Laundry hacks for the perfect wash every time

Laundry - although done almost every day, it can still seem impossible to get it right. So we have some tips on how to make each washing machine load successful

Doing the laundry can often feel like a thankless and never-ending task, but it's even more frustrating when all your hard work has less-than-perfect results.

From stains that seemingly won't budge to fading colours and damp smells, we look at common laundry problems you could be facing and let you know the steps you can take to solve them - and prevent them from happening in the future.

The problem: I can't shift those stubborn stains

Four steps to take...

1. First off, treat the stain as quickly as possible. Rinse the area to remove any excess, then turn the item inside out and put a piece of kitchen towel underneath the stain. Dab the stain with Ariel Excel Gel and use the dosing device to massage the gel into the stain, effectively pushing it out the other side onto the towel. Rinse before running it through the washing machine.

2. Wash the item on a higher temperature than usual, if the laundry label allows.

3. Be careful not to overload the machine, as this can prevent items from getting washed properly. There should be a hand's-width gap between the laundry load and the top of the drum.

4. Make sure you're using enough detergent. If you are doing a full load of washing, be sure to use a full dose of detergent. And if you live in a hard water area, you will need to use more detergent than usual.

The problem: my laundry isn't coming out as soft as I want it to

Three steps to take...

1. Use a capful of fabric conditioner in your wash. Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Conditioner, for example, makes your laundry huggably soft, and it's hypoallergenic too.

2. If you already use fabric conditioner but notice there is still residue in the dispenser post-wash, the siphon could be blocked. Remove the dispenser and give it a clean under a hot tap with an old toothbrush.

3. Be careful not to overfill the fabric conditioner compartment. If you fill beyond the maximum-level indicator, this triggers immediate release of the fabric conditioner, which means it will interfere with how well the detergent cleans. As a result, you won't get any of the benefits of using a fabric softener, and your clothes won't come out as clean.

The problem: sweat-patch stains are the pits

Three steps to take...

1. Some deodorants react differently to perspiration, so try changing your brand of deodorant.

2. If you notice sweat patches have formed, soak or wash the item as quickly after wearing as possible to help prevent staining.

3. To fade existing underarm stains, soak the effected areas in water with a capful of an oxygen-based stain remover, making sure the solution doesn't dry on the fabric. Rinse and wash as usual.

The problem: my clothes come out with white, powdery streaks on them

Four steps to take...

1. Rewash the clothes in a quick cycle without washing powder.

2. To prevent the detergent from streaking in the future, make sure the machine isn't overloaded, as this can stop the water from being able to slosh about enough to dissolve all the detergent.

3. Give your detergent drawer a clean every now and then to avoid mould or mildew build-up. Run it under a hot tap and scrub with an old toothbrush.

4. Low water pressure in your home may mean that some of the washing powder has not been fully flushed into the machine during the wash process, and so is instead flushed into the machine during rinsing. To avoid this, instead of using a powder detergent, try using Ariel Gel or Liquid, which you pop straight into the drum.

The problem: my colours seem to fade with every wash

Four steps to take...

1. Turn the temperature down. Hot water can cause dyes to run, and detergents are now designed to clean just as well in cooler temperatures. It's better for the environment and your energy bills, too!

2. Wash using Ariel 3in1 Pods as they brighten whites, protect colours, and leave your clothes looking like new.

3. Check the label for a warning that the dye is not colourfast. This means the dye will run and fade easily, so it should be washed separately and in cool water.

4. Turn items inside out before washing to reduce fading from friction with the machine and other garments.

5. Nylon and other materials containing elastene are particularly susceptible to running dyes from other materials, so if you have a nylon item which has any white in it, wash it with whites rather than colours.

The problem: my clean laundry smells less-than fresh

Three steps to take...

1. Clean your washing machine once a month by running a hot wash (60 or more) with a cap of detergent but no clothes in the machine.

2. Mould may have grown on the inside of the door seal, so wipe around the inside and outside of the rubber seal with a damp cloth before running the maintenance wash.

3. Remove clothes from the washing machine as soon after the cycle has finished as possible to avoid damp smells. Transfer to the tumble dryer or air dry in a warm room with plenty of space between garments to allow the air to circulate.

The problem: my clothes occasionally come out damaged

Three steps to take...

1. Always read the label. If it recommends dry cleaning or hand washing, it is likely the item will become damaged in a regular wash. If washing labels are all gibberish to you, check out our guide here.

2. Fasten zips, buttons and bra clasps before washing to avoid them catching on other items of clothing.

3. Wash potential problem or delicate garments separately or in a wash bag.

Do you have any laundry tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.