Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Call Me Crazy But I Love to Do the Laundry - Water Temperatures and Treating Stains

If you are like me, you have had many items of clothing that have been ruined by not only using the wrong temperature of water when washing clothes but also by not treating stains properly.  In this post, you will find easy to follow instructions and tips that will help you keep your clothing in the best condition and also help you to keep from adding to your rag pile.  You will thank me.

Water Temperatures
One of the most important things you will do when prepping your laundry for the washing machine is to select the water temperature.  If you have opened up your washing machine after running some clothes through a cycle and have found mis-colored items of clothing, misshaped items of clothing or clothes that were not even the same size any more, you already know how important this step is.  It can make doing the laundry very unpleasant.  I really don't want that for you so please read on!

Hot water is best for whites: 
  • Most linens
  • Underwear, t-shirts and bras
  • Socks - Now this tip is one of the best I have to offer so give it a try. Wash your socks in mesh bags so you don't lose any of them! This isn't just for baby socks either as I do this with my own and my husbands socks.  We never have missing socks any more and that is a great thing.
  • White sheets
  • Disinfecting dish, bath towels and washcloths
Warm water is best for colors (reduces fading, wrinkling and shrinking):
  • Permanent press
  • Jeans
  • Colored socks
  • Colored towels
  • Colored sheets
Cold water is best for:
  • Delicate items
  • Clothing labeled cold water only
  • Colors that may bleed or fade in higher temperatures

Tips for Treating Stains
The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to get it out  so remember that you should always treat stains before you launder your clothing and if after treating and washing a stain it is still visible, treat and wash again before drying.  Drying the stained clothing sets the stain.  Also, blot stains gently and NEVER rub and NEVER use warm or hot water to spot clean.

  • Dissolve soap before throwing clothes in.  This is really important when you are using powdered detergent in a top loading machine.  
  • Soaking clothes in water over night loosens dirt and grime and helps remove that dingy color
  • Keep colors and black bright, turn inside out before washing and choose coldest temperatre
  • For stubborn food stains such as coffee, soy sauce or mustard, blot the area with foam shaving cream and let sit over night if you can.  Or use a solution of equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing with cold water.  Be sure to wash immediately.  
  • If you have washed a stained garment, look at it before putting it in the dryer.  If the stain didn't come out don't put it in the dryer as it will set the stain.  Try to get the stain out before throwing it into the dryer.
  • To take the stale or musty odor out of your machine, add a quarter cup of baking soda to a wash.
  • Hand Washing - Fill a kitchen or bathroom sink with cool or warm water and a little detergent. Let your delicates soak for 15-20 minutes and then rinse in clear water two to three times. Hang dry.

Blot the lipstick stain with a handi-wipe, baby wipe or a washcloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.  Blotting
or dabbing rather than rubbing will keep the stain from spreading and from seeping deeper into the fibers.

Depending on the material that has been stained by ink, you should treat this stain differently.

  • Polyester - Spray with hair spray and pat with a clean, white dry cloth and then wash.
  • Cotton - Dab rubbing alcohol to the spot and then wash.
For fresh blood blot repeatedly with cold water, club soda or ice cubes until the majority of the stain has been removed.  If the stain has already dried, use a a solution of 1 part hydrogen-peroxide and 1 part water and then rinse with cold water.

Sprinkle baby powder or talcum powder immediately and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.  Brush off the powder and apply a stain remover and then wash in the hottest water the fabric can manage.

These are some of my best tips for keeping your clothing looking like new but if you have some others, please share.  As I have said once or twice before, laundry is my favorite household chore so I am always willing to try new things.  Give me a shout out in the Comment Section below.

Happy Laundry Day!

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