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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Clever Ways To Use Lost or Mismatched Socks

 

Why is it when a perfectly good pair of socks goes into the laundry basket‚Ķonly 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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Laundry Myths Debunked

Some laundry tips are nothing more than old wives’ tales and are simply a waste of time and money. Below are a few laundry myths debunked with some real information you can use that will make laundry easier.

 

        Hair Spray To Remove Ink

The idea of using hair spray to remove ink from laundry began in the 50s and was actually a valid tip back then. It was the alcohol in hair spray that worked on the ink stain. However, today’s hair sprays are different from those aerosols of the 50’s. Today, most hair sprays don’t even contain alcohol and can actually cause stains themselves or set the ink in.

Begin by wetting a cotton swab with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol ( test the fabric to be sure the alcohol does not damage or discolor the material). Start by working from the outside of the stain to the inside, dab the spot with the swab. Change to a new swab as ink is absorbed to keep from redistributing the ink.

If traces of the ink remain, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the garment and allow it to soak for at least eight hours, then check the stain.

If it’s gone, wash as usual as directed on the label. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stain but it should come out.

 

        More Detergent = Cleaner Clothes

More is not better when it comes to laundry detergent.  Most of us, at some time or another, are guilty of using too much detergent.  This creates excess suds that actually redeposit soil onto our clothing.

We recommend using half as much detergent as recommended and see if you are pleased with the results. You can always add more but you can’t take it out. Most detergents these days are highly concentrated and don’t require as much as in the past.

 

        Hot Water Kills All Laundry Germs

Unfortunately, using hot water alone for laundry does not kill all germs and bacteria. Washing clothing or linens of someone who is ill can spread the germs throughout the entire washer whether you use hot or cold water. Only a disinfectant like bleach, pine oil or a phenolic disinfectant (Lysol) will sanitize the laundry and the washer.

 

        The Sock Monster

Most missing socks are not eaten by a monster in your washer or dryer or even trapped in the machine. (You would know if a sock got into the motor of either one pretty quickly.)

Most socks disappear between leaving the foot and the clothes hamper or the clothes hamper and the machine. Check behind your washer and dryer for a stash of socks that have fallen, or check the inside of pant legs for those secret clingers due to static.

Keep a basket or bin or mesh bag in the laundry room or near your clothes hamper for all those extra socks. Once a month go through and sort and match or just buy one kind of sock so they all match!

 

 

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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‚Äôve accidentally shrunk your favorite sweater. No worries ‚Äď 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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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‚Äôt bleed on to the whites.

If you‚Äôre 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 Р3/4 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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Time To Recharge Your Towels

 

Every so often you grab a towel out of the linen closet and notice it’s lost its fresh smell and softness.¬† Let’s face it – no one wants to dry off with a scratchy, musty towel. Here are some steps that will help bring smell good, fluffy towels back.

1) Wash your towels with hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar only.

2) Re-wash a second time with 1/2 a cup of baking soda and hot water only.

3) Dry your towels on the hottest setting until completely dry.

If the odor and scratchiness continues, repeat the steps again only this time use 2 cups of vinegar.  If at all possible let the towels soak in the hot water and vinegar for an hour before continuing.

Vinegar  is known for  removing soap and fabric softener build-up. Fabric softener coats your towels with oils. Vinegar will remove the build-up, while acting as a fabric softener. Baking soda does the same thing as vinegar.

WARNING!

Do not mix vinegar and baking soda together.  Be sure to wash in two separate loads.  They will cause a chemical reaction when mixed together!

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How to Avoid Ironing

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 ‚ÄĚtried and true” tips to help you out.

‚ąôBe 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.

‚ąôAfter 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 holes, 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!

‚ąôIf 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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Keep Your Clothes Lasting Longer

We’ve all done our share of laundry, but some of us have figured out a way to perfect it. Here are some of my favorite tips to keeping your clothes looking great and lasting longer.

Step One: Wait Before You Wash

Wear your clothing more than once. I know this might make some of you say “Gross!” but it’s really not.¬† You know if something needs to be washed.¬† If it reeks to high heaven – it needs to be washed, but over the course of an average day, clean people don’t get that smelly. Of course it depends on the activity you do during the day as well. Wearing your clothes at least twice before laundering them can save you a bundle on water and electric bills over the course of a year and save your clothes from wearing out before their time.

(Side note….I’m not talking about underwear & socks.¬† They need to be changed daily.)

Step Two: Divide and Conquer

Admit it, most of you will stuff everything in the washer to make one load. I get it, you want to save time and money, but this is hard on your clothes and they probably aren’t getting as clean as you think they are.¬† I sort laundry by “lights” and “darks”, which seems to be the traditional way of doing laundry.¬† Sorting clothes allows you to use different wash cycles (delicate vs. normal) 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.

Step Three: Chose the Correct Wash Cycle & Water Temperature

Take a minute to read the labels on your clothing. You’ll find the information you need to choose both your water temperature and the type of washing cycle. Following the recommendations on the label is especially important if you are new to doing your own laundry or if the garment is new.

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Removing Wrinkles from Permanent Press Clothing

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 ‚ÄĚtried and true” tips to help you out.

‚ąôBe 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.

‚ąôAfter 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!

‚ąôIf 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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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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