How To Clean Your Stinky, Mildew Towels

At some point most of us have used a towel, for whatever reason, and tossed it in to the dirty laundry and forgotten it was wet. A few days later and the smell will remind you! That smell is caused by mildew that sets in, and isn’t very easy to get rid of.  Washing your towels a few times on a normal setting may get rid of the odor, but if that isn’t enough to combat the mildew smell, I’ve found a way to get your towels back in shape and get that unpleasant smell out quickly. Here is how:

  • Place your smelly towels in the washing machine and fill with the hottest water possible. Add in 2 cups of white vinegar and let them soak for at least 30 mins. Do not add any other products (detergent, softener etc.). This will allow the vinegar to penetrate the material without interference.
  • Run a full cycle after your towels have soaked in the vinegar water. Leaving the towels in the washer repeat step 1, only this time use baking soda instead of vinegar. Run a full cycle once again.
  • Dry the towels on hottest setting possible until they are fully dry.

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

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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How to Wash 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 – (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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Washing Down Filled Comforters

Manufacturers usually offer cleaning suggestions for their down items. Most recommend cleaning down items infrequently — typically every three to five years, but life happens and sometimes that’s just not sanitary. Try following these steps to get the best results when washing and drying down comforters and pillows.

Washing

Step 1

Check the comforter or pillow for worn stitching or holes, and repair with small fine stitches to avoid losing any down stuffing during the laundering process.  Most comforters are too big for your home washer. Instead, use the large capacity front-loading washing machines at your local Laundromat…specifically Sapulpa Laundry.

Step 2

Before laundering a down comforter or pillow, check for stains. Color-safe bleach can be used on stains caused by water or food, but blood or urine are best treated with an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle or Pure Green Kleen.  Pull the cover of the comforter or pillow away from the down while spot-treating stains to keep the cleaning product from damaging the down. Then launder.

Step 3

Put a sock stuffed with two tennis balls (secured with a knot) in the machine with the comforter or pillows. This addition will help keep the down from bunching and will agitate soil from the items being washed.

Step 4

Use a gentle or delicate-cycle setting and a minimal amount of mild laundry detergent. Choose lukewarm water; hot or cold water can be hard on the down. Use an extra rinse cycle to ensure all soap is rinsed from the down.

NOTE: Down bears a distinctive odor when wet. The odor will dissipate when the down dries.

Drying

Step 1

After the wash is complete, load your comforter or pillows into a dryer large enough to give the items plenty of room to fluff. Add a pair of clean tennis balls to help fluff the down and keep it evenly distributed.

Step 2

Run the dryer on air fluff or the lowest temperature possible. Stop the dryer periodically and break up any lumps that are forming in the comforter or pillow. Also ensure that the down is not getting too warm as extreme heat can scorch the down. Expect the drying process to take three to four hours.

Step 3

Make sure the down item is dry before taking it out of the dryer to avoid the formation of mildew. If the item is still slightly damp, hang it out on a clothesline or lay flat on a table with a fan blowing on it to get the down as dry as possible. Once you bring the comforter or pillow inside, leave the item out for another month to ensure all moisture has evaporated before storing.

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

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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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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The Importance of Washing Your Laundry Basket

We see it all the time here at Sapulpa Laundry.  You spend your hard earned money washing and drying  your clothes, towels, sheets etc.. Then, without thinking, you place all of your clean belongings back in a dirty laundry basket.  Dead skin cells, grime from your sweaty workout clothes, and whatever else hitches a ride on your clothes throughout the day, are all lurking in that laundry basket!  Lets don’t forget to mention bacteria, including the dreaded staph bacteria also known as MRSA!

*Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus – or staph – because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

What To Do: Wash it. Give that basket a good washing with soap and hot water, or simply use an antibacterial wipe and wipe the basket down thoroughly before putting your clean laundry back in it. You can also use any hard surface disinfectant, but be watchful of anything with the potential to discolor (i.e. bleach).  Make sure to dry the basket completely before putting your belongings back in it.

Bag it. Try using washable laundry bags. Wash the dirty bag along with the clothes. Once the bag is dried, place the clean clothes inside the bag to transport back home.

Line it. You can also use a disposable plastic laundry bag, clean trash bag, or a reusable cloth liner to line your laundry basket.  Set your clothes inside the bag that lines the basket.  Dispose of the plastic bag once you’ve put your belonging away and wash the cloth liner the next time you do laundry.

 

 

 

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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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