Get Your Laundry Done Faster: 7 Expert Tips

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Happy woman with a basket of clean laundry /

Like paying bills, doing laundry is one of those adult chores that never ends. Finish one load, and you’ll find more clothes that need washing before you know it.

Patric Richardson knows this only too well. Richardson is known as The Laundry Evangelist and as The Laundry Guy from the HGTV show of the same name. He’s the author, with writer Karin B. Miller, of “Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore” and its follow-up, “House Love: A Joyful Guide to Cleaning, Organizing and Loving the Home You're In.” He even hosts Laundry Camp, teaching interested people his top tips and tricks, at Mona Williams, the store he owns at Minnesota’s Mall of America.

In “Laundry Love,” Richardson remembers how his fascination with laundry began at just 2 years old, when his great-uncle would hold him up in the air above his mom’s washing machine so he could watch the clothes spinning in the sudsy water.

That fascination continues today. Richardson shared some of his thoughts about the eternal chore with Money Talks News.

First off, why not add a little fun to what some may see as a dreary task?

“Doing laundry is a great time to listen to an audio book or play your favorite music and get your groove on,” Richardson tells us.

He’s also not going to tattle on anyone who uses laundry as an excuse for some alone time.

“Announce that you’re about to do laundry, and it’s unlikely your family will follow you to the laundry room,” Richardson says. “Then, with your favorite latte or a glass of wine, you can hide out in there, reading a magazine, catching up on Instagram or even binge-watching on your phone while you’re doing laundry. It will be our little secret.”

Alone time notwithstanding, it’s only natural to want to speed up the washing-and-drying process. Here are Richardson’s top tips on how to save time when doing laundry.

1. Wear clothes more than once

Woman looking at clothes in her closet
Tirachard Kumtanom /

“Only underwear needs to be washed after every wearing!” Richardson says. “Otherwise, you can spot-clean most stains and get more wear from your garments. If your jeans are scented with bonfire because you roasted marshmallows last night, just spritz them with vodka and the smell will disappear. You don’t have to wash your clothes every time you wear them!”

2. Don’t pretreat

The Laundry Evangelist Patric Richardson
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Did your daughter squeeze the ketchup on her dress, not her hot dog? You don’t need to spray it with stain treatment and then set it aside to soak in.

“Only treat a stain right before throwing it into the wash,” Richardson says. “There’s no need to pretreat it hours or days before washing. Also, you don’t need a whole bunch of fancy and expensive pretreating chemicals. A fifty-fifty vinegar-water solution in a spray bottle, a laundry bar and a horsehair brush are all you’ll need for most stains.”

3. Use the express cycle

A father and son wash clothes in their laundry room
wavebreakmedia /

Does your washing machine offer an express cycle, possibly called the super-speed, fast or quick cycle? This cycle runs roughly half an hour, taking your clothes through an eight-minute wash, an eight-minute rinse, a rest period and a spin period. Choose it every time.

The express cycle is “long enough to get your clothes clean but short enough to do at least two washes in the time it normally takes to do one,” Richardson reveals. “This short cycle not only gets your clothes done faster, but is kinder to your clothes, not exposing them to soap, water and other clothes for so long.”

4. Invest in wool dryer balls

Wool dryer balls
FotoHelin /

You’ve probably seen wool dryer balls in stores or online. You simply throw them in the dryer and let them bounce around with each load. Richardson is a fan.

“Wool balls will make your clothes dry faster — much faster,” he says. “The wool helps, of course, but they also speed up the drying time by increasing the centrifugal force in the dryer.”

5. Never, ever use fabric softener

The Laundry Evangelist Patric Richardson
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“This not only saves you the step of adding fabric softener, but its chemicals are harmful — not only to your clothes but also to you, your loved ones and the environment,” Richardson says. “Plus, did you know that another key ingredient in fabric softener is animal fat — do you really want that on your clothes? And skip those laundry beads, too. Both products are a waste of money and a waste of time — both shopping for them and adding them to your laundry.”

If you think you need fabric softener to deal with static, Richardson advises you just crumple up a yard of foil into a ball and throw it into your dryer.

“It will last for dozens and dozens of loads of clothes,” he says. “When it shrinks to the size of a walnut, throw it into your recycling and start with a new ball of foil.”

And if you use fabric softener to scent your clothes, just add a few drops of essential oil to those wool dryer balls before you throw those into the dryer, he advises.

6. Skip ironing

Shocked couple looking in clothes dryer at laundry
Eduard Goricev /

It may be time to retire your clothes iron.

“If you tend to iron your clothes, throw your clothes into the dryer for just five minutes and then hang them up,” Richardson says. “Doing so will help prevent most wrinkles and save you the ironing time.”

7. Leave your washer door open

Top-loading washing machine with the lid open
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This may not save a ton of time, but Richardson says you should leave the washer door open whenever your machine isn’t washing clothes.

“It won’t develop a smell as often, and you won’t have to clean the washing machine itself quite as often,” he says.

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