every little thing if you really want to. But with advancements in washing-powder technology these days, a cold wash on a regular cycle is suitable for most things. (Again, check the label.)

Whether you’re a housework hero or are just dipping your toe into the world of chores, mastering the laundry is a good investment for a dad. These tips will help you do your bit.