In our last post, we walked you through everything you need to know about laundry basics- that is, sorting, washing, drying, and handwashing. Make sure you read that post before moving onto this one because it has a TON of great info on how best to wash your clothes and protect your fabrics.
In today’s post, we’re taking things to the next level and sharing everything you need to know about individual fabric care, maintaining your machines, and stain removal.
In the last post, we talked about what your machines can do for you, but now it’s time to look at what YOU can do for your machine.
In general, they’re pretty low maintenance, but it is important to occasionally clean your washing machine occasionally to keep it functioning optimally.
To clean your machine, just run add ½ - 1 cup white vinegar or baking soda to it and run an empty load on the hot water setting. Voila! You’re done.
For a little extra cleaning, take a toothbrush or scrub brush to the detergent compartments. If you have a front-loading washer, be sure to clean the gasket regularly to avoid odor causing mildew. You can also prevent mildew by leaving the washer door open in between loads so the gasket can dry out.
You don’t need to clean the inside of your dryer like you do your washer, but you do want to make sure that you’re cleaning out the lint filter after every use and the exhaust vent at least once a year. These steps, along with not overloading your machine or leaving it running while you’re not home, are the major steps you should take to avoid dryer fires.
Even the best washing regime isn’t always a match for tough stains. Each type of stain requires a special kind of treatment, so refer to the info below for details on how to deal with different stain types.
The following tips are generally natural/DIY stain removal tips, but if you want to go for a regular ol’ store bought stain remover, Shout Spray is a great option.
Brighten your whites
Unfortunately, our white clothes become dingy and dull over time but before you ditch them in favor of new clothing, there are a few things you can do to return them to their former glory. You can add ½ cup baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar to your white loads along with your detergent. Air drying clothing in sunlight can also help to whiten them (it will also fade colors, so dry those inside or in the shade!).
Adding any of the above ingredients to your wash is also great for removing odors.
Removing blood stains can seem like an impossible task, but we swear it can be done! The first thing you want to do is soak the stain in ice cold salt water for a few hours. This will help to lift the stain and keep it from setting. Then spot treat with hydrogen peroxide, gently rub the fabric together, and rinse. Repeat is necessary. Be aware that hydrogen peroxide, while quite mild, may be too harsh for some delicate fabrics, so do a small spot test to start.
Oil and grease stains
Depending on the severity of the stain, this can be a one or two step process. For new or mild stains or for material that can’t easily be washed, lay the garment flat and generously sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch over the stain, making sure to cover it completely. Leave for 24 hours to absorb excess oil, and then scrape off powder and wash (if applicable) as normal.
If this is a more serious stain, begin with the step above and then spot treat with Dawn dish soap. You can use other types of dish soap, but Dawn seems to work the best.
Unlike most stains, you don’t want to treat ink stains right away because the ink is still wet and can easily bleed. Instead, wait until the ink is dry and then spot treat with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Again, these can be harsh on some fabrics, so beware when using this on delicates.
White vinegar is a great treatment for grass stains. Simply mix one part vinegar with two parts water and gently scrub into your fabric with a toothbrush. Allow to sit for a few minutes before washing. Another option is to presoak the item in a mixture of cold water and laundry detergent.
Oh the dreaded red wine stains! You may think spilled red wine is the end of your affected garment, but there’s actually still hope. For sturdier items, stretch the material over a bowl and pour hot water over the stain. Treat with a stain remover and then wash to get rid of any remaining marks.
A mix of three parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dish detergent can also work wonders. Mix the two together, apply to the stain and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
If you find yourself out and can’t immediately treat the stain, apply salt to the area. This helps to lift some of the stain and keep it from setting and will make it easier to remove once you get home.
Well there you go! Combined with Part I of this piece you now have all the info you need to master any laundry situation. Be sure to keep these notes on hand, or even print them off and pin them up in your laundry room so you have the info ready when you need it.
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