Struggling to keep your bed linen in tip-top condition? Baffled by detergent label jargon? Haven't the foggiest idea how to sort out the laundry cupboard jumble? We were too until our washday wishes came true and Sam, our Laundry Superhero, popped into our lives, revealing the secrets behind fresh and fragrant sheets.
Sam's the founder of Wilton London, a company whose non-toxic, eco-friendly detergents and conditioners are a breath of fresh air in a world overrun with chemically cleaning products, and what he doesn't know about laundry, isn't worth knowing. So instead of the usual 'chuck-a-load-in-and-hope-for-the-best' routine, give Sam's solutions a try and you can become a washing whizz too.
What’s the difference between bio and non-bio, and which is best?
When shopping for detergents, words like bio and non-bio are wallpaper on our supermarket shelves. And while we don't tend to give these terms a second thought, choosing the right one can make a big difference to how comfortably you snooze.
Biological detergents contain enzymes which work wonders at banishing stubborn protein-based stains like blood or baby formula. However, they can irritate the skin and leave you feeling itchy. My advice would be to stick with non-bio laundry liquids and use a stain booster if you need a little more oomph in your wash.
How much laundry detergent should I actually be using?
Using the right amount of laundry liquid is often the deciding factor between spotless sheets and bedding spattered with detergent splotches. Unfortunately, as every wash is different, it isn't an exact science; for example, you'll need to use more detergent than the normal if you live in a hard water area or you're washing a particularly dirty load. As a rule, always read the guidelines on the bottle, then, once you've gotten used to a particular brand, adjust the quantity according to your situation.
How do you keep towels soft?
I'm pretty sure the people of Ancient Rome asked this same question after a soak at the public baths. It's that old! The truth is bath towels are designed to hold onto moisture for longer, which can result in a build-up of crusty minerals, especially in those pesky hard water areas (take a look at this water hardness map to discover the quality of the water where you live).
The good news is there are a few tricks you can try. Firstly, never underestimate the magic of woolen dryer balls. Similar to line drying your towels on a windy day, these little beauties help agitate the fibres, making them softer. Secondly, try using a cooler setting on your washing machine, as a hot wash can up your towels scratchiness. Lastly, most towels are made from natural fibres which, just like your luscious locks, need conditioner. Why not give Wilton London Fabric Conditioner a go? It's great at maintaining and repairing these fibres, while also making your towels feel (and smell!) fabulous.
How do you remove coffee stains from bedding?
Be quick! I know it's Sunday morning, you're all set with a paper and a brew and the last thing you want to do is strip the bed and put a wash on, but if you love your sheets, that’s your best bet at rescuing them. Also, if you use Wilton London Laundry Liquid, add a little directly to the stain just before you pop them in the machine and the chances are that coffee disaster will disappear as quickly as your relaxing lie-in did.
How do you keep laundry smelling fresh for longer?
Heat is a lasting scent's nemesis. The Wilton London Laundry range uses essential oils to create its sweet fragrance, but, if these are heated to a certain temperature and reach their 'flashpoint', they will evaporate. My top tip for making your washing smell heavenly for longer would be to dry your laundry gently and not in a dryer, then fold and store them somewhere cool like your wardrobe.
What are your tips for drying washing inside?
The Great British weather, one minute you're sweltering through a heat wave, the next, you're stuck in a snowstorm. If the forecast is looking unpredictable and you're forced to dry your washing indoors, try to avoid using radiators, as too much heat can cause stiffness and loss of scent. Place the items on a clothes horse, either in an airing cupboard or close to a radiator and move the bits about regularly to help them dry faster. Just keep in mind, laundry dries quickest when placed on the top of the horse and cotton bedding dries more slowly than that made from synthetic fibres.
What’s the best way to brighten dingy whites?
To keep white bedding looking first-use fresh, it’s going to need a little care and a little love. Start by always separating your loads, ideally into whites, lights, colours and blacks. Then, similar to how blonde hair turns fairer in the Summer, dry your whites outside and use sunshine, nature’s bleach, to turn them from dull to dazzling.
How do you get musty smells out of a mattress?
Your bed linen may be crisp, your pillows plumped to perfection, but if your mattress is smelling stale, you can kiss those sweet dreams goodbye. The number one rule is to flip your mattress regularly so that you're not always snoozing on the same area. Also, leaving it in the garden on a sunny day is a great way to kill bacteria and dry out any mustiness.
However, you'll need to go the extra mile if you want to get the best from your mattress. My favourite trick is spraying the fabric with a mix made of equal parts water and vinegar and 10 drops of tee-tree essential oil, then letting it dry in a room with a breeze. Although, dusting your mattress with bicarbonate of soda, leaving it to soak in for a few hours and then vacuuming it, also works a treat.
How do you fold laundry to save space?
For tips on folding laundry, you need to check out the Queen of Space-Saving, Marie Kondo. One easy technique she teaches is incorporating a fold with a roll, but the best bit is the way she stores clothes. Rather than laying each item flat in a draw, she places them sitting up, which takes up less room and you can see everything in one go by looking down into the drawer. Genius!
Thanks for your tips, Sam! Now we can all spend more time snoozing and less time scrubbing. If you have any lifesaving laundry hacks of your own, do let us know, we would love to hear from you.