Archive for the ‘Laundry’ Category
Q: Help! My daughter has chocolate stains on her Easter dress. How do I get them out?
A: First blot the stain with cold water using a clean rag or dishcloth. Next, add a few drops of light-colored dish washing liquid. Mild laundry detergent or even light-colored hand soap will work too. Blot the stain then rinse completely. If you have a tough stain you can add a couple drops of ammonia for milk chocolate or a couple drops of white vinegar for dark chocolate. Reapply the soap, blot and rinse again.
For more stain removal tips check out Removing Playground Stains
Shoes and boots and the bottom of coats and pants take a beating during the winter months. Salt stains need treated as soon as possible. If you don’t, those little white marks and lines can change the dye color and later look like bleach spots. Vinegar to the rescue!
Salt on Clothes
- Distilled white vinegar, water, toothbrush, rag or cotton ball
- Mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water.
- Dab water/vinegar mixture, using a rag or cotton ball, on the affected area. Use an old toothbrush in a circular motion to softly scrub the stain. For stubborn stains, you may need to treat again.
- Then, for washable items, wash as normal.
Salt on Suede
- Distilled white vinegar, pencil eraser, water, spray bottle, suede brush (short bristled wire brush), newspaper, soft brush
- If removing salt from shoes and boots, stuff them with newspaper so they hold their shape. Let any mud dry. Brush with a suede brush to remove any dry dirt. Do not brush in a circular motion, instead brush one way in the direction of the nap of the suede (make it lay down).
- Using a pencil eraser, lightly rub the stained area.
- For tougher stains, use the vinegar/water mixture. Mix 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar to 1 cup water in a spray bottle. Mist the affected area with the vinegar/water mixture using as small amount of water as possible. Lightly brush the area to lift the nap up. Once dry, use a soft brush to restore the original texture.
Salt on Shoes & Boots (Leather, Canvas, etc)
- Distilled white vinegar, water, toothbrush, spray bottle, clean rag or paper towel, newspaper, shoe polish or banana
- Mix 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar to 1 cup water in a spray bottle…amounts do not have to be exact.
- Stuff shoes and boots with newspapers so they hold their shape. Mist the affected area with the vinegar/water mixture. Gently scrub with an old toothbrush or soft bristled brush in a circular motion. You may need to treat again.
- Once dry, polish with shoe/boot polish or the inside of a banana peel. Buff with clean rag or paper towel.
When I was a little kid our neighborhood road would get tarred in the summer. During the heat, there would be a zillion tar bubbles just waiting to be popped. I could hardly wait to get out in the morning to play, but the rule was to wait until 10am to go outside. It was extremely stressful for a kid to have to wait until 10am, especially when your best friend/neighbor was allowed out at 9am and just as excited to get started popping the bubbles. Needless to say, this was some of my first encounters with learning how to remove stains. As far as the tar…cold cream and lots and lots of toilet paper seemed to do the trick back then.
I have a few different options of getting blood out of clothing. First, rinse with COLD water to get off the majority of the stain. Just hold the stained area under the water so blood doesn’t get onto the rest of the clothing.
Option #1: Sprinkle salt generously on stain, rub in or tap in with a little brush, rinse with cold water and then wash as usual. This can be used on dried blood, just dampen with cold water and then use the salt.
Option #2: Saturate in hydrogen peroxide, leave on over night and rinse. (Hydrogen peroxide works wonders. It isn’t bleach, but can possibly take out the color on some fabrics, so check first.)
Option #3: Drench the stain with ammonia and let sit. (This will not discolor clothing.)
Option #4: Soak the area in milk over night then wash as usual.
Option #1: Rub Murphy’s Oil Soap onto the grass stain with a small brush. Wash.
Option #2: Combine a few drops of household ammonia with 1 tsp. of hydrogen peroxide. Rub on the stain and rinse with water as soon as stain disappears.
Option #3: Use Karo syrup (white corn syrup). Pour on stain, rub in, wash as usual. This works really well on baseball pants.
Option #4: Drench area with white vinegar & use toothbrush to loosen stain.
MUD / DIRT
Option #1: First let the mud dry. Then scrape off as much as possible. Cut a potato…yes a potato. Rub the cut side of the potato on the muddy section. Rinse with white vinegar.
Option #2: Spray shaving cream on the mud, get it nice and foamy. Let stand at least 20 minutes, then blot off with paper towels or rag.
TIRE MARKS / TAR
Rub peanut butter onto the tire marks. Rinse and repeat if necessary. Once the tire marks are gone you may need to use Dawn Dish Soap to get out the greasy peanut butter.
Rub Purell or any antibacterial hand gel onto the area. Scrape off. Wash. Make sure the sap is completely gone before drying. If some is left on the clothing, the heat from the dryer can soften the sap and transfer it to other articles of clothing. Hence, making more work for you.
Shared Laundry Room Etiquette
Q. Can I use more than one machine?
A. Yes. But also don’t hog all the machines. It is perfectly permissible to use two machines (one for whites/lights and one for darks) at the same time.
Q. Should you remove someone’s laundry from the machines?
A. For the most part, you shouldn’t touch others’ clothes…it’s personal. But, if the owner of the clothes is no where to be seen, it has been for a period of time, and there are no other machines to use…then place the clothes in a basket (preferably theirs that has been left on top of or in front of the machine). You can also ask the manager or RA what is acceptable for that place.
Q. Do you have to stay with your clothes?
A. No. But you better set a timer so you get back in time to remove your clothes from the machines, otherwise someone may remove your items for you!
Q. Do I have to clean out the lint trap in the dryer?
A. Yes. Check the lint before you start in case the person before you didn’t clean it. Also clean it when you are finished with each load.
Laundry 101 Part 1: Sorting
Laundry 101 Part 2: Washing
Laundry 101 Part 3: Drying
Read labels…some clothing should never be put in the dryer (wool, silks, rayon, items that are lined).
Sort textures…(light weight from heavy weight)…it does take longer to dry heavier items. If you find a dryer that has just been used (still warm to the touch)…it will be hotter and take less time to run, hence less quarters. Use that one for your heavier items (jeans, towels). Otherwise, start with your light weight items first.
Check clothes for any spots/stains at this time. Don’t put in the dryer any article that a spot remains as it will “set” the stain. Spots should be re-treated and re-washed.
Shake out each item before putting them in the dryer individually…don’t throw clothes in clumps. This is also a good time to stretch your jeans…pull from waist to bottom hem at each side seam…just give a little tug. Hint: dark jeans should be turned inside out before washing to prevent fading.
Don’t overload the dryer (fill dryer no more than ¾ full, preferably ½ full). Clean out the lint trap (check before you start and be courteous to clean it out after you’re done)…this will save time and money. If using dryer sheets – cut them in half (these basically prevent static cling & scent your clothes).
DO NOT OVER DRY….yes, I am shouting. Over drying shrinks clothes, causes fading, and ruins the fibers causing them to wear out faster. Different dryers will take different amounts of time to dry. Experiment with yours, go with less minutes at first (20 minutes)…you can always give it another 5 or 10 minutes if it needs it. You can also remove items that are done drying in between.
Remove clothes immediately. Double check for any items left sticking to the inside of the dryer…remember dryers eat socks (or not)! Fold or hang immediately.
Understanding Dryer Settings
Delicates: gym clothes, bras
Light: tshirts, underwear, sheets
Heavy: jeans, hoodies, sweats, towels
Hooray, you’ve completed the reading materials for BBT Laundry 101. Now get out there clean those clothes. Later we’ll work on stains, along with tips to save on your detergents, how to remove pills from sweaters, and so much more.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask away. Good luck…you can do it…it’s a skill and you’ll only get better with practice.
—and to parents, relatives, dear friends…rolls of quarters and pizza gift cards are a very acceptable gift anytime.
Now that you have your dirty laundry sorted, let’s take the fear out of the washing machine.
ADD SOAP FIRST
Whether you use liquid or powder put it in first. Start the machine, let it get a little sudsy, then add your sorted clothes….a load for lights, a load for darks, etc. You’ll have to close the lid for the machine to run…it will stop when you open the lid. Read your bottle for the amount of soap to use. The amounts are all different depending on whether you have purchased concentrate or not. There is such a variety when purchasing soap…if you didn’t get some from home! Hint: get a detergent that says “color-safe bleach” (this is NOT bleach)…as this is good for whites, lights, and darks.
A big misconception is to use more soap as that will get clothes extra clean. Plain and simple: don’t….less is best. Hint: you can usually get by with ½ the amount of recommended soap, unless the clothes are really dirty. By using too much soap it will actually ruin your clothes…the soap remains in the fibers.
Clothes need to be swishy. Fill the machine with clothes no more than ¾ full. Toss them evenly around the machine…don’t clump them all in one spot. All your clothes should be under the water…not sticking out. You can check by lifting the lid once the machine has filled with water…push any items down under the water…they should easily go under (otherwise you have filled the machine too full). Not to fret if they don’t. If a number of items do not push down under the water, then you’ll need to take some out and do another load. You’ll soon learn what amount will fit into the machine you are using.
TEMPERATURE & CYCLES
When in doubt – wash in cold water. Cold water prevents fading, wrinkling & shrinking. Use warm/hot water for dirtier and stinky articles. Rinse in cold water if available…some washers do not have a separate setting for the rinse cycle.
The permanent press cycle is the middle-of-the-road…not too harsh, not too gentle. When washing anything delicate…use the gentle cycle (it’s not going to agitate/twist your clothes). Remove clothes promptly from the washer. This too prevents wrinkling besides being courteous to the next person wanting to use the machine. It takes about 30 minutes for a load (if you leave…set a timer).
Hot Water: underwear, socks, towels, bedding
Warm or Cold Water: lights or darks
Cold Water: delicates, darks (to prevent from fading), anything that you don’t want to shrink
Now sit back enjoy some music, do your homework, take a nap…and we’ll be ready for the dryers shortly.
Welcome to BBT Laundry 101. In today’s class we will be learning about sorting and pre-washing.
Are you part of the group that is heading off to college? Are you part of the group that has never done laundry before? Help is here. So, two weeks from now, when you need to handle that massive pile in your room, I’ll get you through the basics. Of course there is much more to doing laundry…and I’ll do future blogs on stain removal and more ways to save money. But for now, here we go:
We’re talking colors….sort lights from darks. Read labels…put in a separate pile those items that are hand wash and dry-clean only.
Sort before you go…you will have more space to sort in your dorm, than you will at the machines. Once sorted, just layer the lights from the darks in your basket.
Whites: if only a few, can put in with the lights…otherwise wash these separately.
Lights: tans, grey, light prints, pastel pinks, yellows
Darks: navy, dark green, black, brown
Red – if previously laundered (no longer bleeds*), can put in with the darks
*bleeds: test your red items in a sink of cold water. If the water turns pink, then your item is not done bleeding. If washed with other non-red clothing (especially light colors), this red will transfer onto those clothes….hence the pink underwear syndrome.
Hand Washables & Dry Clean
We will tackle this category later. But, most hand washables can be washed on the gentle cycle. And in the meantime, dry clean items need to go to a professional dry cleaner.
We will definitely get into this subject later on with tips and tricks to help you. But for now, get yourself a spot remover such as Spray and Wash…and use according to directions.
Amazing what you’ll find in there…flashdrives, memory cards, gum, lipstick, and who knows, maybe money. Another handy tip: zip zippers (will prevent snagging)
CHECKLIST OF WHAT TO TAKE
1. clothes in basket or bag (mesh ones are nice)
2. soap (must) & fabric softener/sheets (optional)
3. hangers (optional)
5. something to do: books, music, even homework
Have sorting or pre-wash questions? Ask away!
Next we’ll be heading down to the washing machines. Stay tuned.
Happy sorting…here’s hoping you find an extra $10 in a pocket.