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    13 Clever Tips That'll Help You Do Your Laundry Better Than Ever

    How to save money, time, and your favorite t-shirt.

    1. Zip up your fly before washing your jeans so it isn't catching and tearing other materials.

    Pong-photo9 / Getty Images

    If you don't, the teeth will snag on more delicate clothing during the washing cycle. On the other hand, you should wash your shirts unbuttoned, so the holes aren't pulling on the buttons. Learn more here.

    2. Test a a new clothing item for colorfastness with some water and a white washcloth.

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    Any piece of clothing with a tag that says "wash separately" or "wash with like colors" is likely to bleed in the wash, fading and ruining the rest of your clothing. To test fabric for colorfastness, press a damp white cloth onto an interior seam or hem. If any color transfers to the cloth, it's going to run all over the rest of the laundry in the wash. In that case, you should either hand-wash the item or wash it with like colors in a cold cycle. Learn more here.

    3. Wash delicates in a salad spinner if hand washing is your least favorite chore.

    Emily Shwake

    Okay, I know this sounds weird as heck, but this salad spinner is actually the best purchase I've made all year. It's like owning a tiny washer-dryer combo! Put your bras (or other delicates) in the strainer and hold the entire thing under the shower. Once the items are soaked through, lift the strainer out and add a dash of detergent to the water. Put the strainer back in. The spinning will agitate the detergent and flush the items. Let everything sit for about 10 minutes, then pour out the soapy water. Take the strainer out and hold it under the shower for a minute or so to wash out the remaining suds. Replace it and give it a few spins to dry the delicates out a bit, then lay them out on a clean towel or drying rack. That's it!

    Get the salad spinner from Amazon for $19.98.

    4. Toss a few wool balls in the dryer to get the benefits of a dryer sheet without all that waste.

    Nikko and Doug / Via

    In addition to being wasteful, dryer sheets aren't great for your towels, sportswear, or sensitive skin. Wool balls fluff clothing, remove static, speed up the drying process, and last for a couple of years, at least. You can use a tennis ball, which will serve much of the same purpose, but you run the risk of that neon green color bleeding or the fuzz rubbing off on your favorite top.

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $7.49.

    5. Replace your detergent and fabric softener with vinegar and baking soda to get towels as soft and cozy as they were when you bought them.

    Krista Torres

    After a while, towels can get a bit dry and crusty. Wash the towels in a hot water cycle with vinegar instead of detergent — this'll also get rid of that musty smell. Run a second hot water cycle with a half cup of baking soda. They'll feel good as new! Learn more here.

    6. Or replace laundry detergent with soap nuts for an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic alternative.

    7. Wash your bras in a pillowcase if you don't own a mesh laundry bag.

    8. And wash socks in a mesh bag (or pillow case!) if they keep disappearing from the load.

    Or at least place socks in the machine first — they'll be less likely to stick to other garments and disappear. Learn more here.

    9. Refresh musty clothing with a few drops of tea tree oil.

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    Tea tree oil is antibacterial so it'll kill off any mold or mildew that's making your clothing smell all funky. Just add 10 drops to your laundry detergent and they'll smell good as new! Learn more here.

    Get a 16-pack of essential oils from Amazon for $24.65.

    10. Steam clothing in the dryer with a few ice cubes to de-wrinkle them without having to actually iron. / Via

    Stick the wrinkled items in the dryer with a few ice cubes and set it to run on hot for about five minutes. The steam from the ice will smooth out all the wrinkles! Learn more here.

    11. Speed dry your wet clothes by tossing in a dry towel.

    Zest_marina / Getty Images

    Full disclaimer: You will end up with a wet towel as a result of this hack. But if you're okay letting that air dry, this hack will save a lot of energy. Put a towel in the dryer with your wet clothes and take it out after 15 minutes. Your clothing will dry in half the time! Learn more here.

    12. Soak clothing that shrunk in the dryer with a bit of hair conditioner.

    Look, we all neglect to read the tags from time to time, and end up washing a delicate with hot water instead of cold. There's a pretty simple fix! Just soak it in warm water and conditioner (about one teaspoon per quart of water), lay it flat to dry, and give the clothing a few stretches to reshape. Learn more here.

    13. And turn an old frame into a drying rack that leans out whenever you need to let something hang dry.

    Tarn Susumpow / Via

    Store-bought drying racks are big and clunky. This one can just hang off the wall in your laundry room. Attach four boards to the sides of a large picture frame, then build a second frame with four more boards. Drill holes in two of the boards large enough for the dowels to slide through. Attach the rack to the wood frame with cabinet lid support hinges, and hang the whole thing from the wall using French cleats. Learn more here.