10 Laundry Game Changers for a Fresh School Year

Photo-Illustration: Ellen Digital Ventures; Photos: Retailers

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It’s always a good day when you cut off a tag – but why is it that the newest clothes seem to attract the most messes? A similar curse plagues your most treasured pieces; your favorite pair of jeans that have seen their fair share of spills; your softest tee that bears the evidence of some recent snacking. We all have enough to manage these days without having to figure out how to protect and save our wardrobes too. Stock up on this list of our ultimate laundry products and you’ll be equipped with all the tools you need to keep your entire family’s clothes looking (and smelling) so fresh and so clean clean!



OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover Spray

Don't agonize over which stain remover to pick. This is the best on the market for your general stain-related needs, according to our staff! This chlorine-free and color-safe stain remover works fast – so fast, you can even see stains fade before your very eyes! The catch is to remember it’s a laundry pre-treater, emphasis on pre. Catch stains before they get into the wash and make sure you give the solution at least five minutes (10 is ideal) to do its thing before you start your wash cycle.

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Carbona Stain Devil Combo Set

If you’ve got a particularly nasty stain to deal with, allow us to introduce you to this highly-specialized set of stain removers formulated for the most common messes. It’s no gimmick – it’s chemistry! Certain stains require particular solutions to dissolve the chemical makeup of the mess. This set will help you banish the most likely culprits, from ketchup and mustard to chocolate and coffee – even cooking oil.

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Seventh Generation 'Easy Dose' Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Easy squeezy! That’s what we say every time we start a new load of laundry with our favorite detergent. This bottle squeezes out an EasyDose – a pre-measured, perfect amount of detergent that can handle any load, no matter the size. The bottle’s footprint is small, it’s lightweight, and there are five scents to choose from. Keep it neutral with Free & Clear Unscented, or add a light fragrance you love, like Alpine Falls, Lavender, or Tropical Grove. There’s even a Power Plus formula for super soiled or sweaty gear. Never deal with a drippy measuring cup again! If your little helpers are learning how to do laundry, this bottle will make it a breeze. Or shall we say: a squeeze

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Woolite Darks Laundry Detergent Pacs

The moody packaging is a nod to what this product is specially designed to do: keep those dark clothes you love looking like new. Faded black is a look, but it may not be quite what you were going for. To keep your band t-shirts, dark jeans, black pants and everything deep and dark in your wardrobe looking like it’s fresh off the rack, treat your load of darks to these detergent packs, compatible with both regular and high-efficiency (HE) washing machines.

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Downy Infusions Scent Booster Beads – 'Bliss' (Sparkling Amber & Rose)

When it comes to opinions how clean laundry should smell, people tend to fall into one of two camps: you either want your fresh clothes to smell like nothing, or you want them to smell like something! If you like to infuse your freshly-washed clothes with scent, you’ll love Downy’s Scent Booster Beads. Toss a capful into your machine before you add your clothes. The amount of scent is customizable, too – add more beads for more scent, add less for a lighter result. Your clothes will be imbued with 12 weeks of long-lasting scent from wash until wear. There are several fragrances available, but our favorite is 'Bliss,' a sparkling amber & rose blend that smells incredible.

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Bounce 'Free & Gentle' Fabric Softener Sheets

The perfect dryer sheet for someone who wants to keep it simple. Bounce’s Free & Gentle fabric softener sheets are completely fragrance-free and are dermatologist-tested, so they're safe for sensitive skin. If fabric sheets are a laundry step you’re skipping, here’s why we’re fans: they help to reduce wrinkles, control static cling, and most importantly: they help repel lint and pet hair. 

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Wool Dryer Balls

Here’s a laundry tool you probably didn’t grow up with: dryer balls! They’re affordable, reduce drying time, cut down on wrinkles and static cling – and they can even make towels fluffier! We like these 100% New Zealand wool dryer balls because they’re soft and all-natural, but there are even more intense, spiky versions if you’re looking for ultimate fluff.

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Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus Static Remover

Just because your shirt is clean doesn’t mean it’s walk-out-the-door ready. Sometimes items have been folded away for a while, waiting for their big day. Other times, clean clothes get smooshed in a tightly-packed closet and emerge looking a little wrinkly. The old “hang it while you take a steamy shower” trick totally works – if you caught the problem in time. And speaking of time, if you haven’t got some to spare for ironing, then this spray is here to help you out. Gently mist your clothes, give the wrinkles a tug to smooth them out and voila! Like magic, wrinkles are gone and you look great. Try it on curtains, tablecloths, and bed sheets too!

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Rose Cottage Scented Sachet Bags

You may recall your grandma using drawer sachets, but whatever – cottagecore is in. Treat yourself to a soft fragrance wafting out wherever it is you happened to store your clothes. Hallway coat closet? Sachet. Storage box for winter sweaters? Sachet! Dresser drawers? Sachet away! All day! Rose Cottage sells Chamomile, Jasmine, and Lavender fragrances, plus an assorted pack so you can mix it up or assign signature scents to different family members. Très chic!

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Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Your poor washer spends all its time cleaning messes… but who will care for the clean machine itself? You will – but fear not, it’s a simple task. Toss in an Affresh washing machine tablet to tackle the grime that daily loads leave behind. Just one tablet will deep clean all the major washer parts: pump, valve, basket, drum, wash tub, even the drain hose. Affresh is recommended by major manufacturers as the best way to ensure your clothes get as clean as possible and while taking care of your machine so that it’s in it for the long haul.

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