Laundry should be easy right? You’ve got a washer, a dryer and detergent, you throw the clothes in the washer, they come out clean and you toss them in the dryer praying you won’t have to iron them. Not so fast…..laundry is easy, but there are some guidelines that will have you doing laundry like a pro every time.
• Sort. Don’t just pick up an armful of clothes and dump them in the washer. Sort the clothes, not only by color, but also by fabric type and weight. Rough fabrics, such as heavy denim, can snag and damage delicate fabrics.
• Chose a detergent that best suits your needs. You can buy laundry detergents in powder or liquid form and many brands have additives to help brighten and protect the color of your clothes. Or you might prefer products that are free of extra additives. Once you’ve picked a brand that works for you, the most important thing is to read the instructions on the package and make sure that you’re using the right amount of detergent and the correct water temperature. With detergent, using more doesn’t mean that it will clean better. Too much can leave the fabrics coated with a soapy residue. If you are using powder detergent, be sure that it dissolves well. If it is not dissolved or you are using too much detergent, you will find white powdery residue on your clothes. With liquid detergent you can pre-treat heavily soiled area with part of the measured amount of detergent you will use in the wash.
• Fabric softener is available as a liquid or a sheet. Liquids help to insure equal coating on all of your clothing. They also help reduce wrinkles and retain colors. Dryer sheets control static cling and can add a fresh scent. You will usually want to have each one on hand for different fabrics and for those that don’t go in the dryer.
• Pre-treating spills and heavy soil is vital, so keep a good laundry spotter on hand. You can also make your own laundry spotters. For a great general all purpose spotter, combine 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water in a labeled spray bottle. Spray on spots and spills, wait a few minutes and then launder as usual. For those oily stains, such as salad dressing, combine 1 tablespoon of glycerin, 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 8 tablespoons of water in a squeeze bottle. Work the solution into grease and oil stains. Let sit a few minutes, flush with water and launder as usual. Now that we have the basics down, here are the tricks of the trade to help you do laundry faster, easier and more successfully. These things will insure that you extend the life of your clothing, and are successful at removing tough stains every time.
• Read the label in each item. The Federal Trade Commission requires that all garments have a label that identifies how to properly care for the item. Look for it either in the neck or side seam of your clothes. For best results, follow the directions on that label for laundering. If it says, “dry clean only” you should do that.
• Catch the spills and spots before you launder the clothes. Of course, treating a spot when it is fresh makes it easier to remove and treating it properly before laundering is vital. To help you catch the little spots and spills in life try this, keep colored plastic clothespins near the laundry hamper. When you take off something with a spot on it, clip the clothespin to the spot. It’s so easy, even the kids will do it. When you are ready to do the laundry you will easily spot the colored clothespin and know exactly where to pre-treat the spot. You’ll never miss one again and find a stain when the clothes come out of the dryer.
• Speaking of the dryer, always remove the clothes immediately from the dryer. Promptly hanging and folding will eliminate ironing in many cases.
• If you forget to take the clothes out immediately, eliminate wrinkles by tossing in a damp towel and letting the dry spin for 5 or 10 minutes to steam out the wrinkles. Hang or fold promptly and hopefully you won’t have to iron.
Almost anyone can learn to do some part of the laundry. Even the kids can sort and fold their own clothes, as can Dad. The job will go faster and it’s great training for the kids later in life.
You spend a lot of money on your clothes, so next time you do laundry take a few extra minutes to do it right and your clothes will last longer and look better.
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