Antique Linen Care

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. But if you’re lucky enough to have a piece of family history here are some ways to take care of 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.

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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.

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Whiter and Brighter Laundry

Baking Soda

What It Does: Baking soda helps deodorize and soften your clothes. Simply add 1/2 cup of baking soda along with your regular liquid laundry detergent at the start of the wash cycle. If you are using a powder detergent, add the baking soda during the rinse cycle.

Bleach

Use chlorine bleach only for whites and bleachable colors. Before using check for “non-chlorine bleach only” labels.

Non-chlorine bleaches, such as oxygen bleach (Oxi Clean) and hydrogen peroxide, are also great at whitening. These products are gentler than chlorine bleach, making them safe for most fabrics and dyes.

Hydrogen peroxide will whiten and brighten clothes, disinfect laundry, and remove stains. Pour it directly on stains such as blood. Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to whites in the washing machine to brighten them

NOTE: Test in an inconspicuous area before using the product on darker colors.

White Distilled Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent fabric softener and deodorizer. Pour 1/4 cup into your washing machine during the last rinse cycle. Continue the cycle as usual

Warning: Never combine vinegar with chlorine bleach as this will result in harmful fumes. Do not use vinegar on silk, acetate, or rayon clothing.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural laundry whitener and freshener. Add 1 cup to your washing machine water along with your detergent. Only use lemon juice on white laundry.

Borax

Borax helps remove stains, and it deodorizes and brightens clothes. Borax also breaks down the minerals in the water so detergent can work better. Add 1/2 cup of borax at the beginning of the wash cycle.

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How To Remove Make-Up From Clothes

Halloween is fast approaching and we know there will be a lot of make-up stains on clothing. Removing cosmetics from clothing can be a chore. Knowing the most efficient methods for removing makeup stains can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

First of all, know the type of  makeup you’re dealing with: non-oily or oily. Non-oily are powder products like eye shadows and blushes. Oily types are lipsticks, cream blushes, and other liquid makeup. Each type requires a specific method of removal. So…..determine if your makeup stain is non-oily or oily.

Second, you should attempt to remove the stain as quickly as possible to avoid letting them set into your garments. Fresh stains come out a lot easier than when they’re left.

Lipstick

Lipstick is oil-based, and should be treated with a pre-wash stain remover before attempting to wash it out. Never rub the stain, as it only causes the lipstick to go deeper into the fabric. We recommend blotting the stain with a clean white cloth, and rinse the stained material in warm water (you want to use a white cloth to avoid any fabric dyes from transferring to the stain).  If the stain persist, apply a good liquid household detergent to the stain, but don’t rub, blot.

Rubbing alcohol will also remove lipstick stains. Again, using a white cloth, dab the stain with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol, then add a small amount of household detergent and wash the garment per the label instructions.

Liquid Makeup

Removing liquid makeup stains can be a battle. Try using Dawn dish soap as a removal agent. Liquid makeup is oil based, and we all know Dawn helps cut through grease.  Then add a small amount of household detergent and wash the garment per the label instructions.

Powder Blush or Eye Shadows

The first thing when you have a powder spill is to try and blow it off the garment. Sometimes that will be enough to get most of it off before laundering per your normal routine. Once you’ve done that, remaining makeup can be wiped off using a damp washcloth and a tiny amount of liquid soap.

Tip:

Be sure to read the care label on any garments before attempting to remove the stain. You may find the garment is “dry clean only” or discover other specifications that will determine your choice of stain removal.

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Clever Ways To Use Mismatched Socks

Why is it when a perfectly good pair of socks goes into the laundry basket…only one of them make it out of the dryer?  This is a mystery we’d all like to know the answer to.  Instead of throwing them away, try some of these ideas.

1)  Dusting Mitts

Put one or both hands inside a sock and start dusting hard to reach places like blinds, the back of the tv, the baseboards, ceiling fan blades and more!

2)  Shoe Protectors

Keep your shoes protected in the closet and while traveling by placing them inside of a sock.

3)  Pet Toy

Put tennis balls in the toe portion of each sock then tie or sew ends together.

4)  Car Washing Mitt

Use to clean rims and other tiny, hard-to-reach places on your car’s interior and exterior.

5)  Glasses holder

If you misplace the holder for your glasses or sunglasses, place them in a sock to keep them from getting scratched.

6)  Potpourri Sachet

Fill a clean sock with potpourri and tie/ sew the end shut. Stick it in a closet, hamper, or drawer to keep it smelling fresh.

7)  Furniture Protectors

Place socks on the bottom of chairs or table legs to keep them from scratching during a  move.

8)  Foot & Hand Softener

Rubs hands and/ or feet with a generous amount of lotion.  Then place socks on overnight for smooth skin in the morning.

9)  Cool Pack Cover

Cover ice packs to make them more tolerable on bare skin. This will let you get the benefits without the freezing burn.

10)  Dry Erase/ Chalkboard Eraser

No more wasting paper towels.  Use a sock to wipe marker or chalkboard clean!

 

 

 

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  1.  What’s the secret to soft, fluffy towels? Vinegar and baking soda. Add these two ingredients to your load of towels plus half the recommended amount of detergent.
  2.   Running late? Hang your items in the bathroom while you shower to release wrinkles.
  3. You’ve accidentally shrunk your favorite sweater. No worries – soak it in a solution of baby shampoo and warm water, then gently massage it back to its original size. See our blog titled “OH NO! Shrunken Clothes!”
  4.  Vinegar and Baking Soda instead of detergent will revive your old towels.
  5.  Tennis balls in the dryer will decrease wrinkles in your bed linens.
  6.  Add salt to the wash to prevent colors from fading
  7.  Wash colors inside out to prevent fading over time.
  8.  Maintain the shape of your sweaters by laying them flat to dry as opposed to hanging them.
  9.  Squeeze a large lemon in with those workout clothes! It will break down oils trapped in fabrics & leave a clean fresh scent.
  10.  Adding 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse cycle is a natural fabric softener.
  11.  Swimsuit stretched out? Avoid the urge to wring out all of the water. Instead lay flat between towel and roll to remove excess water.
  12.  A little dish soap, a toothbrush, & some hot water do wonders for ring around the collar.
  13.  Trying to get a blood stain out? Use hydrogen peroxide and rinse well
  14.  Make DIY Dryer balls by rolling aluminum foil into a ball and placing in the dryer.
  15.  Wash dark clothes and jeans inside out and air dry them to keep from fading
  16.  Remove stubborn armpit stains with lemon juice and baking soda.
  17. Use hot water for white loads, warm water for the average load, and cold water for bright colors.
  18.  Wash your socks in lingerie bags to ensure they’ll never lose their match.
  19.  Use chalk to eliminate grease or oily stains.
  20.  Add Borax to every wash to keep your whites, bright and your colors, colorful.
  21.  Over drying clothes is the leading culprit of static cling. Always set your dryer to the recommended dry time.
  22.  Always dry towels and bulky items separate from your light weight items.
  23.  Not a fan of bleach? Brighten your whites instead by adding 1 cup of white vinegar oxygen booster lemon juice to the wash. Air-dry your clothes in the sun. You’ll have bright whites with a fresh, clean scent.
  24.  The best defense to any stain is to treat as soon as possible. Keep a Tide-To-Go Stain Remover in your purse or vehicle for those moments.
  25. To loosen a stuck zipper, rub a bar of soap over the teeth.

 

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Hat Sweat: How to Remove

Chances are, if you’ve got an athlete in your family, you’ve got a sweaty hat of some sort. You know the one….the hat that has the salty white residue around the edges. Help has arrived! Follow these simple steps and your hat will be back to looking good as new.

  • Apply a small amount of shampoo to the sweat stains and scrub the area with an old toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.
  • Moisten the area with cold water and apply a good amount of meat tenderizer. Work the tenderizer into the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.
  • Mix a paste with baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained area and add a small amount of white vinegar. Scrub the area with a toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.
  • Dissolve two aspirins in a half a cup of water. Apply the mixture to the stain liberally and allow it to set for at least two hours. Add a few drops of a gentle laundry detergent, such as Woolite and scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.
  • Mix a solution of one part ammonia and one part water. Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.
  • Mix a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse and wash as directed.

 

  • NOTE: The bill of the cap often contains cardboard. Try not to get this part overly soaked as it may cause it to lose its shape. Quickly rinse to remove the cleaning products without fully soaking the bill.
  • If trying more than one removal method, be sure to thoroughly rinse the hat between each product to ensure they do not mix!! This could damage the hat and create toxic fumes.

 

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How To Remove Ink Stains

 

How To Remove Ink Stains

Most of us have had an ink stain at some point or another, or a leaking pen ruin a favorite shirt or pants.  Before you toss those clothes in the rag bag, check out some of these simple at-home tips to deal with ink stain removal.

Hair Spray

Squirt the stain with hair spray and the pen marks should come right off.

Rubbing Alcohol

Try soaking the spot in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes to remove the ink, before putting the garment in the wash.

Vinegar

Treat an ink stain on a shirt by first wetting it with some white vinegar, then rub in a paste of 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts cornstarch. Let the paste thoroughly dry before washing the item.

Milk

Believe it or not, a Readers Digest article says to remove ink stains from colored clothes, an overnight milk bath will often do the trick. Just soak the soiled garment in milk overnight and launder as usual the next day.

Salt

Pour salt on an ink stain that’s still wet, gently dab with a wet paper towel, and then remove and brush off the salt. Repeat until the stain has completely lifted.

Sand Paper

Yes, you read that right.  The same Readers Digest article said to use a little fine-grit sandpaper and a gentle touch for removing or at least minimizing an ink stain or small scuff mark on suede clothing or shoes. Afterward, bring up the nap with a toothbrush or nailbrush. You might avoid an expensive trip to the dry cleaner.

Cream of Tartar

Make a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cover the ink stain with the paste for 3 to 4 hours, then brush off the paste and wash the shirt.

Reminder: be sure that you have gotten all the ink out before you dry the washed garment in a dryer, because the heat of a dryer will set the stain.

 

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Wash Before You Wear….ALWAYS!

With back to school comes new clothes shopping, so we thought we’d re-post this important blog.  Keep reading to find out why it’s so important to wash before you wear.

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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Natural Stain Remover’s

 

There are so many hidden chemicals in today’s products. Chemicals, unbeknownst to us, that can cause eczema, hives, contact dermatitis etc. If you’d like to switch to some natural products, here are a few to try:

White Vinegar

You can use white vinegar for so many things – cleaning, softener for your clothes and as a stain remover. Mixing white vinegar with dish detergent is a great remedy for removing greasy stains.

Boiling Water

Fruit stains, like berries, are particularly hard to get out of clothes. Household Management 101 claims if you pour boiling water directly on the stain it allows it to penetrate the fabric and effectively remove fruit stains.  They also recommend submerging the stain in a bowl of white vinegar for about an hour after you’ve poured the boiling water on the stain.  If parts of the stain remain, they say to use whitening toothpaste on the remaining stain and rinse well.

 Baking Soda

Baking soda is another product that most of us have in the pantry already. It’s an excellent natural stain remover  for many different types of stains.

Sprinkle some of on a wet stain and let it sit for about half an hour before washing. It’s really that simple.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a nontoxic chemical that can be used in so many ways and is affordable.

For sweat soaked, dirt stains – soak the stain in water mixed with hydrogen peroxide (50/50) for an hour and then add some hydrogen peroxide to the wash water.  Be sure to test the fabric before washing!

Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is also a great stain remover. Use a small amount with hot water to remove stains caused by grass or paint.

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