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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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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Grease Stain Removal

You probably already have some of these cleaning agents in your home, and a couple that might be worth bringing home.  Here’s how to take grease stains off clothes, step by step.

Dish Soap and Hot Water

Treat stained clothes the same way you would a sink full of greasy dishes – remove grease from the surface with dish-washing liquid.  Dish detergent is designed to break up surface grease and allow it to rinse away.

  • Place the garment stain-side down on white paper towels. (Printed paper towels could transfer ink color to your clothes.)
  • Squirt a dime-size amount of dishwashing liquid on the backside of the grease stains. Gently rub the dish detergent into the stain center and work your way to the edges. Give it a minute or so to work its breakdown magic.
  • Rinse the treated area under warm to hot running water for a minute or so to remove the dish detergent. The water temperature will depend on what the fabric can handle. For 100 percent cotton, you can usually use hot water.
  • Follow the rinse with a spin in the washing machine, using the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric and your regular laundry detergent.  If you can’t read the clothing label care tab, choose a warm water wash.

Laundry Detergent Pre-treatment

Rub a liquid laundry detergent into the stain, and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Wash the stained item separately from the rest of your clothes in the hottest recommended water, adding a little bleach or bleach alternative to the wash water. Extend the wash cycle to give the garment some extra time in the spin cycle.

Absorbent Powder

Another good tip that works on grease stains that are fresh is to use absorbent powder (such as cornstarch, salt, baking powder or talcum powder).

  • Apply the absorbent of choice, and let it set until the powder has absorbed as much of the grease stain as possible. Brush away the absorbent remnants with a stiff-bristle brush.

WD-40 and Dish Detergent

Place the garment on paper towels, grease stain side up. Spray the greasy area with WD-40. Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Turn the garment over and spray the underside  as well. Allow to sit another 10 minutes.
  • Using paper towels, blot on some hand dishwashing liquid, replacing the towels as they absorb the grease.
  • Rinse the treated area, and wash separately from the rest of your laundry.

Lestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner

Lestoil Heavy Duty Cleaner is made by Clorox. It safely removes oil spots, grease stains and tar from washable fabrics. It’s effective and easy to use, but it does have a very strong smell.

Simply pour Lestoil onto the greasy stain and let it soak in for about 20 minutes before washing. And if you’re washing a huge greasy load of laundry, add some to the wash water to get the load clean and grease-free.

Lestoil is also good for removing stains from fabric on sofas, chairs, carpets, and concrete driveways.

Last But Not Least

Inspect the treated area before drying to ensure the greasy stains are completely removed. If you can still see any residue, repeat the pre-treating and washing process until clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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. 

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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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When Times Are Tough…Cut Cost…Make Your Own Detergent

What you will need:

3/4 Cup Dawn dish liquid (blue)

3/4 Cup washing soda

3/4 Cup Borax powder

Hot water

One Gallon container

Measure out the washing soda and pour into the gallon container.  Then,  the Borax.  Get about 3 Cups of hot  tap water and add to the washing soda and Borax mixture.   Be sure to screw the lid on tight and shake.  Pour more water into the container until almost full and add the blue Dawn dish liquid.  Finish filling container with water.  Secure the lid again. Roll the container to mix – DON’T SHAKE! The soap will bubble if you disturb it too much.  Use 1/4 Cup in your laundry like any other detergent.

https://clark.com/family-lifestyle/diy-laundry-detergent-save-money/

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