Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

You’re Buying Your Sheets Wrong. We’re Here To Help.

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Consider this the Martha Stewart equivalent of finding out Santa isn’t real, or that SPF 100 really won’t work. You ready for this?

A higher thread count doesn’t mean you’re buying a better quality sheet. Yes, higher does NOT mean better.

Believe us, we were as shocked as you. We wanted to get to the bottom of this misconception — obviously — so we spoke with Nancy Koltes, a luxury linens designer, and Shannon Maher, Assistant Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology Home Product Development Program who also has a background in bedding, to try to figure out this bed linen lie.

How did the misconception come about?

Thread count, which Maher defines as “the number of yarn per square inch” seems to have started as a pretty genius marketing idea.

“[It’s] an invention of the American market,” said Koltes. More specifically, thread count isn’t so much a “lie” as it is a falsified way to determine to the quality of sheets, especially when it’s used as the only way to determine quality. Just as we attach labels like “low-fat” and “organic” to food, linen retailers extended this to luxury linens in the mid-1990s, Koltes explains. By the early 2000s, the “thread count lie” had reached new levels when the first 1,000-plus thread count linens were introduced. “It’s just all promotional. Thread count doesn’t represent quality,” Koltes says. Nevertheless, it seems to have stuck with customers.

Well, what should we do instead?

Instead of relying on thread count alone when trying to purchase an excellent sheet, consider these other factors as well:

Fiber: According to Maher, the majority of fibers that make up sheets are cotton and you should look for a longer fiber. “Longer fiber is ideal, because when you spin the yarn, it gives it strength, which means less pilling.” Egyptian cotton, which Koltes says is basically the standard of excellence, has a long fiber. Other good high-quality fiber options to look for are pima and supima, organic cotton, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester and even bamboo.

Weave: According to Real Simple, the weave of your sheet “affects the way a sheet feels, the way it looks, its longevity, and its price.” There are many different kinds of weaves, but “a percale weave is the most prominent,” says Maher. “It’s a balanced weave, sort of like a basket weave, and it is a crisper or cooler feel.” Maher said another common choice is a sateen weave, which “has a bit of a softer feel to it, and a little warmer than percale.”

Numbers aren’t everything: Even if a sheet has a high thread count, that can be inflated by manipulating the sheet-making process with a low-quality construction or thread. As a general rule, buy above a 200-thread count sheet, and know that anything over an 800-thread count really doesn’t matter.

To help protect consumers from inflated thread counts, the Federal Trade Commission does its best to crack down on deceptive techniques and technology designed to increase thread count, as well as deceptive advertising and marketing.

Location, location, location: Not all thread is created equal. In an interview with New York Magazine, Amanda Mettler, a textile buyer for Gracious Home, said “I can guarantee a 200 thread count from Italy is better quality than a 1,000 thread count from Pakistan.” France and Italy are regarded as some of the best sheet-makers in the business, even though the fiber they use isn’t always from those particular countries (such as Egyptian cotton).

Price matters: Maher is quick to remind people that “price and quality definitely go together. Bed Bath & Beyond or a Target 700-thread-count sheet is not really going to be the best quality.”

Finish is everything: Most sheets are “finished” with chemical processes to keep them from wrinkling or shrinking (look for words like “shrinkage control”). Though it’s nice not to have wrinkly sheets, try looking for organic cotton which should be chemical-free.

So just remember…

Buying the right sheets is a balancing act. For additional linen help, consult our handy-dandy buying guide to finding the best sheets for your budget or use this little trick to turn your bed into a luxurious hotel room.

 

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/thread-count-does-not-matter_n_6121180.html
By: Carly Ledbetter

 

How to Store Your Clothes Properly

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Are you tired of seeing your clothes piled up on the bedroom chair? Do you wonder why your garments require ironing every time you put them on? Better yet, have you ever stretched out your favorite sweater by hanging it? If so, it’s high time for you to learn how to fold and hang your clothes — the right way.

Properly storing your threads will keep them looking their best and extend their “shelf life,” and allow you to maximize your closet space.

The first step is determining which items in your wardrobe should be hung and which should be folded.

what you should fold

  • Fold your sweaters (especially the heavier ones), T-shirts and underwear.
  • Knitwear: If hung, knitted garments will likely stretch eventually.
  • Garments made from stretchy fabrics such as spandex and nylon, to make sure they maintain their original shape.
  • Relatively fine or delicate articles of clothing.

folding tips

Everyone has their own secret technique when it comes to folding shirts, but in the end, it doesn’t matter what a T-shirt or sweater looks like once it’s sitting in a drawer.

The technique you use to fold your garments isn’t so important. Some prefer to fold their sweaters in half before folding the sleeves in; others prefer to start by folding the sleeves and then folding the sweater in half. Either way doesn’t make much of a difference.

What is important is that your garment must be flat and wrinkle-free before you start folding it, and the fabric must remain nicely spread out throughout the folding process. By doing so, you’ll keep your garments free of creases and will therefore get to skip out on ironing before wearing them.

Where shape is concerned, some prefer to fold their garments in a perfect square while others prefer a rectangular shape. Just keep in mind that a rectangular fold will help you maximize deeper storage spaces while a square fold is more practical for spaces with minimal depth.

extra folding tips

Mix it up. Once in a while, try to alternate the way you fold your garments in order to prevent creases from setting in permanently.

Make smaller piles. Avoid piling up too many sweaters or T-shirts in order to reduce the strain on those at the bottom of the pile. The extra weight might emphasize the creases in the garments and might even cause them to set in permanently.

Use tissue. If you’re a perfectionist, then you might want to place a thin layer of white tissue between folds to help prevent creasing. Because this technique is rather time-consuming and costly, it’s usually limited to retail stores.

Stay organized. Always try to keep your closet neatly organized. Separate your Ts from your long-sleeve knits, and your heavyweight sweaters from your lighter ones. It will make choosing what to wear for that hot date that much easier.

What you must hang, and how to do it…

what you should hang

  • Pants, with the exception of pajamas, track pants and sweat pants.
  • Suits and items like button-down shirts, blazers and overcoats.

hanging tips

When hanging your garments, make sure that they are evenly spaced out and easily accessible. They should drape naturally rather than be bunched up together; this will prevent them from creasing and allow the air to circulate for proper ventilation.

Shirts
When hanging a shirt, make sure it’s completely buttoned up in order to keep the collar in place and prevent the neckline from creasing, and in some cases, getting distorted. (In the instance where a shirt doesn’t button up all the way to the top, you can always use a safety pin to hold the collar in place.)

For heavier shirts, consider crossing the sleeves around and over the hanger to prevent the sleeves from stretching.

Pants
Always remember to remove your belt from your slacks before hanging them; this will prevent the waistline from distorting.

Next, fold your slacks along the pants’ natural creases, so that both legs of the slacks lie flat against one another (parallel); make sure any pleats are folded down. You can use a hanger with clamps or slide the slacks onto a trouser rod or regular hanger.

Note: Hangers with clamps or grip clips will make your life easier and help you maximize your closet space. If you use regular hangers instead, you might want to consider those with non-slip rubber to prevent the slacks from slipping off.

choosing the best hangers

Plastic tubular hangers are known to offer minimal support and should be used for lighter items such as button-down shirts.

Padded, shaped and traditional suit hangers are best for jackets, suits, thin shirts (i.e. linen), and tailored garments. The bigger the hanger, the more support your clothes receive, thereby helping to prevent unsightly creases.

Wardrobe valets are also great for hanging suits, but they are rather expensive and will take up a lot of wardrobe space.

Try to avoid wire hangers altogether — you know, those you get from your local dry cleaner. When used to hang pants, they can create a crease right at your pants’ thigh level. They can also rust and may eventually stain your clothing.

You can also find various types of practical hangers made especially for hanging belts and ties.

more storing tips…

Empty your pockets. Remember to remove everything from your pockets, as some bulky items could distort a garment’s shape.

Air out your garments. Before hanging or folding your clothes, make sure they are completely dry to prevent mildew from building up. As well, if you were hanging out in a smoky club, it’s a good idea to let your clothes air out before storing them away (no one wants a smoke-infested closet).

Do it right away. You should also get into the habit of hanging and folding your clothes as soon as you get undressed, unless they need to be aired out (see above).

Don’t hesitate to ask. Finally, if you don’t know how to store a new garment, simply ask the salesperson for advice.

 

Source: http://www.askmen.com/fashion/fashiontip_100/143_fashion_advice.html
written by : Chris Rovny

Does thread count really matter in sheets?

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

There are a few factors that should be thought of when deciding to purchase a good pair of sheets. Does Thread count really mater? Learn more below!

“Thread count is an overrated issue when considering sheets. Quality of cotton is far more important. More cotton does not mean a better sheet. When considering new sheets, always look for the type of cotton used. Egyptian cotton or U.S.-grown Pima cotton yield a smoother, softer end result — and the contact with the body is an important point to consider. If you buy a good-quality Italian linen, such as Frette, 200-300 count is a very good guide to follow. They will last the distance and you will sleep in luxury. So quality over quantity; it’s a good principle to follow for everything.”
— Phillip Silver (www.bigelowsilver.com)

“My idea of a perfect night’s sleep is sleeping on freshly pressed 600-thread-count Egyptian cotton sateen sheets. A good set of these sheets may be more expensive, but they will last a long time. You can buy a lower thread count, but it truly is about having the Egyptian cotton in the sateen finish. And the ultimate luxury is having your sheets laundered. To me, it feels like I’m going to a very exquisite hotel when I slip into my freshly laundered bed. I typically purchase my sheets at Williams-Sonoma Home. I’m a white-sheet-and-duvet-cover type of gal, but they offer some beautiful colors and styles. They also have great service and know their product.”
— Amy Weaver (www.amyweaverdesign.com)

“While the idea of thread count plays a part in luxury bedding, there are many other factors that can dictate the comfort of a sheet. For starters, the ply. There can be a 1,200 thread count — but is it a 600 double-ply or a 1,200 single-ply? The durability will be in the double-ply count, as the single will be thinner and more delicate. Next, consider the cotton itself, which is very important. Egyptian cotton is breathable and absorbent. Pima cotton is more durable and will hold up to family use. And then there’s the weave. For a very silky feel, a percale weave is best. If you are looking for a fluffy and warm feel, as on a flannel sheet, choose a twill weave. For the most luxurious feel, go with a sateen weave, which places most of its threads on its surface, allowing for a light and silky feel. On most of my projects, I use custom bedding from C&C Milano. For those who don’t mind ironing, they have 100 percent linen sheets; but they also have wonderful cotton and cotton linen blends for easier care.”
— Geoffrey de Sousa (www.geoffreydesousa.com)

Stain Removal

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Whether it’s a new or well-worn, treasured garment, everyone hates to have clothing stains. We understand, and will always use our best efforts to make clothing stains go away. Sometimes it’s pretty easy – sometimes not. Either way, we have the professional expertise to do the job.

Successful removal of clothing stains depends largely on the nature of the stain, the type of fabric, and the colorfastness of the dye. Some fabrics and dyes simply will not withstand the use of cleaning or stain removal agents. Some stains, like ink and dried paint for example, can be impossible to remove. “Miracle” stain removers – guaranteed to remove clothing stains – are pretty much just that. It would be a miracle if they did the job.

Help Us Help You with Clothing Stains

Bring a stained garment to us as soon as possible to prevent the stains from setting. Show us the location of clothing stains (see “invisible stains”) and tell us any removal procedures you may have attempted before turning to us for help.

Never put a garment away for the season without it being cleaned. Every year we see garments that weren’t dirty “when I put it away for summer,” only to be taken out in the fall full of little holes and stains. The smallest unseen food crumb or spillage invites insect damage.

Don’t iron stained or soiled clothes trying to get just one more wearing out of them. Ironing dirty clothes will set stains and drive soil deeper into the fabric. Not good.

If You Must Do Something Before We Get Your Stains

Never rub clothing stains. Blot the stained area. This may help remove some of the staining substance while avoiding damage to the fabric.

“But It Wasn’t Stained When I Brought It In”

Some clothing stains caused by beverages, food, or oily substances may not be visible after they dry. But later, with exposure to heat or simply the passage of time, a yellow or brownish stain will appear. This is the end result of oxidation or caramelization of sugar or sweetening agents. It is the same process that makes a peeled apple turn brown after exposure to air. If we don’t know about it we can’t fix it, so let us know if you spilled something.

White Turns Yellow

This problem arises when white and pastel fabrics begin to yellow. When this happens, a little investigative work typically reveals a manufacturer defect in the optical or fluorescent whitening agent applied to the fabric. When this agent begins to break down as the result of exposure to light, atmospheric gases, or drycleaning or washing solutions, yellowing results. The problem cannot be corrected and can only be prevented by the manufacturer using stable brighteners.

Consumer-Related Sources Of Discoloration Stains

Perspiration – Body oils, antiperspirants, or perspiration left long enough on silk and wool garments will weaken the fabric. Frequently cleaning clothes heavily soiled with perspiration can lessen the likelihood of a problem.

Acids – Perspiration, deodorant, antiperspirant, even “all natural organic” products, fruit juice, or hair preparations can cause a change or loss of color along with weakening the fabric.

Alcohol – Perfume, cologne, skin freshener, aftershave, hair spray, medicine, and adult beverages can cause permanent stains or color loss.

Bleach – Home bleach, hair care products, disinfectant, skin lotion, acne preparations, whitening toothpaste, medicine, cleaning products, office supplies, and other such items can cause a change or loss of color or fabric weakening depending on the dye and fabric.

Alkaline Substances – Cleaning products, toothpaste, soap, detergents, shampoo, and skin preparations can also cause problems that may not appear until the stained area has aged or the item is exposed to heat during a cleaning process.

Salt – Perspiration, beverages and food, medicine, even wintry street gutter splash or snow removal slush can result in a change in color on wool fabrics.

Hair Preparations – Permanent wave solution or other hair care products can result in a change in color. This type of staining is easily recognized by the location in the neckline, shoulder, or back of a garment.

 

source: Clothing Stains

What are the Benefits of Dry Cleaning?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

When the label says Dry Clean Only, people generally follow suit, but may not understand why it’s so important! Dry cleaning will keep your clothes looking their best. Here are some the benefits of dry cleaning over machine/hand washing:

1. Less abrasive than machine washing and the solvent used is easy on your clothes. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

2. No water is used, so it won’t run colors and shrink fabric. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

3. Saves you time – no more ironing, folding, and hanging stages. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

4. Ensures that particular fabrics like wool are handled appropriately to avoid damage. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

5. Eliminates certain types of odors, even if the smell has been present for a long time. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

6. Removes stains. Learn more about dry cleaning San Jose Laundry Care Express.

Another time-saving benefit of Laundry Care Express: order by 10 AM, and your dry-cleaned and laundered (“fluff and fold”) items will be delivered the next business day.

Dry cleaning will keep your clothes looking their best. Click here to read some benefits of dry cleaning over machine/hand washing.

Does It Matter What Laundry Detergent I Use?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Actually, yes, it does matter which laundry detergent you buy. While the difference between brands doesn’t matter much in the end, certain choices can have a serious impact. Most concerns depend on your needs.

Detergents with Fragrances Irritate Sensitive Skin

Detergents come with all sorts of scents, so you want to pick one you like—unless you have sensitive skin. Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey explains:

People with sensitive skin should avoid laundry detergents with fragrance because fragrances are common skin allergens. For people with sensitive skin I recommend All Free and Clear and Cheer Free. Some natural cleaning ingredients like citrus and lavender can be allergens too. Fabric softeners and antistatic drier sheets are loaded with fragrance and should be avoided. To remove all detergent residue from washed clothing I tell my sensitive skin patients to rinse their cloths twice and avoid packing the washer too full because clothes in an over full washer are not rinsed as well.

This same advice generally applies to parents with young children, as babies tend to have sensitive skin and may react negatively to the aforementioned allergens.

Some Detergents Remove Stains Better

Most people don’t test every detergent or severely stain their clothes in time for every load, so real-world experience provides very little information in regards to stain-lifting power. Fortunately, other people independently test this sort of thing so we can find out what works best. Our friends over at the Sweethome make a researched argument on behalf of Tide:

Tide simply scores the best in testing from trusted sources, whether as a powder, liquid or pod. That’s why the obvious choice is Tide’s Ultra HE Vivid Bright + White.Consumer Reports had the most comprehensive tests. Tide’s Ultra HE Vivid Bright + White was the only one to be ranked “excellent” in warm/hot and even cold water cleaning, and it swept the “blood,” “grass” and “ring around the collar” tests. Only 3 other kinds of detergent, out of dozens, could say the same. It earned a final score of 82/100, making it the best in CR’s findings among any type or brand of detergent.

The Sweethome found that Good Housekeeping and other sources agreed: Tide does the best job regardless of the form it comes in.

DIY Detergent Works Well Enough

While Tide sits atop the throne in stain-lifting power, it also happens to cost more than a handful of options—especially those of the DIY variety. If you want to save a bunch of money and make your own laundry soap, it’ll compete admirably against your average consumer products. Blogger Liz Marie made her own detergent, used it for a year, and loved the results:

[A year ago] I made my very first batch of DIY laundry soap. I had researched it online before I made it & combined a few different recipes that I had found to make my own laundry detergent. I really didn’t think that it would last me a year like the posts I read had said, but it did & I loved it along the way! It got me through countless dirty baseball uniforms, stinky gym clothes, paint messes, military uniforms, & stains of all sorts.

You can find her recipe and more about her experiences here. We’ve also noted a few options in the past, like this simple recipe and a phosphate-free option.

Choose High-Efficiency Detergent for High-Efficiency Washers

This should go without saying, but if you have a high-efficiency washer you should use a high-efficiency (HE) detergent. HE options produce fewer suds and make it easier for HE machines to rinse out the soap. In most cases, it’ll clean just as well as regular detergent so you can use it in anything. Basically, you can always buy HE detergent for any washer but do not buy standard detergent for an HE washer.

Note: The Tide detergent recommended earlier is a high-efficiency soap. 

You Need Less Than You Think

Many people overuse their laundry detergent, but a small amount goes a long way. Furthermore, if you pack your washer pretty full you run the risk of trapping detergent on your clothing. That’s especially bad for people with sensitive skin and nothing positive for the rest of us, either. The New York Times explains why we should cut down on our soap usage

“Nobody thinks they use too much soap,” said Vernon Schmidt, who has been a repairman for almost 35 years and is the author of a self-published book, “Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even a Man Can Understand.” But apparently most of us are in denial.

Washing machines and dishwashers are made to use far less water now than older models and, therefore, need less soap. And detergents have also become increasingly concentrated. So a little goes a long way.

“Most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of soap they need, and they’re pouring money down the drain,” Mr. Schmidt said.

In the end, you don’t have to make as many choices as the store shelves tend to imply. If you need a detergent for sensitive skin, buy one. If you need stain-lifting power, Tide currently wins on that front. If you don’t, you can save a bunch of money making it yourself. Regardless of what you pick, don’t overuse it and your laundry will come out nice and fresh.

Click here to read more from Adam Dachis

Winter laundry tips and tricks

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

While the weather outside is frightful, your style can still be delightful. This winter, don’t sacrifice warmth or style — just follow these tips and tricks on how to best care for winter fabrics, so you can leave the house feeling warm, cozy and fashionable.

* Stay warm in winter wools. Soften rough fabrics by washing clothes with Ultra Downy Free & Sensitive, a liquid fabric softener that is free of dyes and perfumes and provides outstanding softening and cleaning;

* Don’t get bent out of shape. Woolen fabrics will hold their shape best if laid flat to dry;

* Turn out those pockets. Be sure to clean your winter jacket pockets of tissues and lip balm before loading into the washing machine;

* Never neglect your accessories. Mittens, hats and scarves need to be washed just as often as our other clothing;

* Keep fleece fluffy. Wash fleece clothing inside-out and machine-dry on low to keep it soft and prevent pilling;

* Check it twice: Be sure to consult laundry care labels on all clothing, remember — different fabrics need different care.

More laundry tips and tricks can be found online at www.tide.ca.

5 Ways to Have Wrinkle-Free Clothes Without Ironing

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Sometimes we don’t always have access to an iron to get our clothes looking perfect, here are some ways around that tricky situation.

Shower steam: While you’re taking a shower, hang your clothes up on the shower rod, so the steam will straighten out the clothes. Make sure the bathroom door is properly closed, so steam can’t escape. It takes at least 15 minutes for the steam to uncrinkle the folds in your clothes, so you might want to only use this method when you’re taking a long, hot shower.

Wrinkle-removing sprays: There are a couple of wrinkle-removing sprays on the market, and one of the more popular ones is the Downy Wrinkle Releaser ($16). Spray it on your clothes and smooth it out while it’s damp, and you’ll see the wrinkles magically disappearing. Works best on cotton-blend fabrics. Be careful when spraying on fragile fabrics like silk as it may leave water spots. Always do a patch test before spraying.

Blow-dry: Dampen the wrinkled areas with water, and then gently blow-dry it it on low heat. Hold it about two inches away from your clothing, so it won’t overheat the fabric.

Hang your clothes right after doing laundry: Take your clothes out from the dryer as soon as you can and fold them or hang them to put in your closet. This will help keep wrinkles to a minimum.

Tumble dry: Spray water on your clothes so that they’re slightly damp, and then put the items in the dryer on low heat setting for about 15 minutes. Instead of spraying water on your clothes, you can also toss a damp sock into the dryer instead. Be sure to hang your clothes immediately after you take them out of the dryer.

 

Click here to read more by by Emily Co

Did you know?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Tops of two-piece outfits are usually the first to go to the cleaners, mostly due to odors and sweat stains. But sending tops and bottoms out separately can cause a disparity in the fabric, says Johnson. The item that’s more frequently dry-cleaned can become lighter in color than its mate. Always dry-clean both pieces together to keep the color consistent.

 

 

 

 

How to Sew a Button Easily

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We all have that one favorite shirt or jacket that is missing a button in our closet. Here’s how to remedy that situation and fix it without having to pay someone else.

1. Take twelve inches of thread, knotted securely at one end, and thread your needle. Make a single stitch in the shirt in line with the row of buttons, about ⅛ inch long, and then make another stitch perpendicular to the first.

2. Hold the button about ⅛ inch away from the shirt and thread the needle up through one hole in the button and down the diagonally opposite hole. Do the same with the other holes and then repeat four times.

3. Wrap the thread tightly around the ⅛-inch shank that has been created between the button and the cloth to create a tight pillar.

4. Push the needle through this pillar a few times and cut the thread close to it.

5. Button up.

Eco-friendly Laundry Tips

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Small changes can add up over time. When you wash clothes, be energy smart with these laundry tips:

  • Wash full loads. It saves water, energy and time.
  • Pay attention to the amount of detergent you use. Too much detergent reduces a washer’s efficiency and dumps more pollutants into local ecosystems. Always read and follow the directions on your detergent box.
  • Wash clothes assembly line style. When you use the residual heat in your dryer from the previous load to help start a new load, you save energy. So get in the habit of washing multiple loads sequentially. Pull one load out of the dryer (to fold elsewhere), and then put a new, wet load in right away.
  • Use timed drying. Timed dryer settings are convenient and eco-friendly, so be sure to match the drying time to the load every time you dry clothes. For instance, nylon underwear dries faster than, say, a load of denim jeans.
  • Wear your clothes more than once. You may change your clothes every day, but that doesn’t mean you have to wash all of your garments after a single wearing. It’s a good bet that many of the outer garments you throw in the laundry through habit aren’t dirty at all. They may just need a few minutes in the dryer to get creases or wrinkles out.

credit: howstuffworks

Your Measuring Cups Are Wrong

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Consumer Reports has found in its tests that liquid detergent measuring cups are often impossible to read, leading to overdosing of detergents, which itself can leave detergent residues that make your clothes look dingy.

They suggest marking the fill line with a permanent marker so it’s easy to see. And when it comes to actual amounts, follow your machine manufacturer’s recommendations, not the detergent manufacturer’s. “The manufacturer wants you to use as much detergent as possible,” he says, but they don’t know what kind of washing machine you have.

Also, the softness or hardness of your water affects how much detergent you need to use. Soft water usually requires less detergent, Green says, while hard water usually requires the full amount. If you have hard water, Green also suggests adding a water softener, such as baking soda, to help your soap dissolve. Start with equal parts detergent and baking soda, and then experiment from there.

Laundry Detergent Tips

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Before you add your clothes, add your detergent, allowing it to dissolve in the water fully before adding your clothes. Your soap will work more effectively and, if you’re using powdered laundry detergent, there’s less of a chance for powdery residue on your favorite black jeans.

Wash Clothes In Cold Water To Save Energy

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Heating water to do laundry is one of the largest users of energy in a typical home. So, switch to washing in cold water – it gets clothes just as clean as hot water, while using less energy and money.

Energy Star states that almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water. Switching from hot or warm water to cold water washing saves that energy. In fact, each household that makes the switch to cold-water washing eliminates about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to the Sierra Club.

But if the benefits are so obvious, why haven’t people made the switch before? Although cold water has long been used for certain garments, many people have assumed that only hot water could really get clothes clean. That’s just partly true.

cold water

Heat is one of three main ingredients in cleaning clothes – mechanical energy (in the form of your washing machine agitating clothes) and chemicals are the other two, according to a recent New York Times article. So, you can take out one of the ingredients as long as you improve the others, James Danzinger, a senior scientist who works on detergents for P&G, told the Times.

Cold-water specific detergents do just that. Whereas older soaps only worked well with hot water, new cleaning agents are chemically formulated for cold water. These cold-water detergents perform the same as or better than traditional detergents, as rated by Consumers Reports. In fact, P&G’s Tide Coldwater, one of many detergents specifically designed for cold water, is ranked above many regular detergents onConsumer Reports’ detergents list,.

Cold-water detergents also cost about the same as their warm-water competitors, with the additional benefit of reducing energy use by over three-quarters. This can add up to substantial savings every time you do laundry.

How To Remove Ink Stains

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Iodine is great for treating kids’ scrapes and cuts, but if it gets on clothes, the stains can be severe. Iodine is a dye, so you need to get to it quick and follow these steps to remove the stain.

How to remove iodine stains from clothing

  • Start by immediately flushing the stain in plenty of cold, running water.
  • Next, wash the clothing as per normal with washing powder or liquid – but don’t use bleach as it can set the stain.

How to remove iodine stains from non-washable fabrics

Use a sponge soaked in water to blot as much iodine from the fabric as possible. If the stain persists, seek professional help from a drycleaner.

How to remove iodine stains from carpets and furniture

  • Start by quickly blotting up as much of the stain as possible.
  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon mild dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water.
  • Working from the inside of the stain, gently apply the cleaning solution to the stain.
  • Blot with a dry cloth.
  • Continue, slowly and patiently applying and blotting until the stain is removed. Repeat if necessary.
  • Apply a few layers of white paper towel and weigh them down with a non-staining object. Leave overnight to dry, then vacuum to restore pile.

Stain remover notes

  • The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
  • Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
  • Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
  • Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
  • Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
  • Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
  • The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
  • If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
  • It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.

credit: kispot

How to Make White Socks White Again

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

If I didn’t know better I’d think my boys run around school all day without shoes. Every day I send them off with pristine white socks and every afternoon they come skidding through the door with socks that look like they’ve been through a war zone. Encrusted with dirt, sand, leaves and grass, they’re stiff with sweat and virtually walk their way to the laundry basket. Well, they would if the little blighters didn’t kick them off anywhere they felt like it.

But the thing is, I have a thing about their socks being super white. Not white with a hint of grey but that bluey, gotta wear sunnies white that make them look as if I just ripped the price tag off. Call me strange, tell me I have too much time on my hands if you will but white socks have got to be white. Which is why I have a Friday night ritual where I make White Sock Soup. While I wouldn’t recommend you drink the resulting stock it does keep their socks white and me happy. Try it and you’ll feel like you’re starring in your own laundry commercial in no time. Here’s the recipe…

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup (60g) soap flakes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • water

How to make White Sock Soup

  • Add the soap flakes to a large saucepan with the lemon. Keep the lemon whole – no need to squeeze the juice.
  • Next add the manky socks and enough water to cover.
  • Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to a simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Drain and marvel at the colour of the water before washing as normal. Hello white socks!

How to Cut Your Laundry Time in Half

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

With piles and piles of clothes to sort, soak, wash, hang and iron, a mum’s laundry is never done. It seems that as soon as it’s finished you need to start again. So when Shannon Lush, co-author of Speed Cleaning (ABC Books) promised to cut our laundry time in half, we let out an almighty cheer. Here are her top eight laundry-busting tips:

Set up a washing basket system

Shannon advises keeping three to five baskets or plastic crates in your laundry, marked with coloured ribbons, where family members can drop different types of clothes when they’re dirty. Mark each one as: whites; colourfast items; darks; sheets and towels and hand washing. “We keep a hamper in each bedroom and colour co-ordinated baskets in the laundry,” says Shannon. “When one of the baskets in the laundry is full, whoever is there puts a wash on. Then whoever is in there when it’s finished hangs it on the line. It’s a simple way for other people to help. I’m particular about my laundry, but anyone can do this.”

Turn socks the right way out

To save time re-washing socks that go into the machine inside out, train children and family members to turn them the right way around when taking them off. “If you don’t turn them the right way out, they get impregnated with dirt, as it gets stuck in the fibres. Not nice,” says Shannon.

Fit laundry around your daily routine

Shannon explains that one of her friends puts the washing on as she’s going to work and finishes the task when she walks back through the door. “Put the washing machine on as you head out of the door, and transfer the clothes to the dryer when you get home.”

Leave it in the machine

If you don’t empty the washing machine first thing (your two-year-old is decorating her face with lipstick and it’s time to exit) – don’t panic. You have a full 12 hours before that musty smell takes hold.

Great hanging means no ironing

Shannon says properly hung clothes mean no ironing. “When hanging your clothes, your mantra needs to be ‘I hate ironing’, ‘I hate ironing’ and then you’ll find you hang them much flatter. Peg clothes at the strongest part of the fabric – the waistband or seam – and never, ever hang shirts or jumpers by the shoulders.”

Spray and go

Try another Shannon speed cleaning tip with this amazing crease release mixture. “I never iron. I just mix a teaspoon of lavender oil – the cheapest kind available – in a litre of water and mist it over the clothes before wearing them or hanging them in the wardrobe. Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant, so the creases drop out. I always take a spray on book tours and it’s a great one to do on stage – you see the creases disappear before your eyes.”

Super-charge your iron

Another timesaving trick is to beef up your iron and halve your arm power. “If you absolutely have to iron, put some aluminium foil underneath the ironing board cover,” advises Shannon. “You get twice the heat, as it’s reflected back on to the clothes, and you don’t need the iron temperature so high, so you don’t risk burning your clothes.”

Beat dirty birds

If you’re freshly laundered clothes get soiled on the line with – ahem – bird poo, try this speedy hint to stop them at the pass. “This often affects people, depending on where they live and the trees surrounding their washing line,” explains Shannon. “Tying coloured ribbons to the washing line stops birds from hovering above.”

credit: kidspot

When To Wash It Laundry Guide

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Putting clothes in the washing machine too often can actually lessen the lifespan of your clothes — all that agitation breaks down the fibers and wears things out. But if excessive washing can ruin your clothes, then exactly how often should you wash bras, jeans, towels and other household items? Kidspot has put together this laundry guide to when you should wash it and when you should save yourself a little laundry time.

Laundry tip #1: Bras

When to wash them: After 3 to 4 wears

As bras don’t come into direct contact with your underarms, they can withstand a few wears and need only be washed after every third or fourth wear. TOP TIP: Bras ideally should be washed by hand. Hand wash your bras when you shower to save time. If you choose to machine wash them though, make sure the clips are fastened together so they can’t get caught in the lace or shred up the rest of your washing.

Laundry tip #2: Bath towels

When to wash them: Once or twice a week

There is a school of thought that says bath towels should be washed after every use because they harbor bacteria – but who has time for that amount of washing? Bath towels should ALWAYS be hung up to dry after every use as a damp towel is a breeding ground for bacteria and that dank, musty smell. Ideally, towels should make it into the washing machine at least once, if not twice a week. Use your nose to determine if they could do with a wash. Hand towels and face washers that are often left damp should be washed more regularly than bath towels – at least every couple of days. TOP TIP: If your bathroom is prone to mold, don’t store your dry clean towels in the vanity where they will also develop mold. Also, to sanitize your towels and make them smell fresh, add a little eucalyptus oil (just half a teaspoon) to the wash cycle.

Laundry tip #3: Jeans

When to wash them: After 4 to 5 wears

Washing your jeans too often can cause them to prematurely fade and fray (and not in the store-bought intended way). As denim is a great dirt concealer, you can get away with four to five wears before it’s time to toss your jeans in the wash. Kids jeans are another thing though – especially if they’ve been playing outside in the grass or mud!  Dirty jeans need prompt washing. TOP TIP: To keep your jeans looking like you just bought them, wash them in cold water and hang them inside out on the clothes line to dry so that they don’t fade.

Laundry tip #4: Pajamas

When to wash them: After 3 to 4 wears 

Icky fact: Our skin sheds thousands of skin cells all the time, so the PJs that you wear to bed are best washed after three or four wears — less if the pajamas belong to a sweaty bloke!  TOP TIP:  Shower before bedtime and you can get away with less laundry.

Laundry tip #5: Dress pants

When to wash them: After 4 to 5 wears

Dress pants that you wear to work are often made of stain-repelling synthetic blends so you can get away with washing them a bit less than you think. Modern synthetics can be washed after four or five wears, but check the care labels carefully as some fabrics stipulate dry-clean only, which usually means a rough machine wash can damage the fabric. TOP TIP: If the dress pants are part of suit, avoid one fading more than the other by dry-cleaning both pieces together.

Laundry tip #6: Bed sheets

When to wash them: Once a week or fortnight

Unless you have a bed-wetter in the house, bed-sheets can be washed once a week or even once a fortnight. The dead skin cells we all shed become dust mite food (yes, the average bed has anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites), so washing sheets is definitely a key laundry task to be tended to. TOP TIP: Washing your pillow every month is also important to disinfect and wash away dust mites. You can purchase dust mite proof covers for your mattress and pillows from department stores which will help to keep dust mites at bay.

Laundry tip #7: T-Shirts, camies and singlets

When to wash them: After every wear

Life is messy when you’re a mum and chances are your t-shirt is as filthy as your toddler’s at the end of the day! Wash everyday tops after each wear. Likewise, figure-hugging items like camies and singlets that absorb body sweat should be tossed in the dirty clothes basket at the end of the day too. TOP TIP : If you only wore these items for a few hours, then you can get away with a second wear.

Laundry tip #8: Swimwear

When to wash them: After every wear

Salt and chlorine will eat away at a swimsuit and cause it to lose shape, unless it is washed out properly after every wear. Hand wash your suit after swimming at the beach or in a pool and leave it to line-dry in the breeze. TOP TIP: To get longer life out of your swimsuit, wash it in cold water using a gentle detergent.

credit: kidspot

5 Reasons to Line Dry Your Washing

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

We have gadgets for all manner of domestic chores – imagine life without a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or washing machine? But while labour-saving gizmos have made our lives invariably easier, there is one chore that is still worth doing the old-fashioned way – hanging out the washing. Here’s 5 great reasons to ditch the clothes dryer, take advantage of the sunshine and line dry your laundry instead.

1) It saves money

Everyone knows that tumble dryers are notorious energy sappers, but did you know that they are the second biggest user of household electricity after the refrigerator? With the cost of electricity on the rise – the average New Zealand family is spending around $200 extra a year – it’s worth pulling the plug on this energy-draining appliance.

2) It’s better for your clothes

Line drying your threads will not only make them smell fresher and be cleaner too – the sun’s ultraviolet rays are an antiseptic which kills bacteria – but also last longer. Fabric that is tumble-dried wears more from the action of being spun. Tumble-dried clothes also produce lint, which means your clothes will not only be thinner but pillier too.

3) It’s better for the environment

An average tumble dry cycle uses just over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2. If all households with a tumble dryer hung up one load of washing outside each week, we would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year.

4) It’s better for you

There’s something therapeutic about hanging your clothes out on the line… you breath the fresh air, get a little exercise, have time to yourself and absorb a healthy dose of vitamin D – without spending enough time in the sun to get burnt. Even the rich and famous agree, “There is nothing that I love more than to take time to clear my head and hang the washing out on the line on a beautiful day,” Olivia Newton-John tells LineDryIt. “It makes your clothes and linens smell so good and it is very eco-friendly,” she says.

5) It just feels better

Lastly, there is something lovely about watching your clothes flap about in the breeze, knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet and saving money – it just makes you feel virtuous!

Credit: KidSpot

Removing Grass Stains From Clothes

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Grass stains will come out with prompt laundering and stain treatment. Some other techniques to remove grass stains include:

  • Rubbing alcohol – or methylated spirits or white spirits – can be a quick no-wash treatment for a grass stain, though such stain treatments can “bleed” the colours of the fabric, so it’s worth trying using a 50:50 alcohol and water solution first before moving on to straight alcohol.
  • If the clothing is white and can be bleached, using a chlorine bleach solution on the stain will work. Just be sure not to use too much bleach or you’ll damage the garment.
  • Soaking the stain in a solution of water and detergent is great – then wash the garment as usual, but don’t put the item in the clothes dryer until you’ve checked the stain has definitely gone.
  • When trying to eliminate grass stains, don’t use ammonia, degreaser or alkaline detergents because they may permanently set the stain.

credit: kidspot

Tips for Easier Laundromat Trips

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

There are ways to make trips to the laundromat or public laundry room easier and even less costly.

1. Sort Your Laundry At Home

If you sort your laundry at home, you’ll save time and have more work space than at the laundromat. Use pillowcases or different colored laundry bags for whites and dark clothes.

2. Take Your Own Detergent

Single-use detergent packs are expensive so take your own detergent and other products with you. Powdered detergents can be measured into small plastic bags and liquid products can go in a small plastic container with a tight lid. Or, you can opt for single load products like a gel-pac. They are bit more expensive but you’ll save by bringing them from home rather than purchasing at the laundromat.

3. Check the Washer and Dryer Before Using

Before you set something on top of the washer or dryer make sure the surface is clean. At best, you’ll get sticky detergent residue. At worst, you’ll find bleach that will ruin your clothes. Look inside, too. You never know what the last person had in the washer or dryer. Some one could leave a tube of lipstick in their pocket and then it gets left in the dryer or washer. Or, you may find leftover clothing. Just look before you load. If the appliance is stained, be a good Samaritan and clean it up or at least report the problem to the manager.

4. Use the Dryers Wisely

Before you start the dryer make sure the lint trap is clean. You’ll prevent fires and your clothes will dry faster. As you load the clothes into the dryer, fluff each piece of clothing by giving it a quick shake. They will dry more quickly and with less wrinkles. Be sure you get everything in the dryer before you start it up. Opening and closing the door loses heat and time.

credit: laundry.about

Remove the sweat stains

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

It’s hard not to sweat the second you step out in California’s hot heat. If your shirts are marked with sweat stains that won’t disappear after a regular machine wash then put these tricks to the test.

Baking soda

Create a stain-removing paste by mixing ¼ cups of warm water with four tablespoons of baking soda. Generously apply the paste to the stained area and lightly agitate the shirt with a soft white washcloth. Leave the paste to absorb for 30 minutes before rinsing and machine washing.

Aspirin

This aspirin concoction can help remove yellow stains from a white shirt. Crush two aspirin tablets and dissolve it in half a cup of warm water in a shallow bucket. Soak the shirt for two hours.

Salt

Also great for targeting yellow stains, add four tablespoons of salt to one litre of hot water. Rather than soaking the whole shirt, use a sponge to dab the solution onto the stained areas until they disappear.

Lemons

Thanks to their bleaching qualities, lemons work wonders on stained white shirts. Make a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water and gently scrub the affected area. Put the shirt into the washing machine for a final wash.

Vinegar

Vinegar will not only get rid of sweat stains, it will help remove the smell of them too. Pour a splash of white undistilled vinegar directly onto the underarm area and rub it into the shirt with a gentle white washcloth. Follow with a machine wash.

credit: homeheaven

An Ink Stain Removing Combo

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Who would have thought that the humble hand sanitize and a spritz of hairspray would be kryptonite to ink stains. Apply hand sanitize and hairspray to the stained area and leave it for 10 minutes. The ink will bleed out; wash as normal.

credit: homeheaven

 

Cut Dryer Sheets in Half and Reuse

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Dryer sheets do a pretty good job of reducing static cling on items in the dryer, plus they can add a bit of freshness to the smell of clothes and other articles.

Still, the cost of these sheets adds up. For “name brand” sheets, you’re going to be paying about five cents per sheet. For generic sheets, the cost goes down to about three cents. If you’re using a dryer sheet in each load and you average a load a day, that’s $11 to $18 a year in dryer sheet costs.

That’s an unnecessary expenditure, especially since dryer sheets have at least two uses in them and you can cut them in half and use each half separately. That creates four uses out of each dryer sheet, cutting the cost down to $2 to $4 per year, which saves you $9 to $14 over the year depending on your brand.

credit: thesimpledollar

Best Laundry Detergents

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Good Housekeeping took 74 formulas — 49 liquids, 19 powders, and six single-use tabs — for a spin to see how well they removed 20 common stains (oil, coffee, mascara…) from polyester and cotton to decided which are the best laundry detergents. Surprise: Powders packed the most power. For even better results on laundry day, be sure to check out our top washers.

– Unless noted, package size for powders is 48 to 56 ounces; for liquids, 50 to 64 ounces. Cost per load is based on our large, heavily soiled test load.

credit: goodhousekeeping