Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Laundry Tips and Tricks

Lately I have developed a passion rather an obsession for perfecting my laundry skills. I am still obsessed with the smell of my Gain which makes doing laundry all the more enjoyable.

I have discovered though that my laundering abilities are lacking quite a bit. I went digging and found some awesome tips that have helped me a lot and made my laundry smell great, look brighter and cleaner. So I thought I would share my findings. :)

 My clothes and towels have in the past had a funky smell to them regardless of the amazing smelling detergents and softeners. One major culprit of the funk I have found was that I use to occasionally let my laundry sit in the washer for an hour or so after the cycle ended. Bad idea. This creates excess moisture and that creates mold and the nasty funk smell. Sometimes I just can't help it even though I know that the laundry will smell funky. Sometimes I have to leave the house in a hurry or something unexpected comes up and I can't get to the laundry right away. Most of you may know if you've ever left your clean wet laundry sit and get the stink that re-washing doesn't really get the smell out. However, I have good news!

How to get rid of stinky smelly laundry:
One to two cups of white vinegar( depending on load size) and 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda.
Re-wash laundry in only the vinegar. (This strips away the mold)
Then add baking soda in the rinse cycle. (This deodorizes and takes the stink away)
You can also pop in a few scent booster crystals like Downy, Gain Fireworks, or Purex for a fragrance.

This really works! I had a blue towel that had gotten wet and I tossed it down stairs in the dirty hamper and forgot to clean it right away. Before I could get around to dealing with it the stink had taken it over. It was pretty bad. I was very surprised that this trick worked amazing at stripping away the funky smell and mold.

Since using this trick I learned that there is a ton of uses for baking soda. One that I plan on trying here very soon is a foot soak. Get a basin with warm to hot water and throw in some baking soda and it softens your rough dry skin plus it sounds quite relaxing. It is especially good for laundry. It helps boost the power of your detergent, its a natural softener so if you have hard water its great to add to every wash, its a great deodorizer ( you can even toss some into a smelly trash pail and it helps neutralize odors, and its fairly cheap too! I have since stocked up on my baking soda here. :)

My laundry room stock has grown extensively lately. I have my Gain detergent and softener, Gain and Downy dryer sheets, OxyClean powder, OxyClean spot spray and gel stick, Borax, Brite White, Purex Crystals in both scents, Baking Soda, White Vinegar, Shout stain sticks, and bleach. I know I sound crazy but I love doing my laundry now! I just dislike putting my laundry away afterward. :)

Another great tip is to wash your washer and dryer! I haven't yet cleaned my dryer but I have cleaned my washer twice now. Its best to clean it every 3-4 months. Detergent and softener leave buildup over time and can leave stains on your laundry during a cycle so its important to have a clean washer to clean your clothes.

How to clean your washing machine:
One quart of white vinegar
One gallon of bleach

Fill washer all the way up to the top with super hot water- as hot as you can get. Pour in the vinegar and let it soak for an hour. While its soaking get a scratch pad or sponge and start cleaning the walls and the agitator. Clean the softener cup out well and remove the cup to expose the inside of the agitator. ( this is the way to clean top loader washers) You may need a baby bottle brush to get all the left over softener gunk out of it. Its important to clean all of this out so it doesn't get redistributed on your clothing. I found that I was getting mystery grayish stain on my laundry and this was the very reason so cleaning this out is essential. Once you get the gray stains they are difficult to remove. Once that is done, run a cycle with the vinegar. Once that cycle is over, fill the washer again with very hot water and this time add the bleach. Get your sponge and do the same thing scrubbing the agitator and walls. Don't forget to clean the inside of the agitator under the softener cup with the bleach water as well. You will notice in all this scrubbing how dirty and clumpy the water will get. That means its working. Its pretty gross but a great reminder to keep up on the cleaning every 3-4 months. Once again run a cycle with the bleach. Once you are all finished leave the washer lid open. In fact, you should leave it open after every wash so that moisture doesn't get trapped inside and create mold or smell.

My other handy laundry tip I have found is for towels. I recently decided to switch our towels to white ones that are super soft and still absorbent. I did my homework and saw how crazy expensive great quality and soft towels really are. There was no way I was going to spend $30 on one towel! Ridiculous! I really wanted to get the bath sheets which are the really long towels but this time I didn't get those. I will say that Walmart has great Home and Garden towels that are really soft, absorbent and bath sheets for only $6.88. I will be getting a bunch of those in the future for sure. However, this time I found some great towels at Target. Their Room Essentials brand were only $3 on sale! I couldn't pass that up. They are super soft, bright white, and fast drying. I used them today for the first time without washing them and they were amazing! No pilling or lint and very absorbent. I felt like I was at a spa coming out of the shower, it was great!

So now that I have these towels the trick is to keep them white. I thought I'd experiment on a dingy grayish old white towel I had in my old towel rotation. Its a different brand and not very soft but its white so it will stay in my new rotation.

The old dingy gray towel is in the middle sandwiched by two of my new towels. You can see its quite gray. I decided to try a nice hot bleach soak.

Since my washer in energy star it doesn't get super hot to save money and energy so I filled a tub with piping hot water along with bleach and a little bit of baking soda and some detergent. I let it soak for about 2 hours. I agitated it with a wooden stick every so often as well. I may try to re-soak this again with more bleach and for a longer time and dry it outside in the sunshine but for now its ok.

The towel I bleached is on the top and one of the new towels I bought is on the bottom. You can still see a slight difference in shade but it definitely looks better than before.

Hope some of my laundry tips help you as much as they have helped me! :)

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