How to Manage All the Summer Laundry, According to a Pro

Summer is often filled with fun in the sun, but it can also mean mountains of laundry. From pool towels to grass-stained soccer uniforms, keeping clean clothes in the warm weather requires some strategy. As a professional house cleaner and laundry pro, I’ve learned a few tricks to streamline the laundry process all summer long. Follow these tips to stay on top of the loads.

Set Up Stations Around the House

The first step in laundry management is having baskets and hampers easily accessible around the house. Put a small basket in every bedroom, the kids’ playroom, and the mudroom. Having contained spots to toss dirty clothes makes it much quicker to collect each load. No more chasing stray socks around the house!

Get the whole family involved by:

  • Assigning each person their own hamper. This avoids fights over whose dirty laundry is whose.
  • Giving each kid a mini laundry basket for their room. They can bring their clothes to the main hamper when full.
  • Adding a drop zone bin in the mudroom for pool bags, towels, and shoes.

Make emptying the smaller bins part of the daily routine. Sorting a little each day prevents overload.

Wash Towels and Swimsuits Separately

Towels, swimsuits, and sweaty exercise gear get extra grimy in the summer. Washing these fabrics separately avoids transferring the dirt and oils onto other laundry.

I recommend three laundry loads:

  • Whites: This includes towels, sheets, and lightweight clothing. Wash in hot water with bleach.
  • Darks: Swimsuits, exercise clothes, and heavier fabrics like jeans. Wash in cold water.
  • Lights: Clothing and linens in light colors. Wash in warm or hot water, no bleach.

Washing swimsuits and sweaty clothes in cold water saves energy. For really muddy or smelly gear, do a rinse cycle first before washing. And remember to clean the washing machine monthly by running it empty on the highest heat setting.

Pretreat Stains ASAP

Don’t let stains set over the weekend! Address them immediately with prewash sprays or sticks. For common summer stains, try:

  • Grass: Dish soap, laundry detergent, or an enzyme-based spray like Biokleen Bac-Out.
  • Sweat: Vinegar, oxyclean, or Tide Pen.
  • Food/Drinks: Dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or Fels Naptha bar.
  • Ink: Hairspray or rubbing alcohol.
  • Mud: Let mud dry fully then brush off excess before washing.

For big spills, rinse the fabric right away under cold water. Soaking clothes in Oxiclean and water also helps lift out soils. Test treatments first on hidden seams to check for discoloration or damage.

Wash and Dry Properly for Each Item

Read all clothing labels and sort carefully before washing. Some tips:

  • Turn shirts, pants, and towels inside out to prevent fading.
  • Unzip zippers, which can catch on other clothes.
  • Use mesh bags for delicates, swimsuits, or small items like socks.
  • Skip the dryer for swimsuits and spandex workout wear. Air dry only.
  • Shake out sandy towels and beach gear before washing. Rinse swimsuits by hand first.
  • Wash hats on the gentle cycle and air dry.
  • Check pockets for tissues, crayons, pens, etc.

Wash towels, sheets, and shirts in hot or warm water. Use cold water for darks, bright colors, stretchy fabrics, and lightly soiled items. This saves energy and helps clothes retain their size and color.

Disinfect Properly

Kids returning from camp or sleepovers? Disinfect their bedding to kill germs and allergens. Wash sheets and pillowcases in hot water with an oxygenated bleach. For non-washable bedding, tumble dry on high heat for 30 minutes.

Disinfecting laundry can also help control acne in teenagers. Wash their towels, pillowcases, and pajamas in hot water with a few tablespoons of bleach.

For serious disinfection, use products like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer on the rinse cycle. This kills 99.9% of bacteria. Vinegar is a natural antibacterial that works in the wash too.

Speed Up Drying Time

In humid weather, drying laundry can take forever! Reduce drying time with these pro tips:

  • Set the dryer to medium or high heat. Low heat will take hours.
  • Use dryer balls or wool balls to separate clothes and speed airflow.
  • For wet towels or heavy cottons, run a second fluff cycle to finish drying.
  • Don’t overload the dryer, which slows down drying.
  • Clean the dryer filter after each use so air circulates.
  • Use the moisture sensor setting to stop when clothes are dry.
  • Hang or lay flat knits and lightweight items to air dry.

For a natural fabric softener, toss a few dryer balls or clean tennis balls into a load. Or try dryer sheets or liquid softener in the last 5 minutes of the cycle. Just don’t use too much – softeners can build up in clothes and towels over time.

Fold and Put Away Quickly

Laundry piles up fast if it sits unattended in the basket. Make folding and putting away clothes part of your routine right after the dryer stops:

  • Fold shirts, pants, towels, etc right out of the warm dryer. The heat makes fabrics smoother and easier to fold.
  • Assign each family member a laundry day. They are responsible for putting away their own folded clothes.
  • Do a speed fold for basic items: match socks, fold shirts in half, and roll underwear and towels.
  • Hang up wrinkle-prone shirts, pants, and dresses immediately.
  • Make laundry a family affair. Put on music and have the kids help fold. Give them an item like socks to focus on.
  • Don’t let clean clothes sit for more than a day before putting them away properly.

Staying on top of the laundry over summer break might seem like mission impossible, but following these professional tips can make it much smoother. With good organization, stain removal, and laundry practices, you’ll keep the piles under control. Now go relax with that glass of iced tea – you’ve earned it!

Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Laundry

Summer laundry can be daunting. Here are answers to some common questions about managing the extra loads.

How often should you wash summer clothes and linens?

  • Wash clothes after each wear during hot and humid months. Sweat and oils build up faster.
  • Swimsuits, pool towels, and mud-stained clothes should be washed after each use.
  • Wash sheets weekly. Wash pillowcases 2 to 3 times a week if you use air conditioning at night.
  • Wash lightweight blankets or duvet covers every 2 weeks. Fully wash comforters and duvets every 1 to 2 months.

Should you wash different clothes together?

  • Wash towels, rags, bright colors, and bleached whites separately. These can discolor other items.
  • Dark clothes can be washed together in cold water. Wash with lights and whites only if the darks don’t bleed dye.
  • Wash exercise wear with other synthetics and stretchy fabrics. The friction helps remove odors.
  • Wash delicates, lingerie, and swimsuits in a mesh bag on the gentle cycle.

How should you dry clothes in the summer?

  • Most items can be dried on medium or high heat in the dryer during humid months. Just check fabric content first.
  • Take swimsuits, lingerie, workout wear, and pajamas out of the dryer halfway to air dry. This prevents damage.
  • Hang cottons, linens, and workout wear outside if possible. The sun naturally disinfects.
  • Lay items flat or hang dry when possible. This prevents shrinkage.
  • Use a drying rack indoors for air drying clothes. Place near a sunny window or use a fan to speed up drying.

What are the best clothing stain removers for summer?

  • Dish soap, detergent, and OxiClean lift out food, dirt, and grass stains.
  • Baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar help remove perspiration marks.
  • Rubbing alcohol and hairspray work wonders on ink and marker stains.
  • Treat mud stains by letting mud fully dry, then brushing off excess before washing.
  • Enzyme-based sprays like Biokleen Bac-Out are great for food, grass, and bodily fluid stains.

How do you keep clothes from smelling musty when air drying indoors?

  • Air dry laundry in well-ventilated areas, like near open windows or using fans.
  • Space clothes out on racks or hang items so air can fully circulate.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on damp fabrics as a natural deodorizer.
  • Add wood planks like cedar chips to absorb moisture that causes odors.
  • Use an indoor drying line and run clothesline outdoors when possible to air out.
  • Put dried clothes away promptly. Leaving laundry wet for too long breeds mildew smells.


Coping with the extra laundry that comes with summer doesn’t have to be dreadful. By pretreating stains, washing intelligently, speeding up drying, and putting clothes away promptly, you can stay on top of the piles. Implementing a few organization systems like laundry stations around the house also makes the process smoother. With these pro tips, you can enjoy the sunny months and keep your family stocked up on clean clothes all season long. The laundry may be constant, but it doesn’t have to take over your summer!

How to Manage All the Summer Laundry, According to a Pro

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Set Up Laundry Stations For Convenience

The first step in summer laundry management is setting up convenient places around the house to contain dirty clothes. This prevents clean clothes from getting mixed in and makes laundry much easier to collect and sort.

Have baskets or hampers available in key locations:

  • Put a small laundry basket in every bedroom so family members can easily toss clothes in throughout the week.
  • Place a basket in children’s playrooms or hang a laundry bag on the back of their door. Teach kids to put dirty clothes in when they undress.
  • Set up a bin in the mudroom for stowing wet pool bags, muddy shoes, sandy towels, etc.
  • Keep a hamper in the bathroom for discarding dirty towels.
  • Install a chute or laundry bag system if you have multiple floors.

Encourage everyone to use their designated bins:

  • Give each child their own small hamper for dirty clothes. This avoids fighting over whose clothes are whose.
  • Assign hampers per person or have one for light clothes and another for darks.
  • Have kids bring clothes to the main laundry area when their bedroom basket is full. Don’t let it overflow.

Empty bins regularly:

  • Make quick daily sweep of all hampers part of your evening or morning routine.
  • Even if not enough for a full load, emptying bins prevents overload and keeps clean separated from dirty.
  • Sort clothes into lights, darks, towels, delicates, etc as you empty bins.

Proper laundry stations around the house make collecting and containing dirty laundry much more manageable.

Wash Towels, Swimsuits, and Workout Clothes Separately

During summer’s nonstop activity, towels, bathing suits, and sweaty gym clothes get extra grimy. Washing these extra dirty items separately helps avoid transferring oils, odors, and dirt onto other laundry via the wash water.

I recommend 3 main laundry loads:

  • Whites: This load is for towels, sheets, lightweight clothing, etc. Wash in hot water and add bleach.
  • Darks: Bathing suits, muddy jeans, fleece or sweatshirts, and exercise wear. Wash in cold water to avoid fading.
  • Lights: Clothing and linens in light or bright colors. Wash in warm or hot water. Avoid bleach.

Wash sweaty and smelly clothes in cold:

  • Cold water not only helps bright gym clothes retain color, but saves energy. Detergent works just as effectively in cold water.
  • For super muddy or foul-smelling workout gear, do a rinse cycle before the full wash cycle.
  • Remember to sanitize washing machines monthly too by running a hot cycle empty. This clears out odors.

Keeping heavily soiled linens and clothing separate makes for cleaner, fresher smelling laundry.

Pretreat Stains Immediately

Don’t let stains sit! Address spots as soon as possible by pretreating or soaking clothes. Waiting allows stains to set and become harder to remove.

Use prewash sprays, sticks, or bar soaps:

  • For grass stains rub on concentrated detergent, soap, or an enzyme-based spray made for stains. Let sit 5-10 minutes before washing.
  • For sweat marks, apply vinegar, dilute oxyclean, or Tide Pen to help break down the oils and salts.
  • For mud or dirt, allow mud to fully dry first, then brush off excess before washing. Spray remaining stain with detergent or Biokleen Bac-Out.
  • For food, drinks, or cosmetic stains try dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, or Fels Naptha laundry bar.
  • For ink or marker, hairspray or rubbing alcohol work wonders. Just check for color-fastness first.

Other tips:

  • Immediately rinse or soak fabric in cold water to prevent set in stains – don’t let sit!
  • Check clothing tags and test treatments on hidden seams first to ensure color safety.
  • For heavy stains, let clothes soak in a dilute solution of oxygen-boosted detergent before washing.

Addressing spots right when they happen makes them easier to remove from fabrics. Don’t let the weekend’s stains wait until next laundry day!

Wash and Dry Items According to Fabric Type

Choosing the right wash settings and drying method helps clothing wear well and last longer. Follow fabric care labels and sort laundry carefully.

Wash tips by fabric:

  • Turn t-shirts, jeans, towels and prints inside out. This prevents fading and pilling.
  • Zip up zippers fully so they don’t catch on other items. Snagging and pulling ruins shape.
  • Use a mesh bag or lingerie net for delicates, lace, swimwear and socks. This prevents stretching and tangling.
  • Shake out sand from beach towels, rashguards, and swimsuits before washing – it’s abrasive.
  • Wash hats on the gentle cycle. Air dry only to retain shape.
  • Empty pockets fully. Tissues and crayons ruin a whole load when left behind.

Drying tips:

  • Take swimsuits and spandex-heavy clothes out halfway to air dry. The dryer damages stretchy fibers over time.
  • Lay sweaters flat or hang up. High heat can stretch and distort the shape of knitwear.
  • For damp cotton towels or sheets, run a second fluff cycle to finish drying instead of overdrying initially.
  • Clean the lint filter after each cycle for maximum airflow and faster drying.

Proper washing and drying helps fabrics last and keeps their fit. Follow fabric specific care labels closely.

Disinfect Laundry and Bedding

Kids returning from camp or sports tournaments? Use hot water and bleach to kill bacteria and allergens on sheets, towels, and clothing.

Disinfect washable bedding:

  • Wash pillowcases and sheets in hot water with an oxygenated bleach like OxiClean.
  • For non-washable bedding, tumble dry on high heat for 30 minutes to kill germs and dust mites.

Sanitize for acne prone skin:

  • Wash towels, sheets, and pajamas in piping hot water with a few tablespoons of regular bleach. This kills bacteria on fabric.
  • Use salicylic acid cleansers and acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide to clear blemish-causing germs on the skin as well.

Alternative disinfecting options:

  • Add Lysol Laundry Sanitizer to the rinse cycle to kill 99.9% of bacteria.
  • White vinegar naturally kills bacteria and acts as a fabric softener too. Add 1/2 to 1 cup to the wash cycle.

Dry in the sun:

  • Sun exposure naturally disinfects laundry. Hang sheets and towels outside if possible.

Proper laundry sanitation prevents the spread of bacteria during summer’s close communal living.

Speed Up Drying Time in Humid Weather

In hot, humid climates clothes take forever to dry – sometimes days! Reduce drying time with these pro tips:

  • Set dryer to medium or high heat. Low heat may be energy efficient but takes hours.
  • Toss in wool or rubber dryer balls. As they bounce around, they separate clothes and improve airflow.
  • Don’t overload the dryer, which slows down drying. For big items like sheets or towels, do two smaller loads.
  • For damp cottons like sheets or towels, run a second fluff cycle to complete drying.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent isn’t clogged. This restricts air exhaust.
  • Use the automatic dry or moisture sensor setting so the machine shuts off when clothes are dry.
  • Clean the lint filter after each load so air flows freely.

Natural fabric softeners:

  • Toss clean tennis balls into the dryer as a chemical free softener alternative
  • Add dry