How much time every week should laundry really take?

(141 Posts)
HiawathaDidntBotherTooMuch Wed 30-Apr-14 14:35:45

I seem to spend hours every bloody week doing laundry. I am sure I must be doing it in a very ineffective manner.

We have 2 DC (6yo and 1yo). DC1 is in uniform every weekday. DS2 has some leaky nappies and still wears bibs due to messy eating and drooling, which creates extra washing.

I wash uniform every Friday night. I wash bedding every Sunday. I wash towels every 4 or 5 days. I do other washes as and when there is enough to wash, but I am guessing that our normal clothes give us about 6 or so washes a week. DH goes running twice a week, so there is sports kit from that.

All in all, a fair bit of washing. We have a fab washing machine and an even more fab tumble dryer. Our cleaner does all of our ironing on Wednesdays, so I always try and make sure that everything that needs to be ironed is washed and dry for then.

I just feel that I spend so much time every day gatherine washing, sorting it, putting the machine on, drying it (some things can't be tumbled dried, as I have found to my cost in the past, like DS1's pants always shrink, his tops and some canvas trousers do too; DS2's bibs are plastic backed and they shred in the dryer; anything with Lycra cannot go in etc) on the radiators or airer or in the dryer, sorting it into iron and non-iron in time for Wednesday, folding it all, putting it all away in the right places ...

I must do ten washes a week.

Is this normal, and am I moaning over something that every house experiences, or am I spending a disproportinate amount of time on it and making a meal of it?

sleepyhead Wed 30-Apr-14 15:03:21

I've got a 1yr old and a 7 yr old so similar. Dh plays football once or twice a week.

I do roughly 1 bedding wash a week, 1 towels, 3 darks, 1 lights. I do it over 2 days mostly.

I suspect however that I have lower standards than you rather than having any magic method grin

PlaydoughGirl Wed 30-Apr-14 15:06:55

I have a 4yo and 7yo, and do similar amounts of laundry. Adding up all the locating dirty clothes, sorting, washing, hanging on the airer or clothesline (no tumble-drier), unhanging, folding, ironing, and putting away, I would estimate it takes me around an hour every day for laundry. I don't know what I'm doing wrong either - we do have a small washing machine, so that probably makes it worse.

sleepyhead Wed 30-Apr-14 15:14:05

I've got a 9kg washer and 8kg dryer which does make a big difference.

And I don't iron - folded and put away straight from the dryer, or thoroughly shaken out and hung on hangers if drying in airing cupboard or on airer. (low standards..)

WheresRyder Wed 30-Apr-14 15:19:11

Household of 5 and at least one load a day. At the weekend can easily be 3/4 loads in a day. Unless it's sunny I tumble dry what can be tumble dried and hang the rest on an airer in the utility area. I'd say no more than an hour a day.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 30-Apr-14 15:19:53

I have a 4yo and 8yo and hairy dog. (No partner) i do a wash every day. ALL washing is deposited in the wash hamper in the bathroom. i refuse to go looking for any stray laundry so if it's not in the hamper it doesnt get washed. Time wise- well loading a wash in the machine takes about 1 minute. Hanging it in the hotpress after takes about 5 minutes. Folding when dry and putting away, around 10 minutes. So all in i spend about 15/20 minutes a day dealing with laundry.

BeCool Wed 30-Apr-14 15:25:18

I have myself and 2 DD's aged 3 & 6. No outdoor space and no dryer.

DD1 wets the bed about 3 times a week so I can be doing bed covers, sheets, duvet covers etc several times a week.

I either do:
A) a wash every day and hang it on an IKEA rack over the bath and on hangers (shirts, uniform, dresses) and one of those octopus things (for undies & socks), and I also have a thing that goes in the bath to dry sheets etc on. I can keep on top of it all this way ..... but if I miss a day or 2 then I have option B:

B) is do several loads at once, put it on the heated drying rack with the dehumidifier on, over night. I can get several loads on the rack with sheets over the top and it is done.

The rack takes up lots of room though - with the weather finer now I can use the bathroom drying method A very effectively as I can go out & leave the window open all day.

The biggest change/help for me is switching to using the METHOD clothes wash. This means I can do a quick wash setting (as very little rinsing required) and get DD's bedclothes washed and hung up before we all leave the house in the morning.

I don't iron.

BeCool Wed 30-Apr-14 15:26:37

Time wise I guess about 15 minutes a day.

I've never seen laundry as taking a lot of time - just something that needs to be kept on top of.

TheDayOfMyDoctor Wed 30-Apr-14 15:26:59

Every week I do a white wash, a red wash (popular colour in my house), a dark colours wash, a lighter/brighter colours wash, a dark/black wash, a delicate cycle wash, a bedding wash, towel wash, socks/boxers etc wash, shirts, and usually a machine 'hand wash'. So about 11 here. There's only 3 of us! They're not all full washes, but they do get washed at diff programmes/temperatures. No tumble dryer. I do feel like I'm on an endless laundry cycle.

Could you streamline the 'gathering' and 'sorting' phases?

If you had more than washing basket, things could be dropped straight away into the right one. Obviously not by DS2 personally, but since he doesn't undress himself his stuff could still go straight into the right section.

If you had a basket/section for 'can all be washed together but must never be tumble-dried' then it would get round the sorting when it comes out of the washer.

And, if you don't already, combine the 'iron vs non-iron' and 'folding' phases so that you only go through a batch once after it is dry.

I agree it can all feel like a never-ending task though. Or else you start to worry that your standards are too low...

PurpleEdith Wed 30-Apr-14 16:18:49

family of 5: 4 adults and one 7yr old

i do at least 2 loads a day and often more than that.

tips: only ever quick wash at 30 degrees unless absolutely awful dirt. Straight on to the clothes horse and outdoor line. 5 minutes blast in tumble when nearly dry to get out the creases. fold and put away. hardly ever iron.

probably uses about 30 minutes of my time each day but in very small chunks just a minute here and there to pop stuff in or peg it out.

LizzieMint Wed 30-Apr-14 16:19:34

Urgh, laundry is just never ending. I have 3 Dcs and my laundry basket is always full, i would estimate I average 2 washes a day.
Some things that help - use the shortest feasible wash cycle on your machine. Mine has one that's just over an hour and that works fine for the majority of things. Does your oldest child put their own washing away? If not, get them to start. All of my children put away their own (they have a little help hanging uniform, but only a little), even my youngest who is 3. Everything is folded and they just have to put it in the right drawer. They all help with things like sorting and the older ones (7 and 6) fold their things too.
I do minimal sorting, mostly it gets shoved in on a standard wash, don't buy anything delicate! Towels, flannels and bedding are about the only things separated out so they can go on a hot wash.

IShallCallYouSquishy Wed 30-Apr-14 16:27:26

I have a nearly 2 year old and a 9.5 week old. I'm constantly washing.
One muslin/child bedding wash a week
2-3 x child clothes wash a week
Our bedding
Dark towels
White towels
Adult darks
Adult lights or whites

It never bloody ends. Then there's the ironing. I like ironing once I get started but need a kick to get it going.

Currently got one load of baby/toddler whites and one of adult darks to iron. One load of dark towels in tumble and a muslin/sheets load on the airer.

Thurlow Wed 30-Apr-14 16:37:54

Stop ironing grin

Seriously, though - do kids clothes need to be ironed? Do sheets? Do jumpers? That leaves smarter clothes that are heavily wrinkled or need a crease ironed in to them and that's it. I am a happy slattern, I only iron a few work dresses (which generally get worn twice before washing) and my work trousers. DP irons his uniform shirts at work, thank god (not that I'd be ironing them anyway as we both work f/t)

I think we only do about 3 washes a week. This probably makes me even more of a slattern. One sheets/towels wash, and two mixed. There aren't many white so probably only do a whites wash once a fortnight (again, I'm ignoring DP's uniform shirts!).

Everything aired outside or inside, no tumble dryer here. Ditto it goes in the washing basket or it doesn't get collected and washed.

The only thing I can think of is that we do actually have quite a lot of clothes, so maybe we need to wash less frequently? As in, DD mainly wears supermarket clothes at the moment so we can buy more - they'll get just as dirty if they were expensive. I have smarter work clothes I take off as soon as I get home and near the sticky fingers and I have three skirts/trousers and maybe a dozen or so tops, plus some dresses, so not including underwear I can easily get through a fortnight without having to put a wash on.

Obviously I don't yet have more than one child or school uniforms to do, so it's less than a lot of people. But I'm surprised people manage over a dozen loads a week! Does everyone separate out their clothes more than me? Do people not wear clothes more than once? confused

BeCool Wed 30-Apr-14 16:46:43

I've majorly decluttered over the last 18 months and weirdly laundry has greatly reduced. Or could that be XP not being here anymore?

Anyway, DD will wear uniform bits - polo shirt, tunic, skirt etc usually twice unless they are obviously dirty, though she needs a clean cardi daily. Roll on summer uniforms as those will keep the washing down even further.

Children, I have found, have a dreadful habit of putting stuff in the was that isn't dirty, so I am constantly nagging teaching them about what is dirty and what can be worn again. I'm thinking of DD1 wearing leggings for an hour after school/before bed and then trying to put them in the wash basket.

starfishmummy Wed 30-Apr-14 17:00:29

I am on my third load today. Admittedly one load was the sofa throws so a once in a blue moon
"extra" but there is more that I have yet to bring downstairs.

NotMrsTumble Wed 30-Apr-14 17:11:12

I have a magic laundry basket. Like the magic porridge pot, it seems to get harder and harder to empty. I do separate washes: whites/lights/darks/delicates/work scrubs/towels/bedding/baby lights/baby darks & probably do 2+ loads a day.

Probably making a rod for my own back by insisting on clean jammies every night, but my dc sweat like pigs in the night, & also clean school uniform for the older 2 every day.

Time to unload the tumble drier (it's pouring here) & put in the next load.

mewkins Wed 30-Apr-14 18:10:41

I only iron what needs ironing (no children's clothes, nothing stretch that irons itself, no sheets etc) and also I tend not to buy anything which requires a delicate wash. Therefore all lights can be washed together and all darks.

Coffeeinthepark Wed 30-Apr-14 19:36:00

Wow there's a lot of washing going on here. I have 2 DSs and a baby plus me and DH. The boys share a laundry bag, there's another for the baby and we have a whites basket and a colours basket for us.

I only have to wash the kids' clothes about once a week, even with them having fresh clothes every 1-2 days. Then a white (including towels), a dark, sheets. A wool wash every 3 weeks or so. I probably only do about 4 or 5 loads a week. I do however take work shirts to a shirt service. I wouldn't put the machine on if I couldn't fill it. If I find we can't make it a reasonable amount of time between washes I buy the kids more of whatever is needed to get through. That may sound OTT but fewer washes and wears should mean the clothes last longer anyway and any that survive being worn by 2/3 kids will be passed on

LizzieMint Wed 30-Apr-14 19:40:32

BeCool - very good point about clean clothes ending up in the basket - we have a penalty of a week without chocolate if I find any clean clothes in there. Works a treat. wink

erin99 Wed 30-Apr-14 20:00:29

I really cut down our amount of washing by moving to having a laundry day rather than washing as and when. It's almost alchemy, somehow the laundry pile seems to shrink. You have to hold your nerve - if I crack and wash a day or 2 early it all breaks down and I am somehow back to 'needing' 7 washes a week. I have no idea how or why this happens.

PJs last 3 days or so, DC's clothes often do more than one day.

We do have bedwetting to deal with on top, but I separate that off mentally or I'd completely lose my marbles!

Artandco Wed 30-Apr-14 20:13:29

That's a lot of washing

We do roughly:
X1 white wash
X1 dark
X1 delicate
X2 bedding and towels

Maybe odd other but say 5 a week.

We have x2 washer dryers instead of a watchine Machine and seperate dryer. So on say sat morning we can load all our bedding in one machine, and all towels ( have hammam type so thinner) and kids bedding in the other, and just turn both on a 60 degree wash and dry cycle.

We just fold and put away. Only iron few shirts and odd other bit

So Maybe 15 mins x2 a week

Thurlow Wed 30-Apr-14 20:19:26

<is now curious what goes in people's washes when they do 10 a week, and how often they wear their clothes>

Hellokittycat Wed 30-Apr-14 20:30:47

I do quite a few washes a week. 2 adults, 3 kids.
Bedding every week is 2 loads, towels and bath mats each week is another load. We all swim twice a week so 2 more loads. Then clothes are worn fresh most days so that's a load most days too!

OooOooTheMonkey Wed 30-Apr-14 20:35:51

I have a 5 month old and I literally do a load a day. Sometimes more than one a day. A white load with all DD's bibs muslins and babygrows and some of our stuff every other day. DP's work stuff on a Friday, towels and sheets once a week. Dark and coloured loads in between. I am either hanging outside or on airers or tumble drying every sodding day. I wish I had a cleaner to do my ironing! Consider yourself lucky - I have to do that too! wink

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