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 man-made fibers, and blends of natural and man-made 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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Laundry Tips & Tricks

 Sometimes there are just some laundry care tips that don’t fit into any particular category. You’ll be surprised after you read through these when they just might come in handy.

  • Before you wear a new garment, put a little dot of clear nail polish on the front and back threads of each button. Buttons will stay on longer when the threads are sealed.
  • Zippers won’t stick if you rub them with the edge of a bar of soap.
  • To remove a hem crease, sponge the line on the fabric with a clean white cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar and then press with a warm iron from the wrong side of the garment.
  • When washing clothes, add detergent to the washer first. Pouring detergent on clothing can leave streaks and even cause fabrics to fade.
  • Avoid getting perfume, aftershave or hair spray on leather because the alcohol may ruin the finish and color.
  • Wash nylon clothing every time after wearing. Nylon is very hard to clean once it becomes heavily soiled. Treat any oily stains immediately after they happen with warm or hot water to prevent them from becoming permanent..
  • NEVER use an acetone-based nail polish remover on garments to remove stains! The acetone will dissolve the fabric!
  • Knit garments should always be folded to store on a shelf or in a drawer. Hanging knits can cause them to stretch completely out of shape.
  • Turn all clothes inside out before washing to prevent fading and keep the right side looking like new.
  • If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag for washing your delicate fabrics, place them in a pillowcase and fasten the loose end with a plastic bag tie or shoelace before tossing it in the washer.
  • To reduce wrinkles, wet a hand towel with water, wring out the excess water and toss in the dryer with wrinkled items. Dry on high for about five minutes. Remove the clothes while still damp and hang to dry.

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Always Wash Before You Wear

With the gift giving season upon us we thought we would share this post again.  Surely some of those gifts will be new clothes.  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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Removing Stubborn Creases

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Brassiere Washing

Although bras don’t necessarily fall in the “wash after every use” category, like underwear and socks, they do require more maintenance than you might be currently giving them.

“Rule of Three”

They should be washed every three wears rather than every three days. It’s a good idea to have one to wash, one to wear and one to store and swap out.

The reason you should have multiple bras to swap out is because the fibers in the elastics don’t have a chance to rebound and go back to where they were. In a matter of days, you’ll find the back of your bra hiking, because those elastics have already stretched.

Washing

Ideally, bras should be hand washed in warm water, using a delicate detergent. Gently rub until it’s clean, make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed and hang or lay flat to dry.

If you’re rushed for time, use your machine on the gentle/delicate cycle  and use a gentle detergent. Be sure to secure the hook and eye because a lot of time that hook and eye can snag the lace or fabric.

Thankfully, newer washing machines, which don’t have agitators, are much gentler on bras. But even so, placing your bra in a lingerie bag before putting it in the machine is best. Lingerie bags prevent warping of underwire bras, fraying and excessive stress on the elastic waist.

Drying

Never put your bra in the dryer. Heat can cause your bra to shrink and that will impact the fit and comfort. A well-made bra should last up to five years if it is hand-washed and air-dried.

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Decoding Laundry Symbols

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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When To Skip The Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets make our clothes and linens feel soft and fluffy, smell great and remove static, but did you know there are certain types of fabric that should NEVER have fabric softeners? Before you wash, please read. I’ll list some effective alternatives below as well.

Athletic Wear

Most workout clothes are designed to wick moisture away from your body and dry quickly. Fabric softeners and dryers sheets leave a coating behind, that cause moisture to become locked into the fabric and keep it from drying. This leads to permanent odor from the bacteria locked in the fabric. Wash these garments in a cold, gentle cycle and air dry.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber is relatively durable, but it becomes pretty useless when the fibers absorb the waxy residue that fabric softeners and dryer sheets leave behind. It’s tempting to use because microfiber is notorious for static cling when it comes out of the dryer. Instead, try tossing a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer with microfiber items to release the static charge.

Children’s Sleepwear

 Most infant and child sleepwear is designed to be fire resistant for safety reasons. Wax from fabric softener residue can cause the fabric to lose its fire-resistance quality and can make it highly flammable. Instead of using fabric softener or a dryer sheet, add vinegar to the rinse cycle in the washer. It will soften the fabric and reduce static cling. For those extra static clingy PJs, do the vinegar rinse in the washer AND add a foil ball in the dryer.

Alternatives

Soften and reduce static cling with these gentle, fabric-friendly options:

Vinegar Rinse

Add ½ cup distilled white vinegar into your washer’s softener dispenser (or use a Downy ball). The smell will disappear in the dryer.

Wool Dryer Balls

You can find wool dryer balls on Amazon for about the same price as a couple of bottles of fabric softener except these will last A LOT longer. Toss 5-6 into the dryer to soften a load of clothes. They’ll also help larger loads dry more quickly and evenly.

Aluminum Foil

Grab the Aluminum foil from the cabinet, pull a 12”-18” sheet and crush it into a ball. Toss one into the dryer to reduce static. The ball will shrink and tighten as it’s used. Replace once the edges begin to crack or pull apart.

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Removing Make-Up Stains

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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Caring for Denim

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 washing’s.

To keep jeans looking good, you’ll 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.

2. Turn jeans inside-out before washing.

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

3. Avoid frequent tumble drying and dry cleaning.

Avoid frequent tumble-drying and dry cleaning. Heat may damages 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.

4. 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.

5. If needed, iron jeans while damp.

This step is very 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 jean 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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Back To School Time: Kids and 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.

 

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