So there you are, taking your clothes out of the dryer and yelling in frustration! Not only did the last person to do laundry leave that load sitting in the dryer for long enough to wrinkle, but your laundry detergent fell down on the job, and now your clothes smell like moldy socks, and…you’re still seeing stains! Oh, what to do?
What does it take to clean clothes like a pro (and skip the ironing and dry cleaning)?
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I’m so glad you asked!
Here are my top ten tips for healthy, clean, wrinkle-free laundry:
- Buy an unscented liquid laundry detergent (may be sold as a concentrate so you can use less).
- One of the biggest causes of laundry-related health issues is scented laundry detergent.
- ALL Free & Clear works well–unless you react to sulfides (cause itchy skin wherever the fabric touches)–then I recommend purchasing an alternative laundry detergent.
- We prefer Biokleen or Ecos
- The really great thing about the unscented laundry detergents is that they tend to be very gentle on clothes when used in the correct amounts.
- They also don’t cause static cling, eliminating the need for dryer sheets or fabric softener (two more sources of unhealthy perfumes and chemicals)
- Even though we can’t use All Free & Clear for our clothes because it makes us itch, to save money I use it for washing dish towels and dishcloths, also rags and rugs; anything we don’t wear on our skin or spend much time in contact with.
- I also use All Free & Clear at full strength applied with a toothbrush to spot treat our clothes.
- Don’t let it set more than 5-10 minutes on colors, especially bright or dark colors, as it will take some of the color out with the dirt.
- All Free & Clear is very effective and safe as a stain fighter, as long as you remember to pop those things in the washer right away and run them!
- I add vinegar to every load of laundry to kill bacteria and make it smell “clean”.
- 1 cup per load is all it takes.
- Vinegar is a safer alternative to bleach, and kills almost as many types of bacteria (99.9%) as bleach, and kills 89-90% of mold spores.
- An accident with vinegar also won’t ruin your clothes like spilling bleach will.
- If you react to vinegar, I recommend contacting your local Shaklee dealer to discuss nontoxic laundry alternatives to replace vinegar and bleach.
- When drying clothes,
- set a timer (preferably an oven timer that refuses to go off until you turn it off),
- take clothes out and hang them up or fold them as soon as the timer goes off or the dryer stops.
- It’s great to take clothes out while slightly damp (this is especially good for dress shirts and slacks). This minimizes static and wrinkles.
- Hang damp clothes where the air can finish drying them before putting them away.
- If a load is forgotten in the dryer, turn it on “wrinkle free” and fluff for 10-20 minutes, and–again–set that timer!
- To minimize wrinkles, we hang up all blouses and shirts, even tee shirts, slacks, dresses, skirts, etc. Underwear, socks, blue jeans, shorts, and pajamas are folded and put away in drawers.
- Never put a “Dry Clean Only” suit jacket through the washer or dryer.
- If a suit jacket needs cleaning,
- first spot treat with a damp cloth and a (tiny) dab of gentle detergent,
- fill a large tub with cool water, add a little gentle detergent, and swish the water around to distribute before gently dipping the jacket in and agitating it with your hand.
- Empty the water and refill with fresh water, rinse thoroughly, do not wring out.
- Hang on a sturdy, shaped plastic suit hanger over a bath towel where there is good air circulation until dry.
- Touch up with an iron set for polyester:
- turn the garment inside out;
- place a smooth cotton cloth between iron and the jacket to protect the fabric from acquiring that shiny half-melted look,
- gently mist the cloth with a squirt bottle to dampen as needed.
- This process also works for sweaters and formal gowns.
- Sweaters must be laid flat on a towel to dry (this is called “blocking”).
- If a suit jacket needs cleaning,
- To clean the washer, turn settings to largest load, add 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup baking soda, plus one half bucket of additional water. Allow the washer to cycle through.
- Always clean the dryer lint trap between loads to maximize efficiency and reduce the danger of lint catching fire and setting your house on fire. Also check dryer vent hose at least once yearly and keep in good repair.