Too much detergent
can leave fabrics coated
with a soapy residue.
clothes. With liquid detergent you can pre-treat a heavily soiled area with
part of the measured amount of detergent you will use in the wash.
• Pre-treating spills and heavy soil is vital, so keep a good laundry spotter on hand. You can also make your own laundry spotters. For a great
all-purpose spotter, combine 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water in a
labeled spray bottle. Spray on spots and spills, wait a few minutes and then
launder as usual. For oily stains, such as salad dressing, combine 1 tablespoon of glycerin, 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 8 tablespoons
of water in a squeeze bottle. Work the solution into grease and oil stains. Let
it sit a few minutes, then flush with water and launder as usual.
• Fabric softener is available as a liquid or a sheet. Liquids help to ensure
equal coating on all of your clothing. They also help reduce wrinkles and
retain colors. Dryer sheets control static cling and can add a fresh scent.
You may want to have both kinds on hand for different fabrics and for those
that don’t go in the dryer.
Now that you have the basics down, here are the tricks of the trade
to help you do laundry faster, easier and more successfully. These tips will
help you extend the life of your clothing and succeed at removing tough
stains every time.
Tricks of the trade
• Catch the spills and spots before you launder the clothes. Treating
a spot when it is fresh makes it easier to remove, and treating it properly
before laundering is vital.
Try this trick: Keep colored plastic clothespins near the laundry hamper.
When you take off something with a spot on it, clip the clothespin to the
spot. It’s so easy, even the kids will do it. When you are ready to do the laundry, you will easily spot the colored clothespin and know exactly where to
pre-treat the spot. You’ll never again miss one and find a stain when the
clothes come out of the dryer.
• Speaking of the dryer, always remove the clothes from the dryer immediately. Prompt hanging and folding will eliminate the need for ironing in
• If you forget to take the clothes out immediately, eliminate wrinkles
by tossing in a damp towel and letting the dryer spin for five or 10 minutes
to steam out the wrinkles. Hang or fold the clothes promptly, and hopefully
you won’t have to iron.
• And, of course, read the label in each piece of laundry. The Federal
Trade Commission requires that all garments have a label that identifies how
to properly care for the item; look for it in the neck or side seam. For best
results, follow the laundering directions on that label. If it says, “DRY CLEAN
ONLY,” you should do that.
Almost anyone can learn to do some part of the laundry. Even children
can sort and fold their own clothes, as can Dad. The job will go faster, and
it’s great training for the kids later in life.
You spend a lot of money on your clothes, so next time you do laundry
take a few extra minutes to do it right and your clothes will last longer and
look better. A