Always Wash New Clothes

There are three good reasons to wash new clothes, especially those that are worn in direct contact with your skin, before you wear them.

  • One is to wash out extra dye that can be transferred to your skin or other garments. Most fabric made from synthetic fibers (polyester, acrylic) are colored with azo-aniline dyes. These dyes can cause severe skin reactions for those who are allergic to them. If the allergy is severe, the rash will be similar to poison ivy. But even less severe reactions can cause dry, itchy inflamed patches of skin.
  • It is possible to transfer lice, scabies, bacteria and fungus from person to person when clothes are tried on. Dressing rooms can become breeding grounds for everything from viruses to athlete’s foot.
  • And, most importantly, to remove the chemical finishes that manufacturers put on clothes to enhance color or texture. The finishes won’t bother everyone, but if you have sensitive skin you can develop a rash especially in constant contact areas like armpits, collars, cuffs and trouser waists and thighs.

Urea formaldehyde is often the chemical used to prevent mildew on clothes that have to be shipped long distances in hot, humid containers from overseas to the United States. It has a very strong odor that will remain in the fabric until the garment is washed. One washing will not remove formaldehyde completely but you will reduce the build up significantly and it will continue to be removed with each wash.

It is especially important that children’s clothing, especially clothes for babies, be washed before they are worn. Babies are particularly sensitive to chemicals and skin rashes can occur. Select a detergent that is fragrance free and dye free as these can also cause skin reactions. Washing the clothes for children will also make them softer and more comfortable for them to wear.

Washing new sheets/blankets and towels is also important to remove chemicals since these come in direct contact with skin. Washing will also improve the absorbency of the fabric by removing surface fiber coatings.

If you have a tag on the garment that reads “wash separately before wearing”, beware of dye transfer and color bleeding. Washing will help remove the excess dye but check the rinse water. If color remains in the water, it make take several wash cycles to get rid of the excess dye so continue to wash separately or with similar colors.

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Prevent Colors from Fading

 

The best way to keep colors from fading is to wash your clothes as little and as gently as possible. Water, the friction from agitation, detergent, and drying all contribute to pulling out the bright colors from your clothing. Hand-washing and line-drying aren’t practical, so you need to learn how to wash clothes in the machine to minimize color fading.

Wash Dark Colors Together

Anyone who has ever washed one red sock with an entire load of whites knows the pain that can happen when colors fade away. To prevent dark colors from fading, keep like colors together.

Turn Clothes Inside Out

Some of the wear and tear that happens on your garments can be prevented by turning them inside out before washing and drying. Washing and drying clothing is rough on the outside of your clothing. Turning garments inside out reduces pilling, which dulls the look of the fabric. It’s even more important to turn clothing inside out when you hang clothes outside to dry. While the sun is an excellent and efficient drying tool, it will take the colors right out of your clothing.

Read the Care Label

It takes only a few seconds, but reading the care labels may save a lot of heartaches when your clothes come out of the wash. Check for instructions, which might say to wash only in cold water, or with like colors. Don’t forget to check for drying instructions as well. The label may indicate that the clothing needs to be dried on low, or drip-dried.

Don’t Stuff the Washer (and Dryer!)

Stuffing the washer to capacity is tempting, but it comes with several negatives. It makes the machine work harder, and it is tougher on your clothes. The detergent and rinse water aren’t distributed properly, and clothing doesn’t come out as clean when it is packed into a washing machine. Similarly, clothing takes a lot longer to dry when a dryer is stuffed. Let the items move freely by leaving a bit of room.

Wash in Cold

One of the best pieces of laundry advice is to wash colors in cold. Detergents have come a long way in recent years, and most perform just as well in cold water as they do in hot or warm water.

Don’t Over-dry

It’s easy to let clothing over-dry. While this is bad for all laundry, it is particularly bad for bright and dark colors. Over-drying will cause your colors to fade. Clothes should be slightly damp when they are pulled from the dryer. Since drying adds heat and friction to the equation, it’s even better to line-dry clothes to retain colors. Again – just remember to turn colored items inside out to prevent fading from the sun.

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Laundry Myths – Debunked

Some laundry tips are nothing more than old wives’ tales and are simply a waste of time and money. Below are a few laundry myths debunked with some real information you can use that will make laundry easier. 

Hair Spray To Remove Ink

The idea of using hair spray to remove ink from laundry began in the 50s and was actually a valid tip back then. It was the alcohol in hair spray that worked on the ink stain. However, today’s hair sprays are different from those aerosols of the 50’s. Today, most hair sprays don’t even contain alcohol and can actually cause stains themselves or set the ink in.

Begin by wetting a cotton swab with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol ( test the fabric to be sure the alcohol does not damage or discolor the material). Start by working from the outside of the stain to the inside, dab the spot with the swab. Change to a new swab as ink is absorbed to keep from redistributing the ink.

If traces of the ink remain, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours, then check the stain.

If it’s gone, wash as usual as directed on the label. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stain but it should come out.

Use More Detergent To Get Cleaner Clothes

More is not better when it comes to laundry detergent.  Most of us, at some time or another, are guilty of using too much detergent.  This creates excess suds that actually redeposit soil onto our clothing. 

We recommend using half as much detergent as recommended and see if you are pleased with the results. You can always add more but you can’t take it out. Most detergents these days are highly concentrated and don’t require as much as in the past.

Hot Water Kills All Laundry Germs

Unfortunately, using hot water alone for laundry does not kill all germs and bacteria. Washing clothing or linens of someone who is ill can spread the germs throughout the entire washer whether you use hot or cold water. Only a disinfectant like bleach, pine oil or a phenolic disinfectant (Lysol) will sanitize the laundry and the washer.

The Sock Monster

Most missing socks are not eaten by a monster in your washer or dryer or even trapped in the machine. (You would know if a sock got into the motor of either one pretty quickly.)

Most socks disappear between leaving the foot and the clothes hamper or the clothes hamper and the machine. Check behind your washer and dryer for a stash of socks that have fallen, or check the inside of pant legs for those secret clingers due to static.

Keep a basket or bin or mesh bag in the laundry room or near your clothes hamper for all those extra socks. Once a month go through and sort and match or just buy one kind of sock so they all match!

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Laundry Tips & Tricks Your Mom Never Taught You

Ok, so maybe your Mom did tell you about  these tips and tricks, but in case she didn’t, we’re here to help you out.  Sometimes there are just some laundry care tips that don’t fit into any particular category. You’ll be surprised after you read through these when they just might come in handy.

  • Before you wear a new garment, put a little dot of clear nail polish on the front and back threads of each button. Buttons will stay on longer when the threads are sealed.
  • Zippers won’t stick if you rub them with the edge of a bar of soap.
  • To remove a hem crease, sponge the line on the fabric with a clean white cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar and then press with a warm iron from the wrong side of the garment.
  • When washing clothes, add detergent to the washer first. Pouring detergent on clothing can leave streaks and even cause fabrics to fade.
  • Avoid getting perfume, aftershave or hair spray on leather because the alcohol may ruin the finish and color.
  • Wash nylon clothing every time after wearing. Nylon is very hard to clean once it becomes heavily soiled. Treat any oily stains immediately after they happen with warm or hot water to prevent them from becoming permanent..
  • NEVER use an acetone-based nail polish remover on garments to remove stains! The acetone will dissolve the fabric!
  • Knit garments should always be folded to store on a shelf or in a drawer. Hanging knits can cause them to stretch completely out of shape.
  • Turn all clothes inside out before washing to prevent fading and keep the right side looking like new.
  • If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag for washing your delicate fabrics, place them in a pillowcase and fasten the loose end with a plastic bag tie or shoelace before tossing it in the washer.
  • To reduce wrinkles, wet a hand towel with water, wring out the excess water and toss in the dryer with wrinkled items. Dry on high for about five minutes. Remove the clothes while still damp and hang to dry.
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How to Wash Hats Without Ruining the Shape

 

There comes a time when your favorite hat needs a good cleaning. But before you start, take time to look at the little tag on the inside to get an idea of the fiber content and the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Of course, your tag may be gone or unreadable so, we’ll cover instructions for safe cleaning of almost any type of baseball cap.

Newer baseball hats are often made of cotton twill, cotton polyester blends or jersey mesh. These fabrics are strong and durable and usually colorfast. New hats use a plastic form to shape the brim, not cardboard. These plastic forms can withstand a wash without becoming deformed.

To clean, pre-treat exceptionally dirty areas like sweatbands with a solvent-based spray or gel like Shout or Spray ‘n Wash or a bit of heavy duty laundry detergent like Persil or Tide. These detergents have enough enzymes to break apart body soil and oil grime. Wash the hat with the rest of similarly colored clothing on the delicate cycle using cool water. Do not use bleach. If you are very concerned with protecting the shape of the hat, you can use a specially designed hat form and toss it in the washer.

Allow the hat to dry in the form or over a large coffee can or other head-shaped container. Do not put baseball hats in the dryer because excessive heat and tumbling action can distort the hat’s shape.

If the hat has a cardboard or paper filled bill, you will have to do spot-cleaning only. Use a soft-bristled brush and scrub the stained areas with a heavy-duty detergent/water mixture. Do not over wet the area. Blot with a clean white cloth dipped in water. Allow to air dry. You may need to repeat the steps several times.

You’ve probably heard of washing hats in the dishwasher on the top rack. I wouldn’t recommend this because dishwasher detergents are harsh and often contain bleach that can ruin your hat. Also, the high temperatures aren’t good for the fabric and may cause the hat to shrink.

Cleaning Newer Wool Baseball Hats

Wool baseball hats should be hand washed using cool water and a mild detergent designated for wool. Be gentle and don’t scrub or twist the fibers. Rinse well in cool water and roll gently in a thick towel to absorb most of the moisture. Allow to air dry on a head-shaped object. If you dry your wool hat on your own head, it will dry to the precise shape of your head and cause it to be too tight.

Cleaning Older or Commemorative Baseball Hats

Commemorative hats should always be stored in a covered case to prevent dust and grease from accumulating on the hap. These should only need a light dusting or brushing to keep them at their best. Always store away from direct light and intense heat.

If a deeper cleaning is needed, first do a colorfastness test. Using a white cloth with a bit of mild detergent, gently rub an inconspicuous area of the cap.

If there is color transfer, do not proceed. If it is colorfast, continue using the cloth to clean the entire hat. Do not immerse the hat in water. The bill may be shaped using cardboard that will dissolve. Rinse your cloth in clean water to “rinse” the hat. Air dry on a head-shaped container.

If you have an autograph that you want to preserve, keep the hat in a dark, air conditioned space to prevent fading and mold or mildew from forming. If you want to wear the autographed hat, protect the signature by covering the signed area with a white, pressing cloth and iron the area on high heat.  This will help set the ink.

 

 

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Removing Diesel/Gas Stains and Odors

Have you ever been pumping gas and all of a sudden the tank is full and Ooops! the gas splashes out and right on to your clothes? So how do you get that awful odor out? It’s important to know that diesel/gas stains make all fabrics more flammable than normal so it is very important to handle the items carefully.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Gas and diesel stained clothes and rags should not be washed with other clothing. If after washing you can still smell fuel odor, do not place the garments in a clothes dryer. The excessive heat can cause the fabric to burst into flames.

Since gasoline and diesel are petroleum oil-based stains, they need to be pretreated using a solvent based stain removal product, like Shout or Spray ‘n Wash. If you don’t have a solvent-based pre-treater, apply a bit of enzyme-based heavy-duty liquid detergent, like Tide or Persil to the stain and work it in by gently rubbing with a soft bristle brush. Allow the stain remover to work for at least fifteen minutes before washing.

After pretreatment, wash the garment as usual in the hottest water appropriate for the fabric. Inspect the garment for stains and sniff for odors before drying and repeat treatment if necessary.

If there is still any lingering fuel odors, soak the stained clothes overnight in enough water to completely submerge the fabric with 1 cup baking soda added. Then rewash and rinse as usual.

For exceptionally heavy odors, fill the washer, deep sink or plastic tub with warm water and add 1 cup household ammonia. Shut the lid or cover the solution if possible. Allow the garments to soak for several hours or overnight. Drain the washer and wash as usual.

DO NOT USE ANY CHLORINE BLEACH during the soaking or washing because dangerous fumes can form.

Allowing the clothes to air dry outside will help remove odors as well. Again, if any trace of odor remains, air dry on an indoor rack or outside on a clothesline. Do not put these items in an electric or gas dryer.

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Easy Grease Stain Removal

No matter how hard you try, sometimes you get a greasy, oily stain on your favorite shirt or pair of pants.  Don’t worry, they don’t need to become a permanent memory on your clothes.  With some regular cleaning products you probably already have, and a couple that might be worth purchasing, grease stain removal is a breeze.

Dish Soap & Hot Water

Treat the stained garment by removing grease from the surface with dish-washing liquid. Dish detergent is designed to break up surface grease and allow it to rinse away.

  • Place the garment stain-side down on white paper towels.(Don’t use printed paper towels – it could transfer ink color to your clothes.)
  • Squirt a dime-size amount of dish-washing liquid on the backside of the grease stains.Gently massage the dish detergent into the stain center and work your way to the edges. Give it a minute or so to work.
  • Rinse the treated area under warm to hot running water for a minute to remove the dish detergent. The water temperature will depend on what the fabric can handle. For 100% cotton, you can use hot water.
  • Follow the rinse with a spin in the washing machine, using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric and your regular laundry detergent. If you can’t read the clothing label care tab, choose a warm water wash just to be safe.

Laundry Detergent Pre-treat

Rub a liquid a laundry detergent into the stain, and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Wash the stained item separately from the rest of your clothes in the hottest recommended water, adding a little bleach or bleach alternative to the wash water.

Extend the wash cycle to give the garment some extra time in the spin cycle. With a top-loading washer, wait 6-8 minutes into the cycle, stop it, and spin the dial back for another 10 minutes.

For really tough, greasy stains, OxiClean Max Force Foam Laundry Pre-Treater 9  is one of the toughest grease stain busters around.

WD-40 & Dish Soap

Place the garment on paper towels, grease stain side up. Spray the greasy area with WD-40. Let stand 10 minutes. Then turn the garment over and spray the underside  as well.

Allow to sit another 10 minutes.  Using paper towels, blot on some hand dishwashing liquid, replacing the towels as they absorb the grease. Rinse the treated area, and wash separately from the rest of your laundry.

Last, but not least, inspect the treated area before drying to ensure the greasy stains are completely removed.

Before placing the garment in the dryer, inspect the formerly greasy area. If you can still see any residue, repeat the pre-treating and washing process until clear. Then, go ahead and dry the garment as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drying out Shoe Odors

Do you have an athlete in the family that has smelly shoes, or you yourself have sweaty feet that cause your shoes to smell?  We’ve got a way to help you rid your shoes of odors.

The first step is to rid your shoes of dampness from perspiration. This can help prevent odor and even prolong the life of your shoes. Whenever you take off your shoes for the day, slip a few small pieces of white chalk (inexpensive children’s sidewalk chalk works great!) into each shoe to help absorb moisture.

We’ve found the most efficient way to move the chalk in and out of your shoes, is to wrap the chalk in small pieces of cheesecloth and tie them with twist ties. The chalk can become flaky after absorbing the dampness, and who wants to touch damp, sweaty chalk? Yuk!

(Cheesecloth is inexpensive and can be purchased at Walmart or Target)

Another easy way to help remove moisture and odors is to crumple up newspaper and stuff it inside the shoes when they are not being worn. Be sure to use fresh pieces of newspaper each time.

Last but not least fill nylons or tights with cat litter or Cedar chips and let them sit overnight to absorb moister and odors.

 

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How To Remove Stubborn Creases

Do your clothes develop stubborn creases that seem impossible to iron out? Fortunately there are ways to get rid of unwanted, stubborn creases and it’s not too hard to do it.

We always start by washing the garment first. This should loosen it up a bit. After you wash, then begin the ironing.  Spray starch heavily on the crease, then move the iron slowly, continuing to press the iron into the crease. In most cases this should do the trick for getting out that stubborn crease.

If washing and ironing don’t work however, you do have a couple of options. You can remove the crease mark by rubbing a bar of soap along the line on the inside before pressing. Also you can pursue the vinegar method. Combine equal parts of vinegar and water and spray as you press out the crease. This will probably make your clothes smell a little funny so you’ll probably want to wash the garment again before wearing. (The extra wash should also help with getting that crease out).

Another tip you can try is taking a mixture of two parts hair conditioner and one part water and rubbing that on the crease. With both of the latter techniques you will want to test it in an inconspicuous part of the item or on a completely different item all together. Make sure it’s conducive to your garments before trying.

Creases don’t have to be the end-all-be-all to your clothes. You can beat those creases if you follow these simple pieces of advice.

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Laundry Tips for Jeans

New jeans and jackets have been specially dyed to get that rough-and-tumble look to last through multiple washing’s.

Chances are you bought those jeans or that denim jacket because you liked the color and texture of the denim . These laundry tips can help keep your jackets and jeans looking the way they did when you bought them.

1. Always Wash New Jeans Separately

Dark wash jeans, any jeans for that matter, that you want to stay the same color as they were when you purchased them , should be washed separately the first time.

Use a laundry detergent that’s color safe. The dye in most jeans transfers readily during the laundry cycle to other garments, that’s why it’s important to wash them separately the first time.

2. Turn Jeans Inside-Out Before Washing

Washed jeans should be laundered inside-out in warm or cool water to prevent fading (unless you want fading)

Keep both new and washed jeans away from laundry detergents with bleach for the same reason. This is one time you’ll want to use a basic laundry detergent without additives or boosters.

3. Avoid Frequent Tumble Drying

Avoid frequent tumble-drying. Heat may damages fibers. When necessary, tumble dry while the dryer is cool and use delicate settings.

To extend the lifespan of jeans, lay them flat to dry whenever possible instead of tossing them into the dryer.

4. If Needed, Iron Jeans While Damp

Iron the denim on high heat while still damp. If the fabric is dry, pre-moisten with a spray bottle, or use the steam button on your iron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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