Cleaning Laundry Tips
Laundry and Stain Removal Tips
We all love wearing and enjoying the smell of clean clothes but for many people, the sheer quantity, and hassle of stains makes it a daunting task.
If laundry is a part of your responsibility, you probably have questions just like most people as to the appropriate methods and products. Probably the most important thing to remember is reading labels.
Since some clothing items need to be dry-cleaned, these would require special care that your local dry cleaner can manage but there are products available where you can freshen up your dry clean clothes in between cleanings.
If your laundry is machine or hand washable, then you have the task of determining the best method of cleaning.
Step by Step Tips For Doing the Laundry
Doing laundry is a common household chore that involves washing clothes, drying clothes, and sometimes folding or ironing clothes to keep them clean and fresh.
Separate the laundry into different piles based such as: dark clothes, light colored clothing items, delicate clothing items, and hand wash only clothing.
You will also want to separate delicate fabrics from other fabrics and separate those in piles based on color.
Check the labels on your clothes to know how you need to wash and dry clothing.
Washing Laundry in the Washing Machine
Adjust water temperature (see below for more details) and load size settings based on the laundry you are washing. Select the appropriate wash cycle based on the clothes you are washing such as: regular, delicate wash setting, heavy duty, etc.
Add detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use more or less detergent depending on the size of the load and how soiled the clothes are.
Make sure you do not overload the washer. Clothes need room to move for effective cleaning.
Drying the Laundry
If you treated clothing items for stains, be sure the stain is completely gone before putting it in the dryer. Sometimes, when the fabric is still wet, it can be harder to tell on darker clothing items if the stain is gone, let these air dry until you know the stain is gone. And don’t forget to make sure the lint filter is clean before each load you’re drying.
Transfer clothes from the washing machine to the dryer as soon as you can. Select the appropriate drying cycle based on fabric type such as: low heat for delicate items and higher heat for towels.
If possible, it is best to remove clothes that are dry promptly to prevent wrinkles by either folding or hanging clothes. Set aside clothes that need to ironed.
Remember to follow the specific instructions on your washing machine and detergent labels for the best results. Additionally, always be mindful of water and energy conservation while doing laundry by using the appropriate settings for your loads.
Water Temperature Counts
The first of several laundry cleaning tips is to learn proper water temperature which we’ll go over below. It’s also important to know that the lower the water temperature, you may need to use more detergent as it may not perform as well.
Using Hot Water to Wash Clothes
The hot water is typically 130°F to 140°F. Hot water is best for heavily soiled whites, linens, cotton bedding, towels, cloth diapers, socks and underwear. Hot water is effective at removing grease, oil, and tough stains. It also helps sanitize, kill bacteria and allergens.
In most cases, the hotter the water the cleaner the clothing will get but not all fabrics should be washed in hot water. On the other hand, hot water can cause dark colors, or multi-colored fabrics to bleed while some would shrink or wrinkle.
Hot water is not suitable for delicate or bright-colored items.
Washing Clothes with Warm Water
Warm water runs between 90°F to 110°F. Warm water is probably the most common water temperature used and it is best when washing most everyday laundry, including colored clothes and synthetic fabrics. Warm water is effective at removing dirt and stains, and it’s gentler on fabrics than hot water.
When washing items such as jeans or any denim, along with permanent press, warm water is best. The benefit of using warm water when washing laundry is a good clean action without causing problems like bleeding, shrinkage, or wrinkling. The cons of warm water is it may not be as effective on heavy stains, and some delicate items may still need cold water.
Washing Laundry Using Cold Water
Cold water runs between 68°F to 80°F. Cold water is best for brightly colored clothes, dark fabrics, delicate items, dresses, blouses, lingerie, undergarments, and clothes that might shrink in hot water. Cold water also prevents color fading, reduces the risk of shrinking, and is more energy-efficient.
And it’s also important to note that not all stains respond well with hot water. Blood and sweat or perspiration stains will set in the fabric and become permanent if washed in hot water, on the other hand, cold water may not be as effective at removing tough stains, grease, or allergens as hot or warm water. Use a good-quality detergent designed for cold water washes. In most cases, the label will tell you when cold water should be used. Cold water also saves energy.
Remember When Washing Laundry
- Always check the care labels on your clothing to see if there are specific water temperature recommendations.
- Consider using a cold water wash for most of your laundry to save energy and preserve colors.
- Use a high-efficiency (HE) detergent if you have a front-loading or HE washing machine, as they are designed to work best with cold water.
Laundry Stain Removal
Part of washing clothing and other items is getting rid of stains, which can happen every day, especially if you have young kids in the house. In this section, we wanted to provide you with some great methods for getting out some of the most common of stains.
It’s also important to note, do not put any stained item in the dryer until you are sure the stain is gone or you risk a permanent stain.
Removing Ink Stains
Removing ink stains from clothes can be challenging, but it’s possible with the right techniques and quick action. The sooner you treat the stain, the better the odds of it being successfully removed.
- Place a clean cloth or paper towel under the stained area to prevent the ink from spreading to a clean area of the fabric.
- Dampen a cotton ball or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and gently blot the ink stain. Do not rub; blotting helps lift the ink without spreading it.
- Continue to blot until no more ink is transferred.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Use a small amount of mild liquid detergent and gently rub the stained area using a toothbrush or your fingers.
- Rinse and assess the stain.
If any stain remains, try regular strength hydrogen peroxide (3%). This is suitable for white and colorfast fabrics.
- Pour some over the stained area.
- Cover the stain (hydrogen peroxide turns to water if exposed to light for too long).
- Let sit for an hour and check the stain.
- Repeat if necessary.
- Rinse with cold water.
If there is still color remaining pre-treat as usual before washing.
How to Get Rid of Coffee Stains
For fresh coffee stains run cold water over the stain for a few minutes until it’s gone. If you happen to be wearing the item and can’t take it off to rinse it out then use a wet clean towel or paper towel and dab the stain until it’s gone.
If the coffee stain has dried, using your fingers try rubbing liquid laundry detergent or liquid dish soap over the stain and work it in, let it sit a few minutes then rinse with cold water. Repeat if needed. If some stain remains try soaking in vinegar.
How to Remove Egg Stains
For egg stains, be sure to use cold water for removing the stain since warm or hot water will actually cause the egg to cook, making it more difficult to remove.
From the backside of clothing, rinse under a heavy stream of water. Pour liquid laundry detergent over the stain then gently use a clean soft bristled toothbrush to work detergent in, let sit about five minutes. Leave the detergent on the item and wash as usual.
Cleaning and Removing Blood Stains
A blood stain is organic and is full of proteins, proteins that if washed or rinsed in hot water will set the stain. So always wash in cold water. Run a good stream of cold water and rinse from the backside of the fabric until either you have completely removed the stain or nothing more can be rinsed out.
If you cannot rinse under running water, use an absorbent paper towel and blot up as much of the blood as possible. Then with another piece of paper towel, wet with cold water and blot at the stain.
When you are ready to wash the item, pre-treat and wash in cold water. Do not put anything in the dryer until you’re sure the stain has been removed or you risk a permanent stain.
Removing Chocolate Stains
In most cases, chocolate stains can simply be pre-treated and laundered as usual. They look worse than they really are. But if you rinse and the chocolate stain is not removed you can mix borax with cold water to form a paste, and let sit on the stain for 1 hour before laundering again.
How to Remove Red Wine Stains
Red wine stains can be hard to remove if you don’t act quickly.
- Blot the red wine stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much liquid as possible. Do not rub the stain or it can spread.
- If possible, take the clothing item off and rinse under cold water to flush the wine out.
- There are many wine stain removers that work great like: Wine Away or Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover. If you drink wine, these might be something to keep on hand.
- If you don’t have a commercial product on hand, after rinsing the item, sprinkle the stain with enough salt or baking soda to cover the area and gently work it in then let sit for a few minutes.
- Rinse and see how the stain looks.
- If a stain remains, try using a mild liquid detergent. Gently work into the stain and allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Rinse and see how the stain looks.
- If a bit of color remains, try using hydrogen peroxide as mentioned above for removing an ink stain.
When the stain has been removed wash as usual.
Removing Stains from Delicate Items
While many delicates can safely be washed in the washing machine on a delicate or hand wash setting there are some items that will specifically need to be hand washed or taken to a professional.
Before washing any delicates, read the care label as that is the best place to learn how to clean them, if in doubt – hand wash. Avoid harsh stain removers and opt for using natural products like white vinegar, Ivory soap or baking soda.
Always dab stain removers and be gentle, some items may require more time such as lace. When you are ready to wash, sort by colors and fabric type, be sure to snap or close metal closures to avoid snags. Turn the item you are washing inside out and some items may need to go in a mesh wash bag. Use a low spin cycle and most often they will need to lay flat on a clean towel to dry.
Laundry does not have to become a guessing game. By reading labels and following some easy guidelines, you can enjoy sweet-smelling clothes that look and feel great. With so many different foods and substances that cause staining, it is easy to see why this has become such a problem. However, you can have clean clothing once you know how.
Keep in mind that the number one tip for clean clothes is to pre-treat stains as soon as possible. If the stain is deeply set or had gone unnoticed for quite some time, you will need a bit more work and possibly soak the garment overnight.
Finally, unless the stain problem has been resolved, do not put anything in the dryer. What happens is that the heat of the dryer will actual set a stain. Therefore, once it has been dried, chances of getting the stain out completely will be tough.