Laundry Tips & Tricks Your Mom Never Taught You

Ok, so maybe your Mom did tell you about  these tips and tricks, but in case she didn’t, we’re here to help you out.  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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Easy Grease Stain Removal

No matter how hard you try, sometimes you get a greasy, oily stain on your favorite shirt or pair of pants.  Don’t worry, they don’t need to become a permanent memory on your clothes.  With some regular cleaning products you probably already have, and a couple that might be worth purchasing, grease stain removal is a breeze.

Dish Soap & Hot Water

Treat the stained garment by removing 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.(Don’t use printed paper towels – it could transfer ink color to your clothes.)
  • Squirt a dime-size amount of dish-washing liquid on the backside of the grease stains.Gently massage the dish detergent into the stain center and work your way to the edges. Give it a minute or so to work.
  • Rinse the treated area under warm to hot running water for a minute to remove the dish detergent. The water temperature will depend on what the fabric can handle. For 100% cotton, you can 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 just to be safe.

Laundry Detergent Pre-treat

Rub a liquid a laundry detergent into the stain, and let it 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. With a top-loading washer, wait 6-8 minutes into the cycle, stop it, and spin the dial back for another 10 minutes.

For really tough, greasy stains, OxiClean Max Force Foam Laundry Pre-Treater 9  is one of the toughest grease stain busters around.

WD-40 & Dish Soap

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

Last, but not least, inspect the treated area before drying to ensure the greasy stains are completely removed.

Before placing the garment in the dryer, inspect the formerly greasy area. If you can still see any residue, repeat the pre-treating and washing process until clear. Then, go ahead and dry the garment as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bra-Washing 101

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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Avoid Overstuffing the Washing Machine

We have been asked from time to time: “How do you know when the washing machine is full enough?” and “Do you stuff it full, or just put a few things in at a time?”. These are good questions, and vary from machine to machine.

Overstuffing is NEVER a good idea.  An overstuffed load will not come clean!

Clothes need a certain amount of room in the washer to move around, and a sufficient amount of water and detergent is needed.  The extra room allows them to move against each other, and that abrasion helps get them clean.  If the clothes aren’t subjected to enough water the dirt, grime, sweat and detergent won’t be rinsed from the fabric. And that means dingy, still dirty clothes. Gross!

Overstuffing can cause clothes to wrinkle since there is not enough room in the drum of the washer for them to move around.

When you move your clothes from the washer to the dryer and you notice every item is wrinkled, it’s a sure sign you’ve overloaded the machine.

Overloading can cause your clothes to pill more readily.  When overcrowded, the clothes rub against each other too much and this abrasion causes them to look older faster and to pill. Pilling is a surface defect caused by wear, and causes little fiber balls to form.

Guide to Load Sizing

Keep in mind that these are loosely loaded clothes in the washer.  If you have to push your clothes down, or in for front load washers, to make room for more in the washer…then you’ve put way too many in there.

Small Load – fills about 1/3 of your machine.

Medium Load – fills about 1/2 of your machine.

Large Load – fills about 3/4 of your machine.

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5 Effective Grease Stain Removal Tips

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.

Then, go ahead and dry the garment as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Three Simple Steps For Laundry Perfection

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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How to Use Baking Soda in Your Wash

It may sound like an old wives tale, but adding baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent will make your colored clothes brighter and your whites whiter. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleanser.  It also softens the water, which means you can use less detergent. It also helps keep your machine clean too.

Whites and Brights: Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash when you add your regular liquid detergent.

Crayons in the Washing Machine: If crayons have accidentally been washed with a load of clothes, there may still be hope. Rewash the clothing in the hottest water allowable for the fabric and add a 1/2 box to a box of baking soda.

Aged Linens: Baking soda can be very effective at removing stains brought on by age. Because it’s a natural cleaner, you can trust that your older linens will be whiter and brighter rather than damaged.

Fabric Softener: Instead of using fabric softener, try adding a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. It acts as a natural softener and is gentler for family members with sensitive skin.

Odors: Add baking soda to the rinse water. Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle helps remove odors from clothes and also softens them naturally.

If your clothes smell like sweat or smoke, it’s best to let them soak in a baking soda solution overnight. This gives the baking soda time to really work as a deodorizer.

  • Mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water in a bucket.
  • Add your clothes to the bucket and swirl them around to make sure they are fully soaked.
  • Leave the clothes overnight and launder them the next day.

Increase Bleach Potency: Adding 1/2 a cup of baking soda in top-loading machines, or a 1/4 cup for front loading machines, will increase the potency of the bleach, so you only need to use half the amount to get the same effect.

 

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