For many of us, a laundry machine that is actually in your home can only be considered as a luxury.
Throughout university and well into your adult life, you probably have had some pretty horrifying memories of dragging a big bag of dirty clothes down the street to the laundromat (a.k.a. hell). As you wait for your washing to be done, sitting on the dingy floor, you curse and shake your fist that your apartment doesn't have a washing machine. And the worst part? Your delicates are completely destroyed now in thanks to the machine.
We feel you. We so, so feel you.
For that, we would like to introduce you to something little, but oh-so-extraordinary: Dolfi.
Dolfi is a hand-size product developed by MPI Ultrasonics engineering laboratories in Switzerland and it's dubbed the "next gen washing device."
Using the power of ultrasonic technology, Dolfi, which uses 80 times less energy than a standard washing machine, cleans even the most delicate of fabrics without damaging or discolouring. With its no rubbing, whirling, stretching and fading qualities, this little device cleans fabrics from the inside, which means your threads (including lace, silk and cashmere) are left odour and dirt-free.
Started on Indiegogo, the $149 device will be shipped to Indiegogo supporters before Dolfi takes pre-orders from the public.
So how does it work? All you have to do is stick your laundry in a sink, fill it with water, add detergent and turn on the device. The powerful transducer emits ultrasonic waves available in different settings that travel through water to form high pressure bubbles which safely wash away dirt from the fabric. After about 30 minutes, you rinse your clothes, hang them to dry and off you go.
"We want people to have more fun on their travels rather than stress about costly laundry service, or spend time searching for coin laundries, or even waste luggage space packing extra clean clothing," Andre Fangueiro, Dolfi's product designer, told the Daily Mail.
“Go easy on fabric softener,” says Vicky Silverton, founder of professional organisation and de-cluttering firm, You Need A Vicky. “You would be surprised, other than smell, how little difference it makes.”
And if you thought fabric softener was the shortcut to soft and fluffy towels, think again. Ironically, fabric softener leaves a coating on towels, which reduces their absorbency and eventually leads to that scratchy cardboard feel.
TIP: Instead of using fabric softener to wash your towels, halve the amount of detergent you use and add two tablespoons of white wine vinegar to the drum.
Leaving Washing In The Machine Too Long
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When you’re working long hours, the temptation can be to stick a washing load on before you head out to work or before you go to bed.
But leaving damp washing in the machine can lead to a build-up of bacteria, leaving a fusty smell in your machine - and on your washing.
And if that wasn't reason enough to whip out your washing straight away, it could also spare you some tedious ironing time:
“Hanging up your clothes immediately after drying, helps to minimise wrinkles and the need for ironing,” says Rob Garritano, founder of London cleaning firm, Twinkle Clean.
Over-Using The Dryer
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We all know the more often we machine-wash our dark clothes, the quicker they will fade - and that turning our black jeans inside out before washing will help to keep the colour true.
But did you know that the dryer is just as big a culprit for fading fabrics?
“Hang coloured clothes to dry to help prevent them fade,” says Rob.
If you do need to use the dryer, he suggests: “Speed up drying time by throwing a clean dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes to help absorb the moisture.”
Using Too Much Detergent
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“Too much detergent can reduce the lifespan of your washing machine, as well as the lifespan of your clothes,” says El Jones, author of moneysaving blog, A Thrifty Mrs.
Jones advocates using a quarter (a third, max), of the amount specified on the detergent pack, to keep laundry clean and fresh-smelling, and the washing machine in tip-top condition.
Not Giving Your Machine TLC
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It stands to reason, a dirty, fusty-smelling washing machine can lead to dirty, fusty-smelling laundry. To keep yours sparkling clean and fresh-smelling, give it a good clean once a month.
To get rid of detergent residue, run on a hot cycle, while empty, with two cups of bleach in the detergent compartment of the drawer. Next, run a 40 degree cycle, with two cups of white vinegar in the detergent compartment, to eliminate nasty odours.
In between times, try adding a little baking soda to your wash. This will not only help to eliminate stubborn odours from your washing, it will give your machine a freshness boost, too.
Not Separating Fabrics
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When it comes to mixing up our washing-load colours, we've all been there, done that and bought the (formerly white, but now grey) T-shirt to prove it. But did you know that mixing up your washing fabrics could be damaging your clothes, too?
Towels, for instance, can agitate other more delicate fabrics and eventually lead to pilling, over time.
Also, bear in mind the wool cycle exists for a reason. Even if your woollen sweater says it can be washed at 40 degrees, don't be tempted to chuck it in with the rest of your clothes.
The wool cycle is especially gentle, to help keep your knitwear in shape. Gently pulling woollens back into shape immediately after washing, and drying flat will help, too.