How to Clean Laundry Exposed to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

We’ve all heard how important it is to wash our hands and clean surfaces that come in contact with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) but what about our clothes, linens and towels that we deal with daily? It’s imperative that we remember to clean those items as well and clean them correctly. Below are the proper steps to cleaning those items – according to the CDC guidelines – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html

Clothing, Towels, Linens and Other Items

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes.  Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

 

  • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.

 

  • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.

 

  • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

 

  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

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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.

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Microfiber 101

Washing and drying microfiber towels properly ensures towels will last longer, stay softer, and produce better results when trying to clean your windows, appliances, drying off your vehicle after washing, or using them for waxing your vehicle.

Step 1: Separate Your Towels

Before washing your microfiber, separate your towels into specific groups such as windows, appliances, vehicles, wheels, etc. Washing your towels in separate groups reduces the chance of cross-contamination during the washing process. If you wash your waxing towels and your window cleaning towels in the same load, wax residue can become embedded in the window towels and can cause streaks when cleaning glass, or appliances such as stainless steel.

Step 2: Use Proper Microfiber Wash

Choosing the correct microfiber wash solution is important to maintaining the condition of your microfiber. Using generic laundry detergent can reduce the life and performance of microfiber towels. We recommend only using a microfiber specific washing solution, such as Chemical Guys Microfiber Wash, to achieve the best results when washing your towels and microfiber goods. Microfiber Wash is designed to safely remove dirt and contamination from your microfiber without harming the material. Using generic laundry detergent can make microfiber feel stiff and rough. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER! Fabric softener clogs the fiber material and reduces microfiber performance. Fabric softener blocks liquids from being absorbed by the microfiber material.

Step 3: Use the Correct Wash Settings

Place your microfiber towels in the washing machine. Select “Hot” for the water temperature. Washing microfiber with hot water opens the fibers to release dirt and contamination. Add 1 oz. to 4 oz. (depending on load size) of Microfiber Wash to the machine. Press start and allow the machine to do the work.

Step 4: Drying the Microfiber

Now that the towels are washed, it’s time to dry. Machine drying is recommended to ensure the towels are clean, fluffy, and ready to detail. Place all your microfiber goods in the dryer, and set the temperature to “low”. Do not dry microfiber goods on high heat. Using high heat on microfiber can fry the polyester in the microfiber, causing the towel to feel stiff and hard. Towels that are dried on high heat can lead to scratches and swirls when used on cars, appliances or windows.

Step 5: Fold and Store

Once the towels are dry, properly fold and store them. Microfiber can easily hold dirt and dust. To ensure the towels stay clean, store the them in a clean cabinet, closet or container. Storing the towels properly can ensure that no dirt, dust, or debris lands on your towels.

 

 

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Avoid Detergent Overload

Most people use far more detergent than they actually need to. Liquid, pods, powders – It’s no wonder there’s so much confusion about how to use laundry detergent correctly!  Knowing how much detergent to use can extend the life of your clothes and help conserve money by saving on the expense of detergent.

There are several factors to consider when it comes to using laundry detergent properly. First, determine what kind of detergent is best for you. Liquid detergents are easy to pour and work great for spot-cleaning grease stains and ground-in dirt. While powder detergents are good for consistent cleaning overall, too much powder can leave a milky residue on your clothes if not measured properly.  The popular pod takes the guesswork out of measuring out your detergent.  Be sure to never use regular detergent in high-efficiency (HE) washers. This will create far too many suds and can damage the washer’s mechanics over time.

Second, consider load size. Most detergent measuring caps or instructions should state the ideal amount of detergent to use for certain load sizes. Here’s a quick way to determine the load size: if the machine’s drum looks one-quarter full once all the clothes are inside, then that’s a small load. If it looks about half-full, it’s a medium load, and if it’s close to full, it’s a full load. Do not overload your washer—cramming in too many clothes won’t allow the detergent to distribute evenly, which can cause wrinkled, less-than-clean clothes.

Finally, be careful when measuring out your laundry detergent. Using too much detergent won’t make your clothes cleaner—in fact, it will leave a residue on your clothes that can make them break down that much faster and too many suds will not allow an adequate amount of water to fill the machine.  This is due to a water level sensor. Also, detergents today tend to be much more concentrated than they were in the past, so be sure to carefully check the recommended amounts on the detergent packaging and double-check the cap’s measuring lines before you pour. 

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

Laundry Symbols or Hieroglyphics?

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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Laundry Guide: Washing

Sort your clothes by checking the care labels. Washing symbols can be difficult to decipher but you can usually find the correct wash temperature (check out our blog The Mystery of Laundry Symbols). The machine wash symbol often looks like a tub of water, if there’s a cross through it, it can’t be machine washed.

Separate whites and dark’s so colors don’t bleed on to the whites.

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.

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

Keeping Pillows Clean

 

Over-sized, bulky and awkward – sometimes it’s hard to know how to wash your pillows.  Just remember with all of the germs, kids, pets, and guests it’s important to remember to wash them.The best way, plain and simple; machine wash your pillows. Most down and synthetic pillows can be machine washed and dried on low heat, but check the label to be sure.

You’ll want to wash and dry at least two pillows at a time to keep your machine balanced, but take care not to stuff too many in at once. Pillows need plenty of water to get thoroughly clean, and plenty of space to get thoroughly dry. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have clean, fluffy pillows.

NOTE: Foam pillows should not be washed! Sprinkling them with cornstarch, letting them sit for an hour or longer, then vacuuming thoroughly instead.

Detergent / Water Temperature

Make sure you use something that’s fragrance-free and will rinse clean.  Homemade laundry soap is always a good choice: 2 cups soap flakes and 1 cup each baking soda, washing soda, and borax. Water needs to be 140 degrees or higher to kill dust mites, so make sure your water heater isn’t set too low. It’s good to consider an extra spin cycle to squeeze out as much dampness as possible.

Drying

Make sure you dry pillows completely, even a little dampness could reintroduce the very mildew, bacteria, and dust mites you’re trying to avoid. Dry on low, checking them every 20 to 30 minutes to ensure even drying. For extra fluff, dry with dryer balls or a tennis ball in a sock.

Freshening Between Drying

Put your pillows in the dryer on “air fluff” every few months, to get rid of much of the dust.  If you can handle a little bit of the smell until it dissipates, you can include a vinegar-dampened washcloth, since vinegar is so good at killing mold and mildew.

Pillow Protectors

Removable pillow protectors buy you more time between full-on pillow cleaning.  Simply remove and machine-wash protectors in hot water once a month.

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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:

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

Battling White Residue Left On Clothes

Residue left on freshly laundered clothes is frustrating and expensive because most of the time you need to rewash the items to get rid of it.

There are several culprits that contribute to this. Through process of elimination, hopefully you’ll be able to solve your residue problem.

Undissolved Detergent

When you are using a top loading machine always pour powdered detergent into the empty washer first before loading clothes. This will give it time to dissolve as the machine fills with water.

If you are washing in cold water the powdered detergent may not dissolve entirely. For best results with cold water and powdered detergent, dissolve it first in a cup of hot water before adding to the washer.

NEVER pour detergent directly on dry clothes or throw the detergent pack (Pod) on top of the load. Doing so will not let the detergent disperses evenly, causing blue or green streaks to appear on lighter clothing.

If you have a front loading washer, or with a top loader with an automatic detergent dispenser, it may be clogged with lumps of detergent. Even liquid products will clump. Remove all detergent dispensers and clean with hot water mixed with 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar.  Make sure it’s not apple cider vinegar.

If the dispensers are not removable. Fill each dispenser with heated pure distilled white vinegar and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Then run a wash cycle with no laundry in the drum to clean out the dispensers.

Too Much Detergent

More is not always better. Using too much detergent can leave residue on clothes.

This is particularly true in high-efficiency washers – both top loading and front loading. These washers use much less water during the wash and rinse cycles. Using more than 3 teaspoons (yes, 3 teaspoons) of detergent will leave residue in and on your clothes.

Too much fabric softener

Never pour fabric softener directly on wet clothes and always use the smallest recommended amount. If you have an automatic dispenser, clean it frequently.

Clogged or Failing Water Pump 

If the water in the wash or rinse cycle is draining too slowly, it could be lint, undissolved detergent and/or soil. This can be redeposit on your clothes.

Many new washers have a small door near the bottom of the washer to access the filter right above the water pump. On older washers, you will have to access from the back of the machine in order to clean the pump area.

Open the area to your drain line filter and be sure that it is not clogged with lint or small items that could slow the flow of rinse water.

If you have cleaned the filter and the washer is still slow to drain, the water pump is probably failing.

Overloading Washer

Stuffing too many items into a washer doesn’t leave room for the clothes to move around freely and for the soil and residue to be washed away.

Dirty Washer

If you have never cleaned your washer, it can have soil, minerals and detergent residue that can build-up and redeposit on clothes. It’s like the soap scum in your shower. This is because of the small amount of water in HE, high efficiency, machines. You need to clean HE washers monthly and a standard machine at least twice per year.

 Washing With Hard Water

Hard water can react with detergents and leave mineral deposits that remain on clothes.

Get Rid of the Residue

Once you have eliminated all of the causes of the problem, the only way to get rid of the residue is to rewash the clothes. Wash the stained items again in the hottest water suitable for the fabric but DO NOT add any detergent or fabric softener. Instead, add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash cycle to help fibers relax slightly and release the residue.

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

Detergent Overload

Most people use far more detergent than they actually need to. Liquid, pods, powders – It’s no wonder there’s so much confusion about how to use laundry detergent correctly!  Knowing how much detergent to use can extend the life of your clothes and help conserve money by saving on the expense of detergent.

There are several factors to consider when it comes to using laundry detergent properly. First, determine what kind of detergent is best for you. Liquid detergents are easy to pour and work great for spot-cleaning grease stains and ground-in dirt. While powder detergents are good for consistent cleaning overall, too much powder can leave a milky residue on your clothes if not measured properly.  The popular pod takes the guesswork out of measuring out your detergent.  Be sure to never use regular detergent in high-efficiency (HE) washers. This will create far too many suds and can damage the washer’s mechanics over time.

Second, consider load size. Most detergent measuring caps or instructions should state the ideal amount of detergent to use for certain load sizes. Here’s a quick way to determine the load size: if the machine’s drum looks one-quarter full once all the clothes are inside, then that’s a small load. If it looks about half-full, it’s a medium load, and if it’s close to full, it’s a full load. Do not overload your washer—cramming in too many clothes won’t allow the detergent to distribute evenly, which can cause wrinkled, less-than-clean clothes.

Finally, be careful when measuring out your laundry detergent. Using too much detergent won’t make your clothes cleaner—in fact, it will leave a residue on your clothes that can make them break down that much faster and too many suds will not allow an adequate amount of water to fill the machine.  This is due to a water level sensor. Also, detergents today tend to be much more concentrated than they were in the past, so be sure to carefully check the recommended amounts on the detergent packaging and double-check the cap’s measuring lines before you pour.

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