Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cleaning Clothes

Besides putting clothes into at least three piles, darks, lights, and whites, make sure the piles are not too big for the washer and dryer.  There needs to be room for the clothes to move around freely.  If they are too crammed-in, a crowded washer will not get clothes clean and the dryer will make clothes very wrinkled.  You can get wrinkles out by putting garments in the dryer with a wet, clean washrag.  Dry for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove and hang or wear immediately.

If the three separate clothes piles are still too big, I split them up some more by the texture of the material. For example, I separate dark Docker-like pants from dark softer materials. Jeans are usually a separate wash as well. Every other week I have enough towels to do a whites towel load and a colors towel load. I usually clean sheet sets by themselves for full or queen, and I will clean two sets of twin-size sheets together.

When washing bed linens, go ahead and run the blankets, mattress pads, and pillows through the dryer on the air-fluff cycle, even if they aren't getting washed. This is a good time to turn mattresses from one end to the other (and flip over if possible). Change all your linens at the same time so you won't forget any and can get all the bed-changing done at the same time.

Be sure to check the pockets. My sister HATES it when I bring up the "lip stick story." I say, who carries lipstick in their pockets anyway? I lost a favorite pair of jeans that way!!! Take care of those stains right away. Blood stains can be soaked in cool water and most will just lift out. Rubbing a little liquid detergent or stain remover on it will lift out the remaining blood. Pretreat collars on shirts. Teresa also says that in a pinch, Ajax dish washing liquid works just as well as Woolite and can be used as detergent if you happen to run out. She also reminded me about using Aqua Net hair spray to remove ink stains out of clothes. You spray it on the stain kind of heavy and the hair spray soaks it up and it's washed away. Another friend, Patti, said ink stains can be removed from the dryer by soaking a white towel in water with bleach and drying it in the dryer.

I like to use powdered detergent because I live in the country and burn all my cardboard boxes or use them in the garden as a weed-blocker. I immediately throw the plastic scoop that comes in the detergent box into the recycling bin and put a measuring tablespoon in the detergent box. This makes it seem like you are putting more detergent in than if you use a scoop, which keeps the family from getting too much detergent into our clothes when they help with the laundry. I noticed that our towels, were always stiff when anyone else washed them, but were fluffy when I washed them and read that too much detergent was probably the culprit.

I also use vinegar in the rinse water. This helps remove excess detergent and fights the bacteria that causes that bad smell in mildewy or sweaty clothes. If clothes are washed correctly, then they shouldn't need a color-safe bleach, but if I do purchase some, I get this also in a box and use a tablespoon instead of a scoop. Always leave front-loading washers cracked open to thoroughly dry, or they will start to smell mildewy also.

We have a septic tank that requires safe cleansers which is one reason I use vinegar instead of Clorox for smells. I use liquid bluing for whitening. I could not find this anywhere but a local mom and pop grocery chain (S&S--I think there is two stores). So you may have to search around. There is nothing that get clothes whiter. Clorox is very damaging on clothes and makes some materials (like garments) turn a dingy yellow. It is important to follow the directions carefully. I bought a 1 quart container with a spout that closes to mix a batch--3 drops per 1 qt. cold water, then shake well. Apply to wash water like you would Clorox.

For seriously muddy clothes, wash in COLD water so the stains won't set. Brush off all loose dirt possible. Rinse several times in cold water. When no more dirt can be rinsed out, wash the article in warm soapy water through several changes of water. (I don't have a mud sink so I use the bath tub area and a dish pan or pail for smaller garments or the whole tub if necessary).

Damask napkins, linens and even white socks can be whitened on the stove: Fill a pot with water and a few slices of fresh lemon, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add linens, and let soak for up to an hour; launder as usual. For extra brightening, spread them out in the sunlight to dry.

It's important to clean the lint trap in the dryer after each load. Clean out the dryer vent by unplugging the dryer and removing the tube that connects it to the wall. Clean out the area behind the dryer, and remove lint with a vent-cleaning brush. Occasionally check the washer machine hose for potential problems such as stiffness or brittleness. Replace if necessary.

Working in Scouts, we found that lint from the dryer makes excellent fire-starters. I use a cardboard egg crate, fill each opening with lint, then pour wax on top (or melted crayon and candle stubs), let it harden, then tear apart each of the egg holders. Each one makes one fire-starter. Works better than anything you can buy! Melt wax in a tin can and sit in boiling water (low boil) as shown. See Also: Homemade Firestarters

Use dryer sheets in storage boxes for clothing to repel bugs (bay leaves work well also). You can wear them outside to keep bugs away. I put them in the top of my gardening hat so those annoying little gnats will stay away from my face. It really works! Dryer sheets keep cars smelling fresh as well.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...