Blood, Fresh & Dried
Coffee and Tea
Dingy White Socks
Fruit Juice, Wine & Soft Drinks
Brighten Colors with Salt
Hard water can cause clothes to become dull or dingy after several washings. To solve this problem, add a couple of pinches of ordinary table salt to the washer with the detergent. Let some water run in the washer to dissolve detergent and salt, then add clothes. Colored clothes will come out much brighter.
Cut Down on Ironing Time
My time is valuable to my four children, husband and me. I’ve reduced my electricity used and time spent by removing my clothes directly from the dryer while they’re still warm and laying them flat — one item at a time — on top of my washer until the whole load is stacked. Then, I take the entire stack to my favorite folding place. If I have to do something else and return to the stack, it’s still unwrinkled and ready to be folded — not ironed! Now I only iron a few things!
Free Distilled Water
Think you have to take that sheer voile blouse, beaded top, fringed silk shawl, or lace trimmed dress to the cleaners? Think again! You can clean these at home by simply tying the articles in a cotton pillow case, knotting it closed, and washing in cold water on regular cycle. Beads, sequins, buttons and delicate laces will not fall to pieces, and garments can be restored by steam ironing or steaming in the shower!
As a general rule, down items should be cleaned twice a year- once before you start wearing them, and before you put them away after the winter season. Down can be washed or dry-cleaned, read your care label for instructions. You’re better off taking large items that require a lot of washer and dryer space (i.e. comforters) to the laundromat, which has larger machines. Be careful not to tumble dry down items at a temperature greater than 140F, or water-resistant shell fabrics can slow drying.
Some manufacturers recommend putting new tennis balls in the dryer to keep the down from clumping. However, the Soap and Detergent Association does not recommend this practice. The neon dye on the tennis ball could transfer to the down-filled item, or the tennis ball might not be able to withstand the heat. To avoid clumping, it is safer to periodically remove the item and shake vigorously. Adding clean, dry towels to the dryer load can also help.
In washing down filled items, wash on the gentle cycle, but when it comes to drying remember that it takes a very long time! I bought LLBean jackets for my children after going through the normal dryer cycle, I thought they were dry, they appeared dry. The down was settled at the bottom of the jackets though, so I thought the jackets were useless and I called LLBean for advice. They told me to dry the jackets on low heat all day long. The down needs to dry out well, and when it does *then* the down will be evenly distributed through-out the jacket. I did as I was told, I was doubtful, but sure enough it worked! LLBean did say that using a commercial dryer would work faster.
Old stuffed animals can be salvaged. Place stuffed animals in a pillowcase, tie a knot in the case, and then place the stuffed animals in your wash machine on gentle or permanent press. You can even dry them. For best results, machine dry animals for about 20 minutes and then let air dry. Your child’s favorite stuffed toy may look like new.
To clean baseball caps without destroying their shape, place them on the top rack of the dishwasher and run through a complete cycle.
Why Dry Clean Silk? Did you know that silk does not need to be dry cleaned? All you need to do is warm hand wash the blouse with some mild woolwash (normal detergents are the wrong pH for animal fibers like wool and silk). Then dry until it is just damp, roll it tightly and place in a sealed plastic bag then place that in the freezer. Then when it is frozen take it out and iron it.
Suds & Cleanliness
When soap flakes were used, a lot of suds meant good cleaning performance. However, the way laundry detergent is presently formulated, this is no longer true. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of this, and use excessive amounts of laundry detergent.
Never set the washing time for over 10 minutes — most detergents have done all the work they are going to do by then–the rest of the time your clothes are just agitating in the dirty water. It may not seem like much, but you can save a quite a bit of money over time using this trick.
Water temperature plays a key role in the washing process. Hot water offers the quickest, best form of cleaning, and should be used for the following items: Sturdy whites, colorfast pastels and light prints, cloth diapers and similar baby items, and heavily soiled clothes. Warm water removes wear wrinkles, helps reduce wrinkling in the washer, and minimizes dye loss. It should be used for permanent press, all colorfast dark or bright colors, nylon synthetics, polyester, acrylic and washable woolens. You may want to keep in mind that laundry detergents are formulated to clean best at temperatures above 60°F/16°C. Cold water may prevent sensitive dyes from “bleeding” minimizes washer wrinkling and saves hot water. It can be used for lightly soiled fabrics, and should be used to rinse all loads, regardless of wash temperature. However, due to detergent formulations, cold water does not clean as effectively as warmer temperatures.
To save on the time spent running your dryer, especially for “heavy” items like throw rugs, diapers, etc., first run an extra “spin” cycle in your washing machine. Then, add a clean, dry, fluffy towel to your dryer with the wet laundry. This can cut your drying time by 25% or more!
Clean clothes are a necessity, but sometimes in a rush to get the chore done and have clean laundry, we forget the basics of doing laundry. Remember these laundry tips to make laundry easier and keep your clothes looking better for longer:
- Be sure to read clothing labels. You may be surprised to find that many items have special washing instructions.
- Sort laundry into piles of whites, lights, darks, brights and delicates. You also may want to keep lint-generators (sweatshirts, towels, flannel fabrics) away from lint attractors (nylon blouses, microfibers).
- Check clothing for stains and pockets for any items you’ve forgotten.
- To avoid snagging, check and secure zippers, buttons, snaps and buckles. Also, unroll cuffs on shirts or pants, and tie drawstrings.
- Avoid overloading machines. It’s best to never fill the tub more than ¾ full. When putting clothes into the washer, don’t pack them inside the tub.
- Don’t oversoap. Only 1/4 cup of detergent is needed for most front-load washers. If you use too much soap, your clothes won’t get as clean and may remain wet at the end of the cycle.
- Clean the lint trap in the dryer before you start drying. A full lint trap can lead to poor dryer performance and your clothes still may be damp even when the cycle is complete.
- When the dryer stops, remove clothes promptly and fold or hang to avoid wrinkles.
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