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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Post holiday laundry problems and advice

By Dr. Laundry December 26, 2006

Turn out the lights… the party’s over!
Great, now the cleanup begins!!
Tell me again why having that party was such a GREAT idea.

Now that the guests are gone and the flurry of holiday activities have officially concluded, hosts and hostesses are often left wondering what hit them. There are mounds of linens, tablecloths, sheets and towels to wash, along with cleanup of other leftovers from the good times.

Often, people run into a little trouble with the sheer volume of work to be done. In the interest of preserving your sanity and keeping as light a load as possible (pun intended!), I suggest you break up the laundry task into several days. Trust me, it doesn’t have to be all done in one night/day. Avoid the temptation to do everything in one huge load, especially when you have such a high volume of similar items. Like any other laundry day, follow a few simple rules to success:

  • Sort and separate out items with obvious stains. Tackle these first. The fresher the stain, the better the chances for removal. Need help? Don’t forget to try the Holiday Stainline (1-877-STAIN 411).
  • Ask “what items will I need next” and “what is just going to get folded and put away”? This helps decide the order for washing everything.
  • Check the care labels for proper laundering techniques.
  • Try starting some loads later in the day. They can dry overnight while you sleep.
  • It’s best to not overload the washing machine—separate heavy and lightweight items. (This also helps cut down on drying time.) Also use the recommended amount of product for the load size.
  • Finally, check stained items thoroughly before you put them into the dryer, because stains will “cook” into fabrics if heated/dried.
  • With “delicate” care items, it’s best to always do a product compatibility or bleachability test to determine whether you can use the product without harming the item. Some tablecloths and garments especially will be marked as delicate care or hand wash. Again, remember to check the care label if you have any doubt about the type of washing/drying conditions or products that are appropriate to use.