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The Importance of Sorting Clothes

                                             

Interestingly enough, you’ll find several different opinions when it comes to sorting your laundry.  Our method is certainly not the only way.  If you have a method that works for you, then by all means keep doing it!  But if you’re getting worn out, torn or discolored clothes, then this article is for you.

What’s the reason to sort clothes in the first place? Do you really need to sort clothes at all?  In our opinion, you do.  Sorting clothes allows you to use different wash cycles (delicate, normal, permanent press) and also allows for washing in different temperatures.

Most importantly, sorting clothes decreases the chances that a garment is going to bleed onto another when you control the cycle type and water temperature.

Sorting Clothes by Color

There are several distinct piles in which to sort clothes: whites, darks, lights, jeans, and delicates.

∙Whites:  T-shirts, underwear, socks and other similar items fall into this category.  This pile is for white sturdy cottons that can withstand normal agitation in the washer on a warm or hot wash cycle.

∙Darks: Grays, blacks, navies, reds, dark purples and similar colors are sorted into this load.

∙Lights: More pastel-type colors such as pinks, lavenders, light blues, lights greens and yellows are placed in this pile of laundry.

∙Jeans: All items with denim material are washed together in this load.

∙Delicates: This category includes several types of clothing – lingerie, washable silks, and any clothing you’d like to keep from the harsh agitation of the washer.

Sorting Clothes by Fabric Weight

Please note that color is not the only consideration when sorting clothes. The weight of the garment should be considered as well.

For example, if you have several pairs of heavy cotton pants, or denim, then you don’t want to wash those with thin t-shirts.  Washing light- weight clothes with heavy material can possibly tear or rip those garments.

If they are placed in the dryer together, they obviously won’t dry at the same rate since one fabric is much heavier than the other.

It’s best just to separate these types of garments from the start and wash them in two separate loads.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

5 Ways To Use Vinegar In Your Laundry


White distilled vinegar can be used in the laundry to whiten, brighten, reduce odor and soften clothes without harsh chemicals. It’s safe to use in both standard and high efficiency washers and is beneficial to septic tanks. In the grocery store, you will usually find distilled white vinegar next to apple cider vinegar used most often in cooking.

When buying vinegar to use in the laundry, choose white distilled vinegar. It contains no tannins (natural plant dyes that can stain clothes) and it’s less expensive

Brighten & Whiten Clothes

The acetic acid in distilled white vinegar is so mild that it will not harm washable fabrics; yet is strong enough to dissolve residues left by soaps and detergents. Adding just 1/2 cup vinegar to the final rinse will result in brighter, clearer colors. If using an automatic dispenser, add the distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or add the vinegar manually at the beginning of the rinse cycle.

The mild acetic acid in vinegar also acts as a whitener and brightener for gray, dingy clothes in the laundry. To get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again, add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water. Heat to boiling and add the articles. Let soak overnight and then launder as usual. This should only be used on 100 percent cotton clothing.

Banish Mildew Odor

Leaving wet towels in a hamper or a load of wet clothing in the washer can create mildew growth and a moldy smell. To get everything smelling fresh, fill the washer with hot water, add two cups of white distilled vinegar and run through the wash cycle. Then, run a normal cycle with detergent. This works well for small amounts of mold and sour smells.

Naturally Soften Clothes

If you don’t like the idea of using heavily scented commercial fabric softeners, but want softer clothes, white distilled vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener and leaves no residue on laundry. Just add 1/2 cup to the final rinse cycle.

If you do like a light scent, add a couple of drops of essential oil like lavender to the bottle of vinegar.

Commercial fabric softeners interfere with the fire retardant qualities of children’s clothing—especially pajamas—and should never be used with their laundry. White distilled vinegar is safe and hypoallergenic for all children’s clothes.

Reduce Lint and Pet Hair

Just 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle, will help prevent lint and pet hair from clinging to clothes.

Fight Under Arm Odors

Fill a spray bottle with undiluted distilled white vinegar and keep it on hand in the laundry room to remove perspiration odor and stains on washable clothing. Spray the vinegar directly on the inside of the underarm areas before tossing them into the washing machine. Allow it to work for at least ten minutes before washing. The vinegar will help to cut through residual deodorant left on clothing and prevent underarm yellowing.

 

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Choosing the Correct Water Temperature

 

Most people think the way to get the job done is to wash everything in a single load with cold water. That way, you get it all done at once, and there’s no color transfer between clothes, but that’s not always the case.  Washing everything together in cold will prevent color transfer, but unfortunately it won’t get everything clean.

 

When to wash in hot water

Hot wash works well on ground-in and hard-to-remove dirt on sturdy fabrics.

Generally speaking, you should wash white clothes in hot water. Washing colors in hot water is also recommended if the clothes are really dirty or greasy, and they’re made of sturdy, color-fast fabric. (Wash them separately, of course.)

Use it to clean seriously soiled sturdy garments (gardening or children’s clothing), and to regularly disinfect dish towels, washcloths, bath towels, bedding, and pillowcases.

Light and dark fabrics should be separated as hot water may cause these clothes to bleed.

Delicate and coarse or sturdy fabrics should be separated to prevent abrasion and protect clothes from wear and tear.

 

When to wash in warm water

Warm water (or permanent press wash setting) minimizes color fading and wrinkling. Wash light clothes, as well as regular and sturdy fabrics, towels, jeans, 100 percent manmade fibers, and blends of natural and manmade fibers. It’s also appropriate for moderately dirty clothes that don’t need the extra power of a hot water temperature wash.

 

When to wash in cold water

Washing clothes with cold water will protect most dark or bright-colored clothing from running and minimizes shrinkage. Use the cold wash cycle for lightly soiled fabrics and clothes with blood, wine or coffee stains, dark or bright colors that may run or fade, delicate fabrics including washable silk, Spandex swimsuits, and active wear; and delicate lingerie. It’s also okay for lightly soiled clothes.

There’s a misconception that washing clothes in cold water won’t get clothes clean. This is because detergent is formulated for, and fully activated in, warm water. Cooler water won’t fully activate detergent, which means you’ll need to use more to make up for the temperature difference to get your cold wash clothes clean. Thankfully there are several brands of detergent that are designed to work in all temperatures. Tide, Arm & Hammer, All, and Wisk are just a few that we recommend.

 

 

 

 

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Three Simple Steps For Laundry Perfection

We’ve all done our share of laundry, but some of us have figured out a way to perfect it. Here are some of my favorite tips to keeping your clothes looking great and lasting longer.

Step One: Wait Before You Wash

Wear your clothing more than once. I know this might make some of you say “Gross!” but it’s really not.  You know if something needs to be washed.  If it reeks to high heaven – it needs to be washed, but over the course of an average day, clean people don’t get that smelly. Of course it depends on the activity you do during the day as well. Wearing your clothes at least twice before laundering them can save you a bundle on water and electric bills over the course of a year and save your clothes from wearing out before their time.

(Side note….I’m not talking about underwear & socks.  They need to be changed daily.)

Step Two: Divide and Conquer

Admit it, most of you will stuff everything in the washer to make one load. I get it, you want to save time and money, but this is hard on your clothes and they probably aren’t getting as clean as you think they are.  I sort laundry by “lights” and “darks”, which seems to be the traditional way of doing laundry.  Sorting clothes allows you to use different wash cycles (delicate vs. normal) and also allows for washing in different temperatures.

Most importantly, sorting clothes decreases the chances that a garment is going to bleed onto another when you control the cycle type and water temperature.

Step Three: Chose the Correct Wash Cycle & Water Temperature

Take a minute to read the labels on your clothing. You’ll find the information you need to choose both your water temperature and the type of washing cycle. Following the recommendations on the label is especially important if you are new to doing your own laundry or if the garment is new.

 

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

How to Use Baking Soda in Your Wash

It may sound like an old wives tale, but adding baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent will make your colored clothes brighter and your whites whiter. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleanser.  It also softens the water, which means you can use less detergent. It also helps keep your machine clean too.

Whites and Brights: Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash when you add your regular liquid detergent.

Crayons in the Washing Machine: If crayons have accidentally been washed with a load of clothes, there may still be hope. Rewash the clothing in the hottest water allowable for the fabric and add a 1/2 box to a box of baking soda.

Aged Linens: Baking soda can be very effective at removing stains brought on by age. Because it’s a natural cleaner, you can trust that your older linens will be whiter and brighter rather than damaged.

Fabric Softener: Instead of using fabric softener, try adding a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. It acts as a natural softener and is gentler for family members with sensitive skin.

Odors: Add baking soda to the rinse water. Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle helps remove odors from clothes and also softens them naturally.

If your clothes smell like sweat or smoke, it’s best to let them soak in a baking soda solution overnight. This gives the baking soda time to really work as a deodorizer.

  • Mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water in a bucket.
  • Add your clothes to the bucket and swirl them around to make sure they are fully soaked.
  • Leave the clothes overnight and launder them the next day.

Increase Bleach Potency: Adding 1/2 a cup of baking soda in top-loading machines, or a 1/4 cup for front loading machines, will increase the potency of the bleach, so you only need to use half the amount to get the same effect.

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

How To Get Rid Of Smoke Odor On Clothes

Smoke

We all know that smell. The one that lingers after a night out, dinner around a camp fire or an evening spent at a concert. That lingering odor that follows you home. How do you get that annoying smoke odor out of your clothes?

Without Washing:

Air it Out

The first thing a smoky garment needs is some fresh air.  Hang the garments in a well ventilated area…even better hang outside.  It’s amazing what a little sun and fresh air can do.

Odor Eliminating Spray or Essential Oils

If the smoke smell remains, keep the garments hanging and use an odor eliminating such as Febreze all over the front and back.  You can make your own odor eliminating spray by combining equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil such as lemon or mint oil.

Baking Soda

Place garment in an extra large plastic zipper bag with plenty of room for the garment to move around.  If you don’t have a large enough zipper bag – use a plastic shopping bag or garbage bag. Add ½ cup of baking soda, seal or tie the bag securely, give it a quick shake and let the entire thing sit overnight.  That will give the baking soda time to absorb the odor.  Once it’s done sitting, take the bag outside, open and shake off excess baking soda. Tumble garment in low or no heat drying cycle to help.

In the Washing Machine:

Vinegar Pre-Soak

Before washing, give your garment a nice, long, soak.  Add 1 cup vinegar to a sink or tub, then fill with warm water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a fresh scent.  Soak garment for 30-60 minutes, then wash as directed.

Scent Booster

I’ve tried  Downy Unstopables and love what they do.  Just add a scoop to a load of smoky-smelling clothes and let them go to work.

Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice can do wonders for all kinds of cleaning purposes, especially in the laundry room.  Whiten whites and remove all sorts of odors, such as smoke, just by adding ½ a cup of lemon juice to the wash.

Vodka

Alcohol is a powerful odor remover and safe on most washable fabrics.  Pour ½ cup of cheap vodka (or rubbing alcohol) into the wash to eliminate tough odors.

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Four Ways To Make Laundry Easier

Sort As You Go

Instead of wasting time sorting clothes into loads on laundry day, sort as you go with multiple hampers. This will take away that extra step on laundry day. It also allows you to customize your loads of laundry however you prefer.

If you like to wash each family member’s laundry separately, set your hampers up and label them with each person’s name. If you prefer to wash loads by color or texture, label each hamper that way. On laundry day, take each hamper one at a time to the laundry room and simply transfer all the clothes from the hamper to the washer. No sorting necessary!

Stain Treat As You Go

Just like sorting laundry, stain treatment on laundry day can take a ton of time (especially if you have kids). The time and energy it takes to look at each piece of clothing from the hamper, one-by-one, is time consuming.

Instead, treat them as you go by keeping some of your favorite stain treatment near the hamper. Examining one outfit before it goes into the hamper is much more manageable.

Use Zippered Mesh Bags

How does this help move things along? Separate items that need to be air-dried into their own zippered bag, so you don’t have to waste time sorting them out between the washer and dryer. This also eliminates time spent hand washing certain items or separating them into an additional “delicate” cycle load simply by washing them right along with a normal load of clothes. The mesh bag will protect most items from everything else and cushion them during the spin cycle.

To make this work best, buy zippered mesh bags with a “hidden” zipper that stays shut firmly during the wash cycle. You can put multiple items inside one mesh bag. Just be sure not to overfill so that soap and water can move freely into the bag and reach each garment.

Separate Into Fewer Loads

Mesh bags can also help you cut down on the number of loads you wash. Obviously, fewer loads = less time and hassle, plus, studies show that a full load is cleaned more effectively and efficiently than a load with just a few items. Just be sure you don’t over stuff the washer or dryer. A good rule of thumb is to fill the machine until it’s ¾ full so that the items can get equal attention from your detergent and rinse thoroughly.

 

 

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Removing Wrinkles from Permanent Press Clothing

I do not like to iron! I want to pick out an outfit, put it on, and then be on my way.  I do not want to pick out an outfit, get the iron and ironing board out, and then iron it. It takes more time out of my schedule if I have to iron, and if you’re in a rush, it can be stressful! Here are a few of my ”tried and true” tips to help you out.

Be sure to dry permanent press clothing in a gentle/low heat dryer, not HOT!  Hot will only make a wrinkled mess and can melt the fabric. If you forget your clothes and don’t pull them out of the dryer in time, and they happened to get wrinkled, all you have to do is place a damp bath towel in with your clothes on gentle/low heat and dry for a few more minutes. Be sure to take them out just before or as soon as they are dry and lay flat or hang on a hanger.

After you’ve washed and dried your clothes, remove them immediately from the dryer. Then with a little spray bottle filled with water, spray the collar, button hole placard, and the sleeve edges. Then quickly “Finger Press” those focal points to be smooth and flat so they are no longer folded, curled, or crinkly. This easy finishing touch makes a big difference for permanent press shirts to look so much nicer….and it’s easy! No Iron involved!

If you do end up needing to get the dreaded iron out, then try to iron your clothes with a damp cloth. Place the damp cloth on top of the garment and iron. This will steam the fabric and it won’t be too hot. Try a small spot first to see if this will work on the fabric. Remember, too hot of a dryer or iron on permanent press fabric can melt it.

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

Teaching Kids the Importance of Laundry

We believe it’s important to teach your kids how to help with their laundry.  It makes life a little easier on Mom, Dad, Grandma, other family members, and makes your kid’s responsible for their belongings. Here are some simple steps to get you started.

GIVE YOUR KIDS THEIR OWN LAUNDRY BASKET

You can find kid sized laundry baskets at Target, or Wal-Mart that are just the perfect size for one load of laundry.

The same basket can be used to carry laundry to the washing machine, carrying the clean laundry from the dryer to wherever it’s folded, and if needed, carrying the folded laundry to the dresser to be put away. Plastic baskets are easy to wipe out regularly and keep clean. When your kids get bigger and have bigger clothes, just upgrade them to a bigger basket.

The most important tip is reinforcing the habit of putting dirty clothes IN the basket, and then washing clothes when the basket gets full instead of continuing to heap clothes on top!

HAVE SET LAUNDRY DAYS

Depending on the number of kids you have, set one laundry day, give each kid their own day, or assign multiple kids per day.  Reinforce the laundry day habit by marking it on the calendar, adding it to your chore chart or maybe even an app on your phone! One week’s worth of laundry isn’t more than they can manage in one day, so it won’t be overwhelming to them.

TEACH YOUR KIDS TO DO THEIR OWN LAUNDRY

Teaching the kids to do their own laundry is probably the scariest part – but also the most liberating!

ADJUST FOR AGE

Grow your kids into these healthy laundry habits, start when they are young and eager to help and add responsibility as they grow.

Children from 2-5 can learn to put clothes in the hamper when they take them off, help load things into the washing machine, help switch over to the dryer (hand them to the child to put into the dryer), and can help put folded items in drawers.

Children from 5-7 can “fold” and put away their own clothes and load the washer and dryer with supervision at first and then increasing independence.

Children ages 8 and up can pretty much do their own laundry from start to finish. They can also assist younger siblings with the washer and dryer settings!

When my kids were little I realized that since we wash our clothes with cold water anyway, their clothes were small, and most of their wardrobe was the same color — all of their laundry could be washed together! If you want to bleach their socks or teach them to sort into lights and darks, you can do that, too, but I skipped it. Focus on checking pockets, setting aside items with stains or brand new items that haven’t been washed yet, the settings for the machines and soap, and checking the lint trap.  Observe at first and give them more freedom and independence as they get the hang of it.

TEACH YOUR KIDS TO FOLD (OR NOT)

Depending on their age, I believe the bigger goal is to have them get their clothes IN the dresser, get the drawers closed, and be able to find something to wear. I’ve learned that most kids aren’t concerned about folding but as they grow, they begin to fold their clothes on their own – especially when they see everyone else doing it. As kids grow, folding becomes more important if you want everything to fit in the drawers and not be a wrinkled mess.  At that point you will have to step in to teach them that folded clothes fit better, and look better.  They won’t like the idea of ironing!

“Important tip” here is to choose your battles, and focus on your main goal of teaching them to be responsible for their own laundry. The precision will come with time.

SOLVE YOUR SOCK ISSUES

Here’s another crazy idea – stop matching socks! Why stress yourself out? Solve your sock issues with three simple steps. First, buy all one kind of sock, and second, buy different brands (different colored toes, etc.) for each kid. They will have some other socks of course – maybe some church socks, maybe some Christmas socks but the bulk of their daily socks will be the same. Third step – skip the “folding” and assign a drawer or basket in a drawer for socks. It keeps all the socks together, and it skips the hassle of matching and folding.

All of these habits work together to create an easy laundry system your kids can help with. By having their own basket, they are responsible for their own laundry. By having laundry days and small baskets you are limiting the amount of laundry they have to wash at one time. By foregoing sorting, sock matching and folding, you’re preventing your children from becoming overwhelmed with the details of perfection and focusing instead on being responsible and the joy of independence.

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer

How to Wash Antique Linens

Some of us are fortunate enough to inherit a little piece of our family history. If we’re lucky, these items will be in good condition, but that’s not always the case. Some items may have dry rot, mouse nibbles and/or rust. You won’t be able to save these things if the fibers are already compromised. If you tug on two sides of a garment and it comes apart without much effort, your item has dry rot and has reached the end. Sometimes, you just have to let go, there’s no way to save it.

To start, here are a few items you should have on hand:
White Vinegar
Rust Remover
Restoration – (Oxyclean is similar, more widely available and slightly less expensive than Restoration, but it doesn’t work as well.)
Bleach pen
Laundry detergent (simple soap, nothing added)

***PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY METHOD THAT YOU CHOOSE TO TRY. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE CONDITION OF THE GARMENT.***

“Restoration” and white vinegar are preferred products. Read the label and use common sense. You may only need to use “Restoration” for your initial laundering to remove storage dirt. You can also use “Restoration” in the washing machine with your laundry, too. It removes odors, age spots, storage stains, label stains and often, some rust. If it doesn’t remove the rust, try using “Whink Rust & Stain Remover.” Be aware that if rust has already eaten away the fibers that you may be left with a hole where the rust had been after cleaning with rust/stain remover.

Use “Restoration” first and, if stains remain after two or three sessions with it, put the dampened piece outside in bright sunshine for a day. This is often a magical solution. Horrible stains will usually disappear within an hour. This is the least invasive method. It is effective and it’s free – it also sanitizes. However, sunlight does bleach and weaken fibers over time. Sunlight is destructive so I am not suggesting that you constantly subject your fragile items to sunlight. This method, used once or twice on a piece that would otherwise need to be thrown away, can be very helpful. If the stains persist, you may need to resort to using bleach with laundry detergent. I like to have a bleach pen on hand because it allows me to pinpoint where I apply the bleach. After using bleach, always rinse with white vinegar, then rinse again with clear water.

Step 1. Use hot water with “Restoration” until the water turns clear. (approx. 4- 6 hours or overnight) If the water is not clear after overnight soak, repeat this step. Extremely filthy items may require several soakings.

Step 2. Drain and refill container with water; add white vinegar (a splash or a cup, depending on container size); swish around and soak for 10-20 minutes.

Step 3. Drain and refill with lots of clear water; swish around and soak for 15 minutes. Done!

If stains remain, repeat entire process.
If there is rust, use rust remover on wet fabric, then repeat from Step 2.

If stains remain, lay wet/damp item outdoors in sunshine.

If stains remain, soak with laundry detergent and small amount of bleach. Or use a bleach pen on small stains. It is better to soak longer using very little bleach.

IMPORTANT!
DO NOT mix chemical treatments. Pre-rinse items that may have bleach or detergent residue with vinegar to neutralize the bleach and then rinse twice in clear water before trying another treatment. DO NOT bleach anything after using Oxyclean or peroxide or any other chemical treatment. Your items may turn permanently blue, or worse Rinse really well before trying any other product.

 

 

Read More 6 Ways to Cut Down Energy Costs In The Summer
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