Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Laundry 101

Seems as though I read a lot about the Blogosphere being overrun by laundry. Dirty laundry, that is. My WFMW is a list of products and tips that work for me with tackling Mt. St. Laundry.

Stain Removing:
Put a stain remover on clothing and let it set for a few before dumping into the laundry. When K- was a baby, I had a bottle of Spray and Wash that hung from her laundry basket. I sprayed everything when it came off of her, particularly the collar.

Spray and Wash Dual-- It removed dried on blueberry from a couple of clothing items. I cannot and will not live without it. If it removes blueberry, it has to be good!
Spray and Wash Spray-- It's a good thing. Martha would even agree!
Dawn Dishwashing Detergent-- Mom taught me that it will remove grease stains, even old ones, from clothing. You know what? IT WORKS! Thanks, Mom.
An old toothbrush-- Sometimes you need to roll up your sleeves and get in there. I won't use an old child's toothbrush so as not to confuse the cleaning brush with the tooth cleaning brush.
Rubbing Alcohol-- Removes ink pen from clothing.
Hydrogen Peroxide-- USE WITH CAUTION. Removes blood stains. Can also remove the coloring of your clothing. Did you also know that your own saliva will remove your own blood from clothing? (We're talking if it's a pin prick or something very small. Large amounts call for large amounts of stain removers and spit isn't quite going to get you there.)
Borax-- Great stuff. I toss some in with horribly gross laundry. A giant scoop went in with every load of our tent camping laundry. We had no casualties and nothing needed re-laundered. Keep in mind that we tent camped in 90 + degree heat for a week.
Clorox 2-- Something that I do not live without. I do find that if it goes into a cold water wash and it is a large load, it doesn't want to dissolve that well. Either put it at the bottom or swirl it around in some warm water to dissolve first. (I buy powder in bulk at Sam's because it is cheaper.)
Surf with All Stainlifters, Sparkling Ocean-- I buy it at Sam's Club for about $12.00 for a huge box. As a part of my crazy anal retentive Virgoian weirdness, I date the boxes of bulk items we get from Sam's so I can see how long the product lasts. For us, the big laundry detergent lasts about 2 months or so. We're a sensitive skin family, so we can't use the lower priced detergents.

My name is Amy and I am a
I will soak laundry overnight in the washer, especially stuff from K- playing outside. I used to soak her baby clothes all the time. Just stop the washer once it fills and agitates a few minutes. Restart in the AM.
The Lingerie Bag-- not just for lingerie!:
Baby socks, tights, delicate little dresses and insanely decorated little girls nightgowns-- many things go in these bags. I have several. When K- was a baby, one hung from her laundry basket and I would deposit socks in as she wore them. Zip it up and no baby socks will roam from the laundry! I also have a big, pillow-sized bag that I used to fill up with stuffed animals. Again, when K- was a baby I used to sterilize/wipe things down after a major illness. These are great at wrangling stuffed animals in the wash and keeping their little parts from going astray.
By and large I line dry. I do have a dryer that I use to give the laundry a 5 minute bounce before I hang it up. Again, thanks Mom. The clothes aren't so stiff they can walk away now.

When I do use the dryer, I have those 2 of those spiky dryer balls that I use and 3 tennis balls. Why do I use these? It cuts the dryer time by about 1/3 - 1/2. At least in my dryer that's how they have worked for me. (I have a gas dryer.) I purchased a generic set from the local craft store for $4.97.

Yes, I dry our towels in the dryer
. I'm not thrilled with the option of snuggling up to a towel that feels like a large wad of steel wool. No thank you. I love our environment, but I can only give so much people!

I will re-launder things. I'm not afraid to and do have a reject pile as I'm folding if I find something that needs re-run that I forgot to spot the first time through. Running a chapstick through the laundry will give surprise grease stains on clothing for many loads after. Often, this is my reason for need to re-launder. This is where my Dawn Dishwashing Detergent comes in handy! (No, I'm not a pocket diver. I find things if they wash up. 95% of the time, we don't have an issue.)

Keeping Mt. St. Laundry under control:
Since I line dry about 85 % of what gets laundered here, it requires me to keep up with the laundry a little bit more. It takes about 2 days for clothes to dry on our basement lines. I do have an outdoor line and obviously that is sometimes just a few hours time. We live in NE Ohio, so that's not as much an option right now.
I've found that with line drying, I don't like to spend my precious line space on drying socks, so I've made myself hanging sock trees. The dorky way for saying, I used cable ties and connected hangers together so that I can maximize that sock drying space. (They look like hanger Christmas trees.) I also hang underwear by just one side and let it hang. No use in taking up all that space just to dry my family's underpants!
Happy laundering!

(I found the Uncle Sam graphic on a line drying site. I thought it was kind of funny. In all fairness, I know that there are many people who do not have the time, space or the bylaw's that allow them the opportunity to line dry. But by all means, if you can and you are willing to give it a shot, why not? Your earth thanks you as well as your utility bills!)

Next week's WFMW: Gift Wrapping Tips (Afterall, it is a chunk of my job!)

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