Are Your Laundry Habits Making You Stink?

laundry habits, laundry tips, laundry advice


I separate colors, I know what gets washed in cold or hot, I pre-treat stains, and I’m not afraid of hand washing delicates.

I do my share of laundry.

It’s not something I particularly like doing, but it is a necessary evil. I’m always looking to be as efficient as possible, which usually means packing our washer absolutely as full as possible. My theory being that with each load taking about 45 minutes, doing as few loads as possible saves not only time but money as well because of the savings on water and electricity usage. It all seemed to be working just fine.

Until my son played a muddy game of baseball.

When we returned home from the game, we went through our usual ritual. He changed, and at my request put his very dirty baseball uniform into the washer. I pre-treated the stains, then stuffed the washer full of other clothes and started it up. I pulled the pants out when the cycle had completed to find they didn’t look much different than when they went in. I pre-treated them again, and threw them back into the washer by themselves for another cycle.

This time they came out perfectly clean.

I had been packing my washer full for years with the likely effect of my clothes not being properly cleaned. This prompted memories of wondering why my workout clothes didn’t smell very fresh sometimes even though I had just washed them.


Jamming the washer full of clothes is not an effective way to save money washing clothes if I have to run another cycle to wash things again that were obviously still dirty. I turned to the internet to find some tips on how to be as efficient and cost sensitive as possible when doing laundry.

Learn how to use the different cycles of your washer: Many people just use the default cycle which is the wrong choice much of the time. The light cycle will work for most loads, intimates and dedicates should use the delicate cycle, and the heavy cycle reserved only for those very soiled items. By using the appropriate cycle you can save yourself time while ensuring your clothes come out clean.

Use less detergent: If you’re using the recommended amount of detergent for every load, you’re most likely using too much. Today’s machines use much less water than older models, thus less detergent is required.  I only use the recommended amount of detergent for soiled items, and use ½ the recommended amount for all other loads.

I’m still experimenting with the level of dirtiness that requires relegating clothes to the heavy cycle, but I’m already starting to see that doing a few more loads on the light setting ends up taking about the same amount of time as doing a few loads with the washer fully packed.

And my workout clothes smell better, too.

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Our front loading washer adjusts the amount of water it uses by how big the load is. I would hope that more and more machines would be equipped with this type of technology.

  • Good tips!

    I’ve discovered that if my washer is full–not overfull, just full to near the recommended maximum–it only washes well if I select extra dirty, pre-soak, and an extra-long agitation. Quite annoying. 🙁

    Our washer adjusts the amount of water, too. It’s not enough.

  • @moneybeagle Our washer also adjusts the amount of water based on the size of the load. However, the cycles are differing amounts of time as well. The heavy cycle lasts longer (I believe it agitates longer) than the light cycle or the delicate cycle. So while people usually don’t have to worry about selecting the load size any more, the cycle type is still key in (time) efficient laundry. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I do, but it makes me want one of those super high-end ones. Mine’s a high efficiency top loader, the biggest one on the market, and now they have an even BIGGER front loader that I’m droooooooling over. When I finish remodeling my laundry room (don’t ask…), I may get one because of the half height cinder block walls pretty much requiring a pedestal which in turn requires a front loader.

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