Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Laundry tips

This is my first Works for me Wednesday contribution. I haven't contributed anything before because I was never that excited about anything before. Now I am excited about my laundry. I know, I'm weird.

I have several laundry issues, besides having 2 boys and a husband, including stain removal and being allergic to a lot of different scented products. Here's what I have found:
  1. Borax is my friend. Boy, has adding just a little bit of this stuff to my laundry really helped me get stuff clean while using less detergent and bleach. And it's cheap!!! Baking soda worked well, but not as well as the Borax. Your grandma used Borax. You need to also.
  2. White vinegar is a good fabric softener. I learned this tip from Heloise. I put about a cup of vinegar in my washer while it fills and it softens my clothes well enough. And the vinegar smell washes out so you will not smell like a salad when you wear your clothes. It isn't going to get them Downy soft or do a lot to control static cling, but I have to tell you that the reason why your clothes get so soft is because the commercial fabric softener leaves a residue on your clothes. And you know you can't wash the kids' flame retardant clothes in the fabric softener anyway. And as if you needed another reason to try the vinegar instead of the fabric softeners is that a gallon of white vinegar is about $1.29. I don't even know how much a bottle of Downy is anymore, but I know it's way more than vinegar-even when you use a coupon. You can click here for more of Heloise's helpful hints to use vinegar and baking soda for stuff around the house.
  3. You must pretreat those stains before they get nasty and set in!!! Take a minute at the end of the day when you get those clothes off and pretreat before it goes in the hamper. I have found that using a bit of my favorite laundry deterent and rubbing it into the stain helps. Also, I love Shout for this, especially the one with the scrubby brush built in. I keep a bottle of Shout and a small trial size bottle of Tide in my bathroom for these pre-treating sessions. Remember not to leave the pre-treater on your clothes for too long. You should wash the clothes within 5-7 days of putting the pre-treater on or else you're going to have to invest in some brooches or pieces of flair to pin over the stains that won't come out.

You're not wearing enough flair, Jennifer.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, go to Rocks in My Dryer. And if anyone knows a good tip for getting Ovaltine out of clothes, please let me know! I can't find anything that works.


MamaK said...

No clue on the Ovaltine (do the kids really love it?)... and I'm loving the other tips. I've used baking soda before, but have always wondered about vinegar and borax... now I know! Esp since we buy the 'free and clear' versions of stuff b/c of my allergies! Thanks :)

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Vinegar is great. I swear by it in the laundry. I put under 1/4 cup in the fabric-softener dispenser in my washing machine, then fill that the rest of the way with water. The clothes are soft enough and they only smell vinegar-y when wet. Once dry, the smell is gone.
BONUS, that residue left by fabric softeners makes towels less absorbent. You WILL notice a difference.

Amy Giglio said...

Barb, you are so right about the towel absorbency thing. I'm glad you said that 'cause I forgot to!

Kristi, I swiched to ovaltine b/c it cost about the same as the Hershey's syrup, maybe a little less, and it really does have a lot more vitamins and minerals than even the fortified Hershey's they have out there. My kids like it fine. It's just that when they spill it or dribble it on their shirts, nothing gets that stuff out. I've pretreated, bleached, soaked and nothing is getting that stuff out.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

HELLO! What mother doesn't get completely excited to read a tip about laundry? Count me among the masses for sure.

I really enjoyed reading your post this morning. Borax. Who knew? I have had a long standing relationship with OxiClean. Have you two met? Might be someone you want to include in your circle of laundry room friends. :)

Thanks for the great tip on vinegar too. I am definitely going to try that one today.

Kate P said...

There's another stain remover called Zout that has worked pretty well for me. Maybe that would work on Ovaltine. Chocolate is so darn stain-y.

(Joanna: "Why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?" Hee.)