When you buy a washing machine, there’s an expectation. Your clothes go in, they get washed, and they should come out looking spotless. But we all have that one shirt or pair of jeans that retains stubborn stains. Perhaps there’s a slightly unpleasant smell that lingers. It’s maddening, and it can make you want to either schedule washing machine repair or just toss the stained clothing entirely.

But before you think about that, think about this. There’s more to doing laundry than just loading up the washer and waiting. You can get your clothes looking and smelling even better, and you can finally eradicate those stubborn stains. Keep reading and we’ll share a few easy tips to help the laundry process be more effective and efficient than ever before.

  1. Sometimes stains just can’t be helped. But when it has time to dry, it can set into your clothing and be even more difficult to get out. the first thing to do when you notice a stain is to soak it immediately. All you need is water and just a little detergent, then let it hang out in the water. After that, you should be able to scrub it clean.
  2. Suppose you don’t notice the stain right away and it’s had a few hours to set in? An easy and inexpensive way to get it off is by creating a mixture of water and baking soda. You’ll combine 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water, and mix it all into a paste. Then, you’ll apply the paste liberally to the stain, and let it all sit for about an hour. Wash it off, and it should be gone.
  3. But once in a while, a stain will resist detergent, resist the mixture, and remain on the clothing. We’re talking about serious stains, like ink or grass stains. It’s almost as if it’s taunting you with its ability to stick around. For these stains, check the label on the clothing first. With most fabrics, you can treat the stain by sponging it with methylated spirits, then give it a wash. However, if the fabrics have acetate or triacetate, try squeezing lime or lemon juice on the stain, then let it dry off in sunlight before you wash it. You’ll just want to make sure the fabric is color fast.
  4. If you have clothes that are heavily soiled, give them a good pre-soak before you do laundry. Simply use warm water, detergent, and the dirty clothes. Let them soak overnight, then wash them as per usual. Since the clothing will have several hours to absorb the detergent, then should come out looking pristine.
  5. Ever been running laundry in the washing machine, you needed to step out for a while, and you completely forgot to advance the laundry. We’ve all done it, and the end result is an unpleasant smell. To neutralize the odor, add a half a cup of baking soda and run the load again. Baking soda is terrific when it comes to removing bad smells.