Friday, January 2, 2009

Laundry Detergents

When Grandma did the laundry, she used a wringer wash machine and homemade lye soap. She'd start with the sheets, white clothes and proceed until she did the dark clothes and the rugs. She hung them on a clothes line, never having the convenience of a clothes dryer. The fabrics were cotton and wool. She'd wash the wools by hand and carefully shape them to dry.
We have so many more choices for the types of fabrics our clothes are made of. There are a myriad of laundry products, as well. You are only limited by your budget and your storage space for these items.
Here are some suggestions for laundry products to keep on hand.
1. Soap/detergent
2. Dreft/Woolite for hand washables
3. Oxygen based bleach
4. Chlorine bleach
5. Vinegar
6. Fabric softener
7. Rit Color Remover
8. Borax or washing soda
9. Clear shampoo (for grease) or stain remover as Shout
10. Fels Naptha Bar; to remove stains
11. Dishwasher detergent as Cascade of Electrosol.
12. Toothbrush
Some suggestions for getting your clothes cleaner. We've been told time and again to wash your clothes only when you have a full batch. We have taken this to the extreme. Clothes should be able to move about freely with water and detergent suspending them so the dirt particals are removed. If your batch is too large for this to occur, you need to do 2 batches of clothes.
1. Whites: Wash white clothes separately. Wash similarly soiled clothes together. For example, do not wash a white shirt with dirty athletic socks.
2. Add enough soap to suspend the dirt in the water. It is estimated less than 50% of consumers read the labels on laundry products. Read them. Depending on your washer, load of clothing, and fabric, you could be using too much or too little detergent. Either too much or too little could prevent you from getting your clothes as clean as possible.
3. Use hot water and enzyme remover to remove stains from whites.
4. Oxygen based bleach is better for whites, chlorine bleach can yellow polyester.
5. Dark colors: Use cold water to help prevent fading of colors.
6. When using cold water, use liquid detergent, not powders as they may not dissolve.
7. Spray a solution of 50% water, 50% vinegar on underarms of shirts and t-shirts to prevent yellowing and "funky" smell on polyesters.
8. Zip zippers and wash clothes inside out to prevent abrasions and wear on clothing.
9. Sort similar weight clothes together so they dry at approximately the same time (avoids shrinkage).
10. Wash towels separately to avoid the lint from attaching to your other clothes.
11. If clothes fade onto other clothes, do not dry them as it will set the stain. Separate them and rewash using the Rit Color Remover.
12. Dishwasher detergent has phosphates in it (helps prevent spread of germs on dishes). However, phosphates promote algae in lakes and other bodies of water, so this is not a particularly "green" stain remover. It is however, very effective. If you have seriously stained clothing, dishwasher soap may help. Test first as it may fade colored clothes.
12. Use toothbrush and oxygen based stain remover to get rid of "ring around the collar".

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