Wrinkle Free Permanent Press Clothing – Without the Iron!

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.

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Caring for 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 – (OxiClean 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 OxiClean 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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Don’t Forget To Clean Your Mattress

Dust, mold, mildew, body sweat, fungal spores, allergens – all make mattresses the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites.  If you’re as grossed out as I am by this, keep reading and learn how to clean your mattress for a better, cleaner sleep.

Vacuum It

Vacuum your mattress every month or so or as often as every time you change the sheets, if you or family members have severe allergies. Run the vacuum very slowly over the mattress, so it has time to inhale the dust and dust mites. Break out the crevice tool for the edges and crevices.

Treat Stains

Treat any stain immediately. The longer liquids sit in a mattress, the likelier you are to foster mold and mildew growth.

This may sound crazy, but use foaming shaving cream for mattress cleaning, in part because of its thickness. Liquids will soak right through a mattress, not allowing adequate time to dissolve the stain. Foaming shaving cream contains denatured alcohol, which is a stain remover, and it’s thick, so it sits on the surface to work on the stain. Wait 10 to 15 minutes, wipe with a damp cloth, and rinse with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. Repeat if necessary.

Other helpful solutions for common mattress stains:

  • Blood: A 50/50 hydrogen peroxide/water solution.
  • Urine, fecal matter, or vomit: An enzyme cleaner, such as Bac-Out by BioClean, or Nature’s Miracle, available at pet stores.

Freshen Fast

Use a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda to remove smells.  Place in a colander and just shake the mixture on to the mattress, let it sit for a few hours or longer, then vacuum. The cornstarch will absorb body oils, while the baking soda will work on smelly odors.

Sheet Strategy
Don’t put new sheets on until evening. This will allow the mattress to air all day discouraging dust mites and bacterial growth.

Pad It
Remember, mattress pads aren’t just for comfort. They keep your mattress cleaner, too.  Wash monthly in hot water, and machine dry thoroughly, unless the tag instructs otherwise.

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Teaching Kids the Importance of Laundry

 

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.

 

 

 

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How to Unshrink Your Favorite Sweater

Step One: Soak

Fill a sink or bathtub with lukewarm water then add a cap of baby shampoo to the water.

Place the sweater into the sudsy water. Let it soak for a minute or two, then gently massage the item with your hands to help relax the fibers.

Remove the sweater from the water and gently squeeze it to remove some of the water. (But do not wring or rinse the sweater!)

Step Two: Absorb

Lay out a big, clean bath towel and lay the sweater flat on top of it.

Roll the towel up from one end so the sweater is wrapped inside. Press on the towel gently to absorb the excess water, then unroll the towel.

Step Three: Re-Shape

Grab another clean bath towel and lay the damp piece of clothing out on it.

Use your hands to gently stretch the item to its original size. Last, but not least, leave the sweater on the towel and allow it to air dry completely.

NOTE:  Do not rinse out the little bit of shampoo that is left in the garment after Step One.  This process doesn’t leave very much soap behind in the sweater, and the little soap that does remain helps  keep the fibers pliable during the stretching process.

 

 

 

 

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What’s Lurking In Your Laundry Basket?

We see it all the time.  You spend your hard-earned money washing and drying your clothes, towels, sheets etc. Then, without thinking, you place all your clean belongings back in a dirty laundry basket.  Dead skin cells, grime from your sweaty workout clothes, and whatever else hitches a ride on your clothes throughout the day, are all lurking in that laundry basket!  Let’s don’t forget to mention bacteria, including the dreaded staph bacteria also known as MRSA!

*Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

What to Do: 

Wash it. Give that basket a good washing with soap and hot water, or simply use an antibacterial wipe and wipe the basket down thoroughly before putting your clean laundry back in it. You can also use any hard surface disinfectant but be watchful of anything with the potential to discolor (i.e. bleach).  Make sure to dry the basket completely before putting your belongings back in it.

Bag it. Try using washable laundry bags. Wash the dirty bag along with the clothes. Once the bag is dried, place the clean clothes inside the bag to transport back home.

Line it. You can also use a disposable plastic laundry bag, clean trash bag, or a reusable cloth liner to line your laundry basket.  Set your clothes inside the bag that lines the basket.  Dispose of the plastic bag once you have put your belonging away and wash the cloth liner the next time you do laundry.

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Cleaning White Shoes

Have you ever looked down at your white sneakers and been self-conscious?  If you have, then follow these easy to do steps and feel good about your white, almost new looking, shoes.

First of all, start with preventative care.  Grab a bottle of stain repellent at the shoe store, or anywhere they carry shoe supplies, and spray your shoes. Simply spray the repellent evenly on the surface of your shoes and let them dry overnight. Give your shoes a nice cleaning every few weeks to ensure they stay looking brand new.

Next, clean the soles. When the soles or the rubber part on your favorite pair of shoes needs a good cleaning, give them a good scrub. Try this one spot-cleaning method that’s sure to work – and it’s probably not what you think. Pick up a Magic Eraser next time you’re in the store, because it will soon become your go-to for keeping your sneakers white. Simply wet the Magic Eraser with water, and rub your shoes in a circular motion to watch the eraser work its magic.

Last, but not least – don’t forget the shoelaces. Remove your shoelaces from your sneakers. Fill your sink with hot water and add a few dashes of your favorite laundry detergent. Massage the laces between your thumb and index finger. You can also use the detergent and a toothbrush to get a deep cleaning. Squeeze the laces in a towel or paper towel to get out excess water, then hang them to dry.

Specialty sneakers.  Sometimes sneakers have a different type of material that needs to be cleaned a little bit differently.

How to Clean:

White canvas sneakers: Combine baking soda with an equal amount of a mixture that’s half water and half hydrogen peroxide until it forms a paste. After making sure all excess dirt is brushed off your sneakers, apply the mixture. Let your shoes sit for a few hours until the mixture has hardened. Shake off the hardened mixture and use an old toothbrush or crumpled up paper towel to remove the excess paste. You’ll notice those sneakers are way whiter! If the sneakers are still damp or wet let them dry before wearing them.

White leather sneakers: It might sound too good to be true, but getting your favorite white leather sneakers looking good-as-new, is as easy as taking a toothbrush with your favorite white toothpaste to the surfaces of the shoe. Use warm water with the toothpaste. You can even add sugar to the toothpaste to create an exfoliate effect for any areas where dirt seems to be caked on. Wipe with a clean towel or paper towel. Again, if the sneakers are still damp or wet let them dry before wearing them.

 

 

 

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Properly Wash Your Clothes

Start by sorting your clothes according to colors or whites and by using the garments care labels. Some garments may say hand wash or delicate cycle etc. Washing symbols can be difficult to decipher but you can usually find the correct wash temperature by looking at the garments label (check out our blog “Understanding Laundry Language”). The machine wash symbol often looks like a tub of water, if there’s a cross through it, it can’t be machine washed.

 (Do not machine wash)

If you’re using a Tide Pod, or one of the other “pod” detergents, toss it into the drum first. The detergent will properly dissolve during the wash cycle. For small and medium loads use only one pod, for large loads use two pods. When using liquid detergent pour it into the dosing cap. Fill until line 1 for medium loads, line 3 for large loads, and line 5 for HE full loads. For powder detergent, fill the drum until line 1 for medium loads, line 3 for large loads, and line 5 for HE full loads.

Fill the machine with your clothes. Don’t overload the drum – 3/4 full is about right.

Choose a water temperature that’s right for your laundry load. Select a wash cycle.  Start the machine.

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Red Wine Stains

Red wine is one of the hardest stains to remove. If you act quickly, you should be able to effectively remove the stain before it sets.

Note: Silk is a delicate fabric, always do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Step 1 – Be Quick

If you spill red wine on your blouse, tie, or upholstery, the faster you work on it, the more successful you’ll be at removing it. Allowing it to dry will make it almost impossible to get out. If you’re in a restaurant, or otherwise away from home, and unable to work on the stain, blot it with a napkin or paper towel to get as much of the wine out as you can. Do not rub – it will only grind the stain into the fabric and make it harder to remove.

Step 2 – Try Homemade Remedies First

Homemade remedies don’t contain a lot of harsh chemicals that can damage delicate fabrics like silk, so it’s always best to give them a try before moving on to something stronger.

Try mixing a solution of one half hydrogen peroxide and one half cold water and letting the stained area soak in it overnight. If it doesn’t come out the first time, pour out the mixture, mix up a fresh batch, and soak just the stained area again. This may take several attempts and you’ll need to blot the area in between each application. If it’s a bad stain, use full strength peroxide. Don’t allow the stained garments to dry until the red wine is completely gone.

Again….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Another effective solution is mixing Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water. Soak the affected area, and then rinse just the stained area with cold water. You may need to soak it a few times. I’ve read some have tried vinegar or rubbing alcohol mixed with Dawn and been successful.

If a slight stain remains, dab rubbing alcohol onto it; then, put a cloth soaked in alcohol on top of the stain to keep it wet and let it sit. Blot the moisture away to remove the wine. Repeat if necessary.

Step 3 – Try Commercial Cleaners

There are several good commercial cleaners on the market for removing red wine as well.

Spray and Wash works well on red wine stains, while remaining gentle enough for silk. Spray it on, keep the area wet and blot away as much of the wine as possible.

Gonzo “Wine Away” is a very popular one that is available at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the package and use in a well-ventilated area.

Again….I can’t stress enough….do a test patch in a discreet area on the fabric before using it on the stain.

Erado-Sol, a commercial cleaner, is the best over the counter cleaner and will usually remove 100 percent of the stain. It may be difficult to find, so I recommend looking online.

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The Importance of Washing 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 washings to get rid of the excess dye so continue to wash separately or with similar colors.

 

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