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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Denim 101

Chances are you bought those new jeans or that denim jacket because you liked the color and texture of the denim, right? Well, those new jeans and denim jackets have been dyed to get that color and rough-and-tumble look to last through multiple washings.

To keep jeans looking good, you will need to launder your denim carefully to keep the look you love.

  1. Always wash new jeans separately.

Dark wash jeans should be washed separately the first time, and in a laundry detergent designed to keep their dark colors safe and intact. The dye in most jeans transfers readily during the laundry cycle, so it’s important to bathe them all by themselves.

  1. 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, of course.) 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.

  1. Avoid frequent tumble drying and dry cleaning.

Avoid frequent tumble-drying and dry cleaning. Heat may damage fibers, and dry cleaning may cause discoloration. When necessary, tumble dry while the dryer is cool and use the delicate setting.

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

  1. Don’t spot clean jeans.

Don’t try to spot-clean denim. Instead, wash the entire pants so you don’t create a faded area where the spot or spill was.

  1. If needed, iron jeans while damp.

This step is extremely easy and for those who like the crisp, pressed look. To put it simply – iron the denim while it’s still damp on the highest setting recommended for denim on your iron. Another option is to bring your denim in to us at Sapulpa Laundry. We will get your jeans crisp and pressed with a crease or not, and starched or not – however you prefer.

 

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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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As the primary laundry caretaker in our home I understand the frustration of having to turn clothes right side out while folding them. However, there are particularly good reasons for washing them wrong side out.

1) When you turn the garments wrong side out all the wear & tear of washing is done on the inner side & does not affect the outside (right side) of the garments. If fading occurs, it’s also on the inner side, therefore, leaving the right side looking new.

2) All the buttons, rivets, sequins etc. on the right side of the garment don’t undergo the friction during washing.

3) Turning wrong side out also helps when targeting tough spots on collars and cuffs. These areas get a better scrub during the washing process resulting in better cleaning of these areas.

4) Color fast fabrics can cross stain during washing. Turning the garments wrong side out can help to avoided or minimize this from happening.

5) As the garments rub against each other during washing it creates friction. Friction results in fuzziness and pilling (those pesky lint balls that form on fabric) – washing them wrong side out prevents this from happening.

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Understanding Laundry Language

As if life wasn’t confusing enough with emoji’s and acronyms – now we have to deal with squares, circles, triangles, lines and dots on the labels of our clothing! However, clothing-care symbols are a code worth knowing.

The American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM International, put out a standardized set of care symbols with the goal of creating a universally understood “laundry language”.

ASTM symbols follow a simple scheme and a set order: wash (tub shape), bleach (triangle), dry (square), iron (iron) and special care (circle). A circle by itself usually means dry cleaning or wet cleaning. A circle (special care) inside a square (drying) changes “dry” to “tumble dry.”

Adding lines, dots and other marks modify these base symbols and adds info. For example, a large X through a symbol offers a warning, where an empty symbol often means that any version of what the symbol represents is OK to use. A crossed-out triangle means do not bleach, where an empty triangle tells you that any bleach will do. Adding two parallel diagonal lines means to use only non-chlorine/oxygen bleach.

Clear as mud?  Don’t worry, I’ve included a chart to help you decipher what seem to be ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics:

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Fabric Softener Myths

Are you perplexed as to which fabric softener you should use? Both fabric softeners and dryer sheets do make your clothes feel softer and smell better, and they do reduce wrinkles too — especially if you line dry your clothes. However, there are a number of misconceptions about these 2 popular laundry aids.  Below are a few of the more popular myths.

Myth #1:  fabric softeners and dryer sheets shouldn’t be used with microfiber towels.

This is true.

Liquid fabric softeners as well as dryer sheets will significantly damage the fibers in microfiber. Microfiber towels should not be subjected to heat at all. Not only are dryer sheets a problem, but the heat itself can wreak havoc on your microfiber towels. If you must dry them quickly, then choose a low- or no-heat option.

Myth #2:  Fabric softener and dryer sheets shouldn’t be used with athletic sportswear, spandex & nylon garments.

This is true.

Fabric softener can reduce the ability of certain fabrics to manage moisture and breathe — including sportswear, swimsuits, undergarments, and athletic wear with wicking properties intended to keep you dry and cool.

The waxy softening agents in fabric softeners interfere with the garment’s ability to wick away moisture to keep you cool & dry, so you should avoid using softeners with most sportswear.

Myth #3: Fabric softeners won’t stain your clothes.

This is false.

Most fabric softeners state right on the bottle that you shouldn’t pour fabric softener directly on your clothes. When liquid fabric softener is used on certain fabrics (or fabric blends), oily looking spots or discoloration can result. A fabric softener stain looks blue-gray and greasy.

Both fabric softeners and dryer sheets help eliminate static and wrinkles while making clothes feel softer and smell better. Keep in mind that if you are not using a dispenser or a softener ball, make sure to add liquid softener during the final rinse when the tub is full of water to avoid staining.

Myth #4: Fabric softener is always necessary

This is false.

Fabric softener is sometimes necessary but not always. It does make your clothes, bedding and towels soft and fluffy, but adding softener can become problematic for certain items such as towels. The softer the product, the less it will absorb. The more fabric softener you use on your towels, the less absorbent they’ll become.

 

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Removing Smoke Odor On Clothes

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.

 

 

 

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