Dads, we love you. It takes a certain kind of man to swaddle, change lightbulbs, squash bugs, throw kids way too high in the air, catch them, drive us home when everyone’s tired, impart life wisdom, and still occasionally sweep mom off her feet. But I’m going to have to throw a flag on the field when it comes to laundry. Yep, you know how it seems like we’re always doing laundry? That’s because we are. If you’re a dad who doesn’t know the ins and outs of the laundry room but wants to pitch in, this guide’s for you.
Rules of engagement
Dirty laundry goes into laundry baskets. When the kids get really messy, like on spaghetti night, the clothes should be soaked and rinsed out in the sink and pre-treated with stain remover. Under no circumstances is laundry to be tossed onto beds, bathroom floors, changing tables, the couch, the high chair, or any other place other than the laundry basket or hamper. If you see these getting full, it’s a great time to put this guide to use.
The first thing you need to know about doing the laundry is that there’s more to it than whites and brights. Think about laundry in terms of batches of similar colors, textures, and use. By “use” I mean distinguishing between everyday clothes versus more special stuff. Don’t be the dad who washes a silk dress with the towels. Designate a “dry clean only” or “hand wash only” basket in the laundry room. When in doubt, read the clothing label for guidance or just ask.
Get acquainted with your washer and dryer settings. The regular setting is great for things that need the most thorough washing and is typically preset to use hot water. Think: sweaty gym clothes, socks and underwear, the kids’ t-shirts, and whites. Stuff that gets stinky.
For everything else that isn’t delicate, permanent press is the best setting to use. This works for jeans, colorful pants, your daughter’s favorite mermaid shirt, and so on. This cycle is a bit gentler and uses warm and cool water. The delicate setting is a short cold cycle that’s good for things that require a light touch. In other words, your fancy, but not quite dry-clean-fancy stuff. Think: sweaters, lingerie, and other light fabrics.
Use dryer settings based on the heft of the clothes. Heavy linens can go through the normal dry cycle. Permanent press for most everything else. Delicate for delicates. Just DON’T forget the Bounce® dryer sheet, dad. A few things—like your favorite jeans, mom’s stretchy athletic wear, or bras will fair better drying flat. Remember that proper washing and drying prolong the life of your clothes. #Money
A note on stuffed animals
Look, if the toddler’s beloved teddy bear is looking a little grimy, you might feel tempted to toss it in the wash. First make sure it can withstand being washed—check the tags. If you’re good to go, remember that the most important rule of washing stuffed animals: Never do it around naptime or bedtime. Second rule: hang dry.
Getting the job done
Every laundry room needs solid products to get the job done. For washing, we use an everyday detergent for our clothes, a natural detergent on baby clothes, and a scoop of baking soda for extra deodorizing when needed. For drying, Bounce® dryer sheets are a must-have unless you like wearing scratchy, static-filled clothes. Pro tip: for large loads, use two Bounce® dryer sheets. There are different kinds of dryer sheets depending on how like your laundry scented. At our house, we use Bounce® Free and GentleTM sheets because our daughter has sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic dryer sheets are free of dyes and perfumes. And for bath towels and bed sheets, consider Bounce® Sweet Dreams dryer sheets, which have a soothing scent combination of lavender, vanilla and cedar to help you relax after a long day.
You are a scholar and a gentleman
Almost done: you just have to take the laundry out of the dryer while it’s at its freshest, when it’s still warm. Trust us, you don’t want to forget it and have to deal with wrinkles. Take a moment to enjoy that fresh scent and the fruits of your labor—ahhh. Fold or hang the laundry. Did you know the dryer isn’t the only place you can use Bounce® dryer sheets? Bounce® dryer sheets are great for tucking into drawers and closets, freshening up gym bags, keeping the trash can from stinking, or packing in your suitcase to keep clothes smelling fresh while you travel. That’s it, you’re done! Infinite dad points to you, good sir.
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