Most washing machines have a Delicate setting, some go so far as to label it Hand Washables. When the care label calls for hand washing, it’s calling for gentle squeezing rather than machine agitation to minimize stretching and mis-shaping. If the label says delicate or gentle machine washing, the garment will stand up to longer, more active laundering. Any time you want to reduce agitation and stress on the garment structure, use a net “lingerie” bag. Or skip the extra steps and bring your delicate sweaters and garments to our experts. We provide gentle care, every day.
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Ever wear a new pair of jeans straight from the store and notice your hands and shirt turned blue? When dye transfers by friction, it’s called crocking and the indigo dye in blue jeans is a notorious crocker. Before you leave blue everywhere, the washing machine is your first stop. Do a first wash with cold water, before the rinse cycle starts, stop the machine and add two cups white vinegar and let soak for a couple of hours. Then turn the machine back to finish. Hang and air dry your jeans, then press with the hottest iron setting. Then throw them back into the machine for one more cold-water wash.
It’s not your imagination that some workout clothes reek after ten minutes while old-school all-cotton stays relatively sweet. NPR reports that researchers have found there are certain malodorous microbes that only thrive on polyester. The traditional solutions for stinky gym clothes like vinegar or baking soda just can’t fight the tenacious Micrococcus bacteria. Impregnating polyester fabrics with silver particles or triclosan antimicrobial pesticide have serious side effects. Scientists think the best answer might found by using good bacteria to fight the bad. Probiotic deodorant? We’ll rely on professional laundry products until then.
Using too much fabric softener on towels can leave a waxy, water-resistant coating on the fibers that is the opposite effect of a good towel. Would you use wax paper or a paper towel to blot water? To get your towels back to absorbency, add a quarter cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle for a few washes – without softener, ever. If you have the luxury of a clothes line, nothing beats air dried towels for a crispy, fresh feeling.
Drop a bowling-ball size gizmo into your clothes hamper or laundry basket. First it burrows through the laundry, steaming everything to loosen soil, then it electrostatically sucks the dirt right out of the fabric before blowing hot air through the pile to dry. This futuristic concept from the Electrolux Design Challenge might make the washing machine obsolete. You’ll still have to fold, press and hang your clean clothes. Some things will never change.
To avoid spreading lint throughout your entire load of laundry, always separate the into three groups: high, medium and low lint production. Towels and terry robes are high, corduroy, fleece, socks and sweaters are medium, and jeans, T-shirts, workout ...
Cotton is not just for weekend anymore – we’re seeing it used in designer wear for summer – but be careful when attempting to clean extra special pieces yourself, even when the label tells you home cleaning is OK. Natural fibers are prone to losing color over time, and special designs and styles require professional cleaning to make that piece last more than a few wears. Also, cotton is more susceptible to damage from harsher home cleaning detergents – even those detergents that claim to be eco-friendly have a higher pH than those used by professional cleaners.
White canvas shoes are perfect for summer – until they start looking beige. Here’s how to remove stains, thanks to How to Clean Stuff. Scrub away dirt stains with shampoo on a nail brush, wipe residue away with a damp sponge. Use dish soap on grass stains, and nail polish remover on grease or tar. After you’ve removed as much as possible, apply oxygen bleach with a nailbrush or toothbrush to any remaining off-white areas. If you don’t mind losing the new look, canvas shoes can usually be machine washed on a gentle cycle with warm water. Hang to air dry.
Before you store that down vest or comforter, make sure it’s perfectly clean. Small items can be washed in a front-loading machine, on the permanent press cycle, using a detergent that’s safe for down. If the item is really soiled, stop the machine midway and let everything soak for an hour. To make sure you’ve removed every bit of cleanser, run an extra wash cycle with water only. Use low heat and lots of time for drying. Add a few new white tennis balls to the dryer to break up clumps and restore fluffy loft to the down. Or bring your down to us. Our experts use specialized cleaners and commercial-size machines for perfect results.
After a steamy shower or bubbly bath, there’s nothing as refreshing as a big, clean terrycloth towel. But some home laundry practices actually diminish the terrycloth’s absorption. For instance, fabric softener can prevent a towel from soaking up water. And residual detergent will harden the fibers. If your towels aren’t smelling so fresh, add baking soda to the wash. White vinegar freshens mildewy smells. Nothing smells better than a towel that’s dried in the sunshine on a clothesline.