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Backpacking travel hacks

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Backpacking is an extraordinary opportunity full of excitement and adventure. That being said, it can also be stressful and costly. These travel hacks will help to limit the stress that comes with backpacking, and allow you to fully focus on the adventure. 

  • Use private browsing
  • Roll your clothing
  • Buy a portable phone charger
  • Take advantage of credit card offers
  • Stay for free 
  • Adapt your travel style
  • Rely on Wi-Fi
  • Use WhatsApp
  • Download Google Translate 
  • Keep rechargeable batteries in the fridge 

Use private browsing 

When booking any kind of travel, always use private browsing. Travel sites can monitor when you have visited their website and what you have searched for by installing cookies on your browser, which can lead to inflated prices. Using private browsing prevents these sites from monitoring your activity and will guarantee you the best travel prices. 

Photo by Peter Olexa from Pexels

Roll your clothing

Travel backpacks do not have a lot of room, so space-saving techniques are essential. One space-saving technique is to roll your clothing rather than fold. Rolling your clothing will make it much easier to arrange them inside your backpack and will also limit the creases on each garment. Alternatively, you can also use your clothing to wrap up valuables that you want to take with you, such as a camera. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Buy a portable phone charger 

Although there will be places to charge your phone on your travels, there is no guarantee that your phone won’t completely run out of battery before you get there. It is vitally important to have a charged phone with you at all times whilst you are backpacking, so that you can look up directions, book transport, or in case of emergencies. Investing in a portable phone charger is the best way to guarantee that your phone always has a good amount of battery left in it. Just make sure that you remember to charge your portable charger before leaving for the day. 

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Take advantage of credit card offers

There are several credit card companies that offer lucrative deals perfect for backpackers. These can include travel insurance deals, travel points, and allowing you to use your card in multiple different countries without additional charges. Thoroughly research the pros and cons of several different credit card options, and decide whether it is worth signing up for one. You may find it is the easiest option for you. 

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Stay for free

If you are an avid backpacker you may have made friends and connections in places that you have previously visited. Alternatively, you may be backpacking to a country that you have never visited before but know someone who lives there. Either way, make use of your connections and try and get free accommodation for a few nights. As long as you trust the individual that you are asking to stay with, there is no harm in requesting if you can sleep on their sofa for a couple of nights. It may end up saving you a lot of money. 

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels

Adapt your travel style

If you are travelling to different countries, or even different areas of the same country, you will have to adapt your travel style to reflect how pricey the area is. You will find that in some places, such as capital cities, accommodation, food, and activities are more costly than in smaller towns and villages. Before heading to your next destination, do some research. If the area is costly, find free activities and consider staying in a hostel rather than a hotel. If the area you are heading to isn’t as pricey, don’t restrict yourself. Spend a little bit more money on accommodation or eating at a nice restaurant. Backpacking is all about balance. As long as you have enough money to get yourself safely from one location to another, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the rest of your money to treat yourself. 

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

Rely on Wi-Fi 

Some countries you visit will charge you for making calls and sending texts outside of the country. Don’t risk these charges and instead rely on Wi-Fi. Most areas you visit will have places that supply Wi-Fi, such as restaurants, cafes, and hotels. Use these services to stay in touch with friends and family. Wi-Fi is free, so don’t risk any additional charges by using your phones data. 

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

Use WhatsApp

Texting and calling to a phone outside of the country you are in can incur additional charges. Rather than texting or calling, download WhatsApp on your phone and use it to stay in contact with friends and family. WhatsApp is a messaging platform that uses Wi-Fi to keep you connected. You can send messages, phots, videos, and even call other WhatsApp users completely free of charge. Make sure to download the app before you leave and encourage the people you want to stay in touch with to do the same. 

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Download Google Translate

As you are backpacking you will encounter an array of different languages. Although you may encounter people who speak the same language as yourself, you will have a much more authentic experience of the countries you are visiting if you interact with the locals, including speaking to them in their native language. Download Google Translate so that you can quickly and efficiently translate what people are saying, and form a cohesive response. Overtime you may find yourself picking up phrases and learning parts of the language. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Keep rechargeable batteries in the fridge

It may sound strange to keep batteries in the fridge, but it is incredibly effective. Most rechargeable batteries retain 90% of their full charge when they are kept in cooler temperatures. When you get back from a long day of sightseeing, put your batteries in the fridge overnight and by the time you go out the next day they will be ready to use again. 

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Never run out of clothing whilst you are backpacking. Laundryheap operates internationally, from the UK to the USA, Singapore to Bahrain, you can check if Laundrheap operates in your next backpacking destination by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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How to remove beetroot stains

Image by Nick Collins from Pixabay

Beetroot is both delicious and it’s vibrant purple colour brightens up any dish. That being said, it is a natural, and permanent, dye, which makes beetroot stains on clothing lethal. Catch your stain early, and follow these steps, to ensure that your stain is lifted and your clothing isn’t dyed forever. 

  • Machine washable clothing 
  • Dry clean only clothing
  • Laundryheap

Machine washable clothing 

To remove beetroot stains from machine washable clothing you will need…
  • Kitchen towel
  • Cold water
  • Laundry detergent 
  • Washing machine 
  • Chlorine bleach or colour-safe bleach (optional)

To begin removing your beetroot stain, soak a kitchen towel in cold water and gently blot at the stain. Make sure that you are blotting and not rubbing the stain as rubbing will only set the beetroot further into your garment. As you blot, you should notice the stain transferring to your kitchen cloth. Continue blotting until you are satisfied that no more of the stain will be lifted. 

Once you are finished blotting, place your stain under a cold running tap. The water should turn a light purple colour as a result of it pushing more of the beetroot from your clothing. Continue holding your garment under the water until it runs clear. 

After dabbing and holding it under cold water your stain may be lifted. If it has not, gently work a small amount of laundry detergent into the area, and leave it to sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rinse the laundry detergent from your garment, gently rubbing your stain with your fingers to encourage it to lift with the detergent. Continue rinsing until all of the detergent has been removed. 

Once you have removed the detergent from your garment, check to see if your stain has lightened in colour or been lifted. If it has, wash your garment in your washing machine as you usually would. If your stain is still vibrant and visible, repeat the previous steps. 

An alternative solution to lift your stain is to soak your item in chlorine or a colour safe bleach. Submerge your garment in a mixture of bleach and cold water for a minimum of 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove your item from the bleach solution and wash as you usually would.

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

Dry clean only clothing 

To remove beetroot stains from dry clean only clothing you will need…
  • Dry cloth 
  • Damp sponge 
  • Bread (optional)

Begin lifting your beetroot stain by blotting it with a clean dry cloth. Similarly to with machine washable clothing, you must make sure that you are blotting not rubbing the stain. This will help to soak up any excess beetroot liquid and begin lifting the stain. Continue to dab until no more colour is transferred to the cloth. 

Next, dampen a clean sponge with cold water, and place it directly over the stain, making sure that it covers the full area. Do not rub or move the sponge as this can cause the beetroot to set further into the fibres of your garment. The sponge will begin absorbing the beetroot from your clothing, lifting it from your item and on to the sponge. After 5 minutes, check how much of your stain has been absorbed, and, if necessary, re-dampen the sponge and place it back on your stain for a further 5 minutes. Repeat this process until your stain has been lifted. 

If you do not have a clean sponge on hand, an alternative option is to use bread. In the same way as you would use the sponge, dampen the bread using cold water and place it over the stain. The bread will absorb the beetroot from your garment, lifting the stain. 

Once you have used either a sponge or bread to lift your beetroot stain, take a clean, dry, cloth and dab at any remnants of the stain. This should leave you with stain-free clothing

Image by Marco Verch Professional P

Laundryheap 

If you are struggling to lift your beetroot stain, or any other stain for that matter, let us take care of it for you. All you have to do is left us know what the stain is and where it is located, and we will do the rest. To book your Laundryheap order head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Tips to remove damp smells

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The smell of damp on your clothing means that mould or mildew is growing on the material. This can happen if your clothes are left in a dark and humid environment for too long, or if your washing machine has mould or mildew growing in it. If you notice your clothing smelling damp, try these tips to remove the smell. 

  • Hot water
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Bleach
  • Prevention
  • Laundryheap

Hot water 

When washing damp smelling clothing, always use hot water. The hot water will not kill the mould or mildew, however the heat will help to evaporate it, thus removing it from your clothing. Before using hot water on your clothes, always check the care label

White vinegar

The acid found in white vinegar makes it an excellent way to kill mould and mildew and remove damp smells from clothing. To use white vinegar as a pre-treatment for damp clothes, mix one cup with a bucket of warm water and leave your clothing to soak for at least an hour.  Alternatively, add one or two cups of white vinegar directly to your washing machine for the same effect. 

Image by NatureFriend from Pixabay

Baking soda 

Baking soda is incredibly useful at absorbing smells and moisture from clothing, making it perfect for lifting damp smells. Simply add a quarter to half a cup of baking soda directly to your washing machine, and use the hottest temperature your clothing will allow. The baking soda will absorb the dampness in your clothing along with the horrendous smell, and leave your clothes smelling and feeling fresh. 

Image by Aqua Mechanical

Bleach

Bleach is incredibly effective at removing damp from clothing, however should only be used on white clothing. Soak your damp smelling items in one part bleach and 3 parts hot water for a minimum of 30 minutes. The bleach will penetrate your clothing, killing any mould or mildew and lifting the smell of damp. Before using bleach, you may want to test it on an unseen bit of your garment, such as the hem, to make sure that it won’t permanently stain. 

Image by Mike Mozart

Prevention

Now that you have removed the smell of damp from your clothing, here are 5 tips to help prevent mould and mildew from building up on your clothing again. 

  1. Avoid damp clothing

Never hang or fold clothing whilst it is still damp, instead, wait until it has completely dried. Storing clothing whilst it’s still damp creates the perfect damp and humid environment for mould and mildew to grow, leading to clothing smelling damp.

  1. Vaccum seal 

If you know that you won’t be wearing certain garments for a while, for example summer items during the winter, vacuum seal your clothing. This will help keep any mould or mildew out, and leave your clothing smelling fresh until you’re ready the wear them again. 

  1. Have a clear out

An overflowing wardrobe is the perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow. If you notice that your wardrobe is becoming slightly too full, it may be time for a clear out. Get rid, or vacuum seal, the clothing you don’t wear anymore, and give your everyday items room to breathe. Your clothing will thank you for it. 

  1. Clean your machine 

Your clothing may be smelling damp because your washing machine needs to be cleaned. It is vital to clean your washing machine at least once a month to avoid your clothing smelling damp, and to keep your washing machine working properly. 

  1. Reduce your detergent 

Using too much detergent in your washing machine creates a thin layer on your clothing that prevents future washes from properly penetrating your items and removing bacteria. As such, make sure that you always use the recommended amount of detergent in your washing machine. More detergent does not mean cleaner clothes. 

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

Laundryheap 

To guarantee that your clothing doesn’t smell damp, let Laundryheap wash them for you. We will pick up, launder, and redeliver your clothing to you, completely on your schedule. To book your order simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Energy-saving laundry tips

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An average washing machine will use 350 watts of energy for one 30 minute cycle. This translates into 36,400 watts per year. There are some simple ways to save energy when doing laundry.  

  • Wash at a cooler temperature
  • Hand wash
  • Wash full loads
  • Use a high spin speed
  • Air dry clothes 
  • Don’t use timed cycles
  • Clean your dryer
  • Use dryer balls
  • Turn off your machines
  • Make sure your machines are energy efficient

Wash at a cooler temperature

Lower washing machine temperatures use less energy, and most laundry detergents work perfectly fine in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius or cooler. There are times when you will need to use a hot wash, such as when washing heavily soiled items or disinfecting clothing, however, for your average wash, 30 degrees or lower will work just as well. 

Photo by Teona Swift from Pexels

Hand wash

If you only have a couple of items to wash, and they aren’t heavily soiled, then save energy by hand washing them. Fill a basin with lukewarm water, add your detergent, and submerge your items. Use kneading and swishing motions to ensure that the detergent has been adequately worked into your items, before rinsing them off in clean water, and leaving them to dry. Hand washing works just as well as its machine alternative and uses a lot less energy. 

Photo by Teona Swift from Pexels

Wash full loads

It can be tempting to wash your clothes as soon as you notice your laundry piling up, but it’s best to wait until you can fill your washing machine. Doing half loads of washing throughout the week will use more energy, and more time, than doing one or two big loads once a week. If you need an item of clothing washed urgently, hand wash it instead. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Use a high spin speed

Increasing the spin speed of your washing machine will extract more water from your clothing and decrease drying time. Before selecting a higher spin speed, check that it won’t cause any damage to your clothing. High spin speeds should not be used on delicate items, such as silk, but are best for heavier materials, such as denim

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Air dry clothes

There are many benefits to air drying your clothes besides saving energy. Drying clothes in their original shape reduces the number of wrinkles on the item, therefore meaning less, or even no, time spent ironing. Avoiding putting your clothes in a dryer can also help with their longevity. Rather than being tumbled in a machine until dry, air drying is much gentler on the fibres of your clothing, causing less risk of rips and tears. Additionally, if you dry your clothes outdoors, you will be left with the smell of fresh air every time you put on a new item. 

Photo by Olga Lioncat from Pexels

Don’t use timed cycles 

Despite the benefits of air drying, there are reasons why you may need to use a tumble dryer. If this is the case, save energy by avoiding timed cycles. Timed cycles work based on a time scale rather than whether your clothes are dry or not. For example, your clothing could be dry in 30 minutes, but if the cycle is running for an hour, the dryer won’t stop until that hour is up. Instead, use an automatic cycle, which uses moisture sensors to determine whether your clothes are dry. If your machine does not have an automatic cycle, keep checking the dryness of your clothes throughout the cycle.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Clean your dryer

Tumble dryers only work if they are regularly cleaned. If you do not regularly clean your tumble dryer then air can become trapped and your clothing will not dry as quickly, meaning that you use more energy. Make sure that your dryer has been adequately cleaned before putting clothing in it, and if it hasn’t clean it. Not only will it be more energy-efficient, but it could also prevent a fire. 

Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels

Use dryer balls

Dryer balls are small, round, balls of wool, rubber, or plastic that you put in your tumble dryer to reduce drying time by up to 25%. They work in a similar way to dryer sheets, however are much more environmentally conscious as they are reusable. If you don’t want to buy dryer balls you can easily make them. For single-use dryer balls, you can scrunch up tinfoil into a ball shape, or, for multi-use dryer balls use felted wool and follow this method

Image by J Sedg

Turn off your machines

One of the easiest ways to save energy when doing your laundry is to make sure that your machines are turned off. Even if your machines aren’t running a cycle, if there are lights on then they are still using energy. After using your washing machine and tumble dryer, make sure that they are switched off and, for extra precaution, switch them off at the plug. This way, you will know for certain that they are using no energy at all. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Make sure that your machines are energy efficient

Due to technological advances, most modern washing machines are much more energy efficient than older models. If your washing machine and tumble dryer are slightly older, you may want to invest in newer models. When shopping for a washing machine and tumble dryer, look out for a blue Energy Efficiency Recommended logo. These won’t be the cheapest machines so it will be an investment, but they will run much more efficiently and save you money in the long run. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

At Laundryheap we are constantly improving the way we work to be more efficient and environmentally conscious. To book your Laundryheap order, simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Living in London made easier

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Living in London can be hard. It’s expensive, people can be rude, and the tube system is a labyrinth that not even the most seasoned Londoner can understand. But, it is also a multicultural metropolis, overflowing with amazing things to see and adventures to have. There are an abundance of ways that can make living in London less stressful, less costly, and, overall, easier. 

  • Oyster cards
  • Railcard
  • Maps
  • Savings websites
  • Banking
  • Weather 
  • Theatre 
  • Food
  • The Residence
  • Laundryheap 

Oyster cards

Whether you prefer taking the bus, tube, or train, there is no escaping public transport in London. You can pay for public transport via contactless or card payment, however, the best way is via an Oyster card. An Oyster card is a reusable card that can be used on all forms of public transport across London. You can top up your card at most London tube stations or online whenever you are running low on funds, and use it the very same day. What is more, Oyster cards have a cap on how much you can spend in one day, meaning that you will never be charged more than £13.50.

Image by Rachel Lovinger

Railcard 

A Railcard is incredibly handy to have for travelling both within and outside of London. There are several different types of Railcard that you can purchase, however they are all priced between £20 and £30. With a Railcard, you can get one third off of your train fares and, if you link it to your Oyster card, one third off of off-peak rail fares, including the tube and DLR. 

Photo by Paul IJsendoorn from Pexels

Maps

London is a big city. So big, in fact, that it would be preposterous to even imagine navigating it without using a map. Luckily, there are several useful apps that can help you to not only navigate the city, but also plan public transport journeys. These apps mean that you will never get lost in London again, and that you will always be able to find public transport to aid you on your journey. 

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

Savings websites

Living in London can be incredibly expensive. Bills, food shopping, transport, the cost of living, it all adds up. Luckily, there are several savings websites that offer discounts on all manner of items, including everyday essentials and nights out. Simply head to these discount websites and search for items you are looking for discounts on. If you find a website in particular that offers good deals, subscribing to their newsletter will often give you a first-look at what discounts are available and/or coming up. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Banking 

With so much to do, see, and experience in London, it can be very easy to let your money get away from you. The majority of banks now have apps that can help you access your bank account faster. They will often send notifications directly to your phone when money is coming out of your account or when you are running out of funds. If you are looking for an alternative way to manage your money, Monzo is an online bank whose app helps to break down exactly where your money is being spent. This helps to identify what areas you are spending the most money on, and perhaps where you could save. 

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Weather

UK weather is unpredictable. The sun could be shining brightly in the morning but by the evening you could be stuck in torrential rain. Most phones now come with a weather app pre-downloaded, however, if you don’t have one, it’s best to download one ASAP. It will help you to plan your day around changes in the weather, meaning you will never be caught in the rain without an umbrella again. 

Photo by S Migaj from Pexels

Theatre 

One of the many joys of living in London is the glorious West End, where there is no end to the wonderful musicals and plays that are performed every day. If you enjoy a trip to the theatre, then you will want to download Stagedoor. It can be hard to narrow down what to see on the West End, but Stagedoor can make your choice easier with reviews from both theatre critics and previous audience members. On the app you can also book tickets and access offers for discounted meals and even discounted tickets. The wonders of the West End awaits. 

Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels

Food

London is a multicultural hub and, as such, there are an abundance of restaurants to try. Eating at different restaurants guarantees that you will always be treated to amazing food, however can be incredibly expensive. Luckily, apps, such as OpenTable, offer huge discounts on some of the top restaurants in London. Simply see what reservations they have open, and book as soon as possible. Be quick though, because there will be other eagle eyed people waiting for a top reservation at a low price, so you have to act fast. 

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography from Pexels

The Residence 

One of the most difficult parts of living in London is finding the perfect home. You want to find somewhere that is within your budget, with good transport links, and plenty of local amenities- which is easier said than done. Luckily, The Residence offers the perfect solution. Whilst you find your dream home, you can stay in one of The Residence luxury apartments, located specifically for ease of commute, accessibility of services, and transport links. The contemporary design of each apartment offers a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle of city living, whilst also creating the perfect environment for finding your dream home. What is more, all guests of The Residence can enjoy 20% off of their first Laundryheap order using the code RD20. 

Image courtesy of The Residence website

Laundryheap 

We all detest doing laundry, and when you live in the city it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get it done. Luckily, Laundryheap is here to help. We pick up your dirty laundry, wash it, and re-deliver it to you, all in as little as 24 hours. All you have to do is head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to make your booking today. At least that’s one thing ticked off of your to-do list.


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Staying cool whilst working from home

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

Working from home is challenging at the best of times, but it’s made even harder during the summer months. Studies have shown that hot days can decrease productivity by 24%. That being said, these tips will hopefully make working from home in the summer a little more bearable. 

  • (Under)dress for the job
  • Freeze your feet
  • Let in air 
  • Avoid fans
  • Cool your pulse point 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Eat smart
  • Go outside
  • Sit at a desk/table 
  • Try to alter your working hours

(Under)dress for the job

One of the joys of working from home is that, unless on a video call, nobody can see you. That means that you can dress, or underdress, in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. If that means wearing shorts and a vest to help cool yourself down, that’s up to you to decide. You make your own dress code when working from your own home. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Freeze your feet

Have you ever been so hot that you wish that you could stick your feet in the freezer until autumn comes? Well, that’s because your feet and ankles have many pulse points and are sensitive to heat. If you put something cold on them then your whole body will cool down. Try and freeze a hot water bottle, or a similar object, and rest your feet against it whilst you work. You will notice your body instantly cooling.  

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Let in air

This may seem obvious, but a good way to help cool yourself down is to let in the fresh air. What may not be as obvious is to open your windows but shut your curtains. Blocking the sun with your curtains will prevent your home from becoming a sticky greenhouse, whilst keeping your windows open will allow any breeze to drift through and cool your abode. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Avoid fans

Although fans are a popular way to stay cool during the summer they are not the best way to beat the heat. Fans circulate the hot air in a room rather than cool it, which means that once the fan is turned off you are still left with a stiflingly hot room. If you are going to use a fan, place a 2-liter bottle of frozen water in front of it. This will help to cool the air slightly rather than just circulating it. 

Photo by Enrique Zafra from Pexels

Cool your pulse point 

Pulse points are the areas of the body where blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin, which is why we can feel our pulses. Because the blood vessels are so close to the surface of the skin, they are also a great way to quickly cool down our blood and, subsequently, body temperature. Take regular breaks throughout the day to apply ice packs to your wrists, neck, chest, and temples. It may also be a good idea to apply a damp cloth to the back of your neck whilst you’re working to maintain a cool temperature throughout the day. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated keeps our body temperature regulated, prevents infection, and provides nutrients for our body’s cells. We should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day, however, when it is particularly warm we should be drinking water more regularly. Make sure that you keep track of how much water you drink throughout the day and moderate it depending on whether you are drinking enough. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Eat smart 

In addition to drinking plenty of water, another way to stay hydrated is to eat smart. Fresh foods, such as lettuce, cucumber, and celery, have a high water content which helps us to hydrate when we eat them. When it’s particularly warm try to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid eating meat. When our bodies break down meat we use extra energy, which causes us to sweat, otherwise known as the ‘meat sweats’.

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

Go outside

If there is a gentle summer breeze, then make sure to take regular breaks and go outside. Take a walk around a park, your neighbourhood, or even your own garden, but make sure that you make the most of the nice weather and breathe in some fresh air. Not only will the breeze help to cool you down, but regularly breathing fresh air increases productivity as it de-stresses the body and clears the mind. Of course, if it is a particularly humid day going outside may cause your temperature to increase rather than cool you down, so try and avoid heading outside in such conditions. 

Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels

Sit at a desk/table

When working from home, it can sometimes be luxurious to work from the comfort of the couch or even a bed. That being said, when it is warm the last thing you want is a hot laptop sitting on your legs. Avoid this unnecessary heat by working from a desk, table, or any surface where you can place your laptop and sit comfortably. 

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Try to alter your working hours

As the sun sets the temperature drops, making for much more comfortable working conditions. If you are in a job that allows you to do so, have a conversation with your manager/HR department about altering your working hours. Pitch starting later in the day and working until later in the night so that you can avoid the hottest hours of the day. This could help increase your productivity and prevent you from suffering through working in the heat.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Working from home is difficult regardless of the weather. Let us take one thing off of your mind by taking care of your laundry. Simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to book your order now.


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Your guide to dryer balls

If you have heard about dryer balls, but have questions about them, this guide will help answer those questions. 

  • What are dryer balls?
  • Why do you need them?
  • How do they work?
  • Do they last?
  • Are they environmentally friendly?
  • Can I make my own?
  • Where can I get them from?  

What are dryer balls?

Dryer balls are small spherical balls that can be used in tumble dryers. They are often made from felted wool, rubber, or plastic. 

Why do you need them?

Dryer balls are used to reduce static electricity, soften clothes, and reduce drying time. 

Photo by Dom J from Pexels

How do they work?

You may notice that your clothes don’t evenly dry when you use a tumble dryer. This is because, as they dry, clothes clump together, meaning that air is not evenly distributed through each item. Dryer balls roll in between the layers of your clothing as they spin, separating each item. This decreases drying time and reduces the static caused when fibres rub together. 

For the best results, use 2-3 dryer balls per load.

Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels

Do they last?

On average, dryer balls will last up to 1,000 washes. This is equivalent to roughly 2-5 years depending on how often you tumble dry your clothing. 

Are they environmentally friendly?

There are several environmental benefits to using dryer balls. Firstly, because they reduce drying time, they save energy on tumble dryer use. Secondly, dryer balls are reusable, unlike drying alternatives, such as dryer sheets. This means you can make a one-time dryer ball purchase, and reuse them for up to 5 years before having to repurchase. In addition to this, dryer balls are usually made from biodegradable wool or recycled plastic. 

Image by J Sedg

Can I make my own?

To make your own dryer balls you will need… 

  • Scissors
  • Large needle 
  • 100% wool yarn or 100% wool fabric strips 
  • Cotton string
  • Old socks or tights
  • Cooking pot 

Begin making your dryer balls by preparing your fabric. If you are using old clothing, such as jumpers, simply use a pair of scissors to cut your clothing into strips.

Once you have a sufficient amount of strips, you can begin forming your ball. Start by wrapping your stips around your fingers, making sure that you switch directions to get an equally rounded ball. Continue wrapping until you have a ball that is roughly the size of a tennis ball. When you are satisfied with the size, secure the end by running it under several strands of yarn- you can do this with a large needle. 

Once you have secured your dryer ball, place it into an old sock or pair of tights, and use cotton string to secure it. Next, place your sock/tights in a pan of hot water and bring it to a boil. When your pan has reached boiling point, remove it from the heat, and allow your dryer balls to sit in the water until it cools. This process will cause the wool to shrink and felt. 

When your balls have cooled, remove them from the water and squeeze any excess from them. To fully dry your dryer balls, place them in the tumble dryer on high heat. Once dry, remove the balls from the sock/tights- they will be smaller and have a fuzzy texture. This is the core of your dryer ball.

To finish making your dryer balls, wrap your remaining fabric strips around your freshly made core until it reaches roughly three and a half inches in diameter. Repeat the soaking and drying process. The end result should be a fully-formed, reusable dryer ball. 

An alternative way to make dryer balls is to scrunch up aluminum foil into a ball and place it in the dryer. This is an easier way to make a DIY dryer ball but is not reusable. 

Image by Wil C. Fry

Where can I get them from?

If you would prefer to buy dryer balls, you will find them at all major supermarkets, home stores, and online. 

Image by zoomar

The best way to guarantee that your laundry is clean and dry is to book a Laundryheap service and let us take care of it for you. To book your Laundryheap service, simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Laundry room space savers

Image by Christian Brothers

No matter how large your laundry room is, it never seems big enough. Mountains of washing, hefty boxes of laundry detergent scattered across every surface, an ironing board against one wall, and a washing machine taking up another. Does this sound familiar? No matter how large your laundry room is, these space savers can help you keep it clean, tidy, and, most importantly, manageable for doing your laundry. 

  • Hanging bars
  • Wall-mounted drying rack
  • Foldaway drying rack 
  • Floating shelves
  • Countertop 
  • Coat hooks
  • Door storage 
  • Glass jars
  • Folding laundry basket
  • Stack appliances

Hanging bars 

The easiest way to maximize the space of even the smallest laundry room is by using the walls. Tension rods are excellent for air-drying clothing or hanging clean washing ready to transfer to the wardrobe. Installing a few tension rods to the walls of your laundry room will free up space, whilst also providing wet clothes with more room to air dry, therefore speeding up the drying process. 

Image by Christian Brothers

Wall-mounted drying rack 

If you are short on drying space, a wall-mounted drying rack could be the solution. You can purchase these racks in a variety of different sizes, depending on your needs and budget. Once purchased, simply attach your drying rack to the wall, and start adding your wet laundry. Before adding your wet laundry, make sure that your drying rack has been securely attached to your wall as you don’t want it falling off. 

Foldaway drying rack

An alternative to the wall-mounted drying rack is a foldaway one. Foldaway drying racks can be unfolded and placed in your laundry room whilst your clothing dries, and, once it has served its purpose, collapsed and stored away. These drying racks are often folded to a slim size, so would easily fit in a gap in your laundry room. What is more, foldaway drying racks can fit a full load of laundry on them and are very reasonably priced. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Floating shelves

Another way to utilise the wall space in your laundry room is to install floating shelves. A floating shelf is a great way to store your laundry products, such as detergents and drying sheets, or even clean clothing that needs to be put away. You can install your floating shelves at varying heights so if you are using them to store laundry products you can keep them out of reach of children, or, alternatively, you can place them lower down so that they are accessible to everyone. 

Countertop

Countertops are incredibly useful in laundry rooms for folding clothes, transferring clothes from the washer to tumble dryer, and simply placing things on whilst you are using them. You can install a countertop over your washing machine and tumble dryer to utilise space, and make it easier to transfer clothes from one machine to the next. 

Image by countrykitty

Coat hooks

Coat hooks can be hung individually or in strips, depending on the amount of wall space you want to take up and what you want to hang from them. A clever use for coat hooks is to hang your ironing board on the wall. Ironing boards can be hefty and not overly compact, so hanging them on the wall via coat hooks is a great way to utilise wall space and prevent it from taking up vital laundry room space. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Door storage

Every area of your laundry room can be utilised as storage, including your door. Door storage is very useful for storing smaller items, such as hand towels, laundry pods, or bottles of fabric softener. Often, the storage will simply hang over your door and drape down the length of it with small pockets or shelves to store items. They are usually very economical so are a perfect storage option, even for those on a tight budget. 

Photo by Darcy Lawrey from Pexels

Glass jars

If you buy your laundry detergent in bulk or make your own, glass jars are perfect for storing it. Rather than having boxes of detergent scattered around your laundry room, buy a few big glass jars and put them on a shelf, or even on top of your washing machine. They are much more elegant looking than cardboard boxes and will save you a massive amount of space. If you prefer to use liquid laundry detergent, you can buy glass bottles. 

Image by Susan

Folding laundry basket 

Laundry baskets seem to always be in the middle of the laundry room, taking up space, and being a potential trip hazard. A folding laundry basket not only limits the risk of tripping, but also means that once you are finished with it you can simply fold it and store it away until you need it again.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Stack appliances 

If you have both a washing machine and a tumble dryer, save space by stacking them on top of each other rather than having them side by side. This will give you more space in your laundry room, plus make it easier to transfer clothes from one machine to the next. These types of appliances tend to be hefty, so make sure you enlist some help before trying to lift them. 

Image by Christian Brothers

Making space-saving changes to your laundry room is easy, but what’s easier is booking a Laundryheap dry cleaning service. To book your service, simply head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app.


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How to remove sand from your clothing

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A day of sunning yourself on the beach and splashing around in the water is idyllic. What’s less than idyllic is when you can’t seem to get rid of the sand relentlessly sticking to every inch of your clothing- towels included. Hopefully, these tips will help when it comes to the tiresome task of removing sand from your clothing.

  • Start from the top
  • De-sand your items
  • Bag your items
  • Wash away the sand
  • Clean up any lingering sand

Start from the top

Sand seems to find its way into every single space it can stick itself to. To begin the removal process, start from the very top of your body, and work your way down. If you are at a beach with access to showers, make use of them. The quickest way to get rid of sand is by washing it away. If there are no showers, simply begin by shaking out your hair, and rubbing as much sand away from your body and swimsuit as possible. To get rid of the sand on your feet, try adding baby powder once they are dry. This will prevent you from picking up any more sand as you make your way home. 

Photo by Min An from Pexels

De-sand your items

Before putting your beach towels, flip flops, and any other items you have taken to the beach, back in your bag, give them a really good shake. Sand belongs on the beach, not in your personal belongings, so make sure to de-sand ALL of your items before heading home. If you miss this step you will be finding sand grains for days, maybe even weeks, after your beach trip. To help remove sand from smaller items, such as sun lotion or water bottles, use baby wipes. The moisture from the wipe will easily pick up the sand and remove it from your belongings. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Bag your items

Some items are harder to get sand off than others. For example, if your swimming attire is wet, sand will easily stick to it, and not so easily come off. For these items, it’s best to simply bag them up and deal with them when you get home. Make sure that you bring an ample amount of bags to the beach with you, as, if your clothing is particularly sandy, you may need to double bag. Securely tie your bags so that no sand can escape before you get home. 

Photo by Sanddollar from Pexels

Wash away the sand

For your bagged items, it’s important to wash them as soon as you get in. 

To wash your beach towels, use a hot wash setting unless stated otherwise, and dry either in a tumble dryer or by air drying. Once you have used the washing machine to wash your towels, run an empty wash. This will prevent sand from being transferred onto any clothes you wash in the future. 

When washing your swimsuit, it’s important to avoid using the washing machine as this will stretch the material and damage the item. Instead, fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a mild laundry detergent. Place your swimsuit in the water, and leave it to soak for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, swirl your swimming costume in the water, before lifting and rinsing it with cool water. After you have rinsed your swimming costume, leave it to air dry, rather than using the tumble dryer. 

If you have any other items, such as umbrellas or windbreakers, you can wash the sand from them using a hose. It’s important to wash all your items once you get home, unless you want sand to linger in your house.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Clean up any lingering sand

Sand is pesky and can linger for weeks after your beach trip. The best way to clean up lingering sand is by hoovering and mopping it up. Use a hoover to suck up small grains of sand, and go over the area with a mop to make sure that there are no remaining grains. It’s best to do this step last to prevent yourself from constantly having to hoover and mop after de-sanding each item you took to the beach. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Whilst you’re de-sanding, don’t let your laundry pile up. Book a Laundryheap dry cleaning service, and we will take care of your laundry for you. To book your laundry service, simply head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app.


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Relaxing things to do in Manchester

After a hard day, it can sometimes be difficult to unwind and relax, especially if you live in a city. If you are residing in the Manchester area, these are some of the best ways to relax. 

  • Wander around St John’s garden
  • Enjoy a coffee in the trees
  • Stroll around Sale Water Park
  • Admire art at Manchester Art Gallery
  • Indulge in cat therapy 
  • Find tranquility at Rena Spa 
  • Create a work of art at Seven Limes Pottery 
  • Travel back in time at Heaton Park
  • Reach new heights at Manchester Climbing Center

Wander around St John’s garden

Where the St John church formerly stood in central Manchester, there is now a beautiful garden.  Developed in 1932, the small but beautiful St John’s garden is home to an urban orchard, beautiful flower beds, and plenty of benches to sit and relax on. In the center of the garden, you can find a memorial to the church, and those that were buried in its adjoining graveyard, placed exactly where the entrance to the church once was. St John’s garden is the perfect place to unwind with a book, or simply sit with your own thoughts. 

Image by  Gerald England

Enjoy a coffee in the trees 

The Whitworth café has been beautifully designed with floor-to-ceiling windows so that guests can enjoy a coffee in the trees of Whitworth Park. As you sip on your coffee and nibble on an incredible seasonal menu, that is both ethically and locally sourced, you can enjoy the nature of Whitworth Park and the urban sanctuary of the Art Garden. The Whitworth cafe is the ideal place to enjoy all that nature has to offer, no matter the weather. 

Image by  David Hawgood 

Stroll around Sale Water Park

Sale Water Park is a social hub, making it the perfect place to relax, especially with friends and family. Located in the south of Manchester, you can find beautiful woodland, meadows and, in the center of it all, the lake at Sale Water Park. During the summer months, locals and tourists alike flock to the lake to sail boats or ride jet skis. Nestled within the park is The Boathouse Restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the park. 

Admire art at Manchester Art Gallery 

Sometimes the best way to relax is to go somewhere quiet, where you can focus on something other than your stresses. Manchester Art Gallery is perfect for that. There is no admission fee to access the gallery, so you can wander around at your own leisure, admiring and getting lost in the art on display. Whether you are interested in fine art, sculptures, or even textiles, Manchester Art Gallery has a wide variety of beautiful pieces, that are guaranteed to satisfy even the toughest critic. 

Indulge in cat therapy

It has been proven that petting and being around animals has a calming effect on humans. In fact, stroking a cat can lower your blood pressure and increase positive thoughts. If you are a cat lover but do not own one, then you can visit Manchester’s Cat Cafe and enjoy unlimited access to a group of furry friends. For £12 an hour, you can enjoy bottomless hot and cold beverages, whilst stoking your new feline friends. 

Find tranquillity at Rena Spa

The ultimate relaxation experience is visiting a spa. The Rena Spa, located in the The Midland Manchester hotel, is an award-winning retreat away from every single stress you may be experiencing. Whether you are looking to massage the stress away, enjoy a dip in the relaxation pool, or release your pent-up frustrations in the steam room, there is a treatment for everyone to enjoy. You can find an escape at The Rena for a few short hours, or book a spa retreat, either way, you will leave feeling refreshed, revitalised, and, most importantly, completely relaxed. 

Photo by John Tekeridis from Pexels

Create a work of art at Seven Limes Pottery 

When you’re feeling stressed it can be useful to throw yourself into a creative project. Seven Limes Pottery offers small and friendly classes to potters of all levels. You can dictate what you would like to make, and the tutors at Seven Limes will help guide you through the process until you are left with a beautiful piece of pottery at the end. If you aren’t completely sold on the idea of making pottery, you can try a taster class.

Photo by Natallia Rak from Pexels

Travel back in time at Heaton Park 

At first glance, you may mistake Heaton Park as just another serine park, but you would be wrong. Not only is the park itself listed as a historical site, but there are also several buildings and landmarks nestled within its grounds that have been classed as historic sites. As you walk around the park you can observe these beautiful, historic, structures, before heading to the animal center, where you can see several farm animals roaming alongside alpacas and peacocks. With there being so much to do and see, Heaton Park is a great place to stroll around, at your leisure, and feel yourself relax into a calmer way of life. 

Reach new heights at Manchester Climbing Centre

Any form of exercise releases endorphins which help to relax and make you feel happy. What’s even better, is when you can exercise in a fun and adventurous way. At Manchester Climbing Center you can reach new heights by climbing the walls of the reformed church that the center is housed in. If you’ve never tried rock climbing before, you can do an intro class for £15 where you will be shown the ropes (pun intended) and given a full health and safety briefing. After completing the introductory class, you can pay £9 per session, or buy a membership for £45 a month. 

Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

Laundry is never a relaxing task to complete, so let us do it for you. Book your Laundryheap service by heading to the Laundryheap website or downloading the free Laundryheap app.