The first step to starting with washing is separating it according to colour and material. Why is this?
1. Colours can run
Ever thrown a red shirt in with a white one? I have… Dad didn’t appreciate wearing a pink business shirt to work! It wasn’t in back then, and he’s not a metro!
2. Whites can go grey
When a white shirt has been washed with black clothes or denims, they can turn grey.
3. Pilling is more noticeable
You can get white pilling on dark clothing and dark pilling on white. Your clothes look better and stay in better condition when washed with similar colours.
- Treat the stain ASAP – use a good stain remover and then pop it into a bucket to soak in soapy water for at least an hour before washing.
- Do NOT wash towels with anything else. Towels need to be washed and dried on their own.
Clothes can be ruined when thrown in with towels. They cause more pilling and lint than most other fabrics. Keep your clothes fluff free and avoid major pilling by washing them in a separate load.
- “Dry cleaning only” means exactly that!
Disaster strikes when dry cleaning only items are thrown into the washing machine.
- Divide your washing up into these groups: Whites, Brights, Lights (not bright but not white), Darks, Towels, Sheets.
- Machine wash your clothes inside-out to prevent pilling on the outside. Also, hang them up inside-out to prevent fading from the sun.
Whites: socks, white underwear, white shirts, pastel colours.
Brights: Bright red, blue, and green, but NOT YELLOW
Lights: Yellows, beiges, tans
Darks: Denim, blacks, dark browns
Towels: Tea towels, face washers, hand towels, bath towels
Sheets: Bed sheets and other linen
- If you have a delicate item, wash the whole group in a delicate cycle. They will still be clean, no matter what cycle is used.
- Make sure you have a full load before washing the clothes. This saves precious water supplies for more important things – like DRINKING!
- If you can, use the grey water coming out of your machine. We bought a hose to attach to the machine and let the gray water run onto our garden. Make sure your washing detergent specifies that it’s grey water safe. I use Earth Choice washing liquid because it is made from plant-derived ingredients.
Here are 3 cheaper and greener alternatives to using fabric softener… and they may also be more friendly to skin allergies in your family!
- Add a capful of Eucalyptus oil to your wash to help remove stubborn stains and add a nice aroma to your clothes.
- Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash.
- Add 1/2 cup of bicarb to your wash.
Instead of using washing powder, you can save money and the environment by using Soap Nuts. They are plant-based and excellent for those who suffer with skin problems from chemicals and perfumes. You use a few in a bag to wash with, and a few nuts last quite a few washes.
They are apparently good value for money and work quite well (I have never used them).
Don’t fold your clothes straight after ironing them! Let them hang or lay flat for an hour or so before folding them. If you don’t they will crease again and all your hard work will be undone.
Heat the iron to a medium heat, making sure the steam is off. Sprinkle a generous layer of salt over a piece of paper. Iron over the salt to remove crud from the surface of the iron.
The salt acts as an abrasive and will remove the residue.
To remove pilling from clothes, “shave” them off with a razor by running it lightly over the clothes. Be careful when running over seams — you don’t want to cut them open and ruin the garment.
Add a cap full of eucalyptus oil to your wash when washing your quilts and pillows to help kill off dust mites.
All tried and tested by Skipper – Domestic Guru.
As always it’s best to deal with these sorts of stains as soon as you can, but as we know that isn’t always possible. I dealt with a spaghetti stain about 4 days old with lemon juice. It was all over my son’s shirt (he was 18 months old and loved to feed himself, so he was allowed to be messy).
I chopped a lemon in half and squeezed the juice all over the stain, I rubbed the halves over the stains to get the juice into the stain and left it for a bit. I laundered it as usual and hung it out to dry in the sun. Presto! The shirt looked brand new!!
It’s important to act quickly! While the garment is still wet, place into nappy-san and very warm water and allow it to soak overnight. Launder again as usual and the stain should have come out. Don’t you hate it when the white part of the PJ top becomes pink from the red part??
I was so excited when I did this test. DH picked up my son who had cut his lip, resulting in blood all over his shoulder on his brand new white shirt. I laid the shirt – stained part facing downwards – in a small bowl, then poured milk over it. I left it for a few hours, came back and the stain was gone! I chucked it in the wash as usual since I didn’t want DH ponging of milk!
The stain was a few hours old when I got to it. If possible, it’s best to act ASAP. I can’t guarantee this method will work on older blood stains.
If you have a sweat stain on a white garment, just pour lemon juice straight on the stain. Wash as usual.
Dab eucalyptus oil on grease stains, and it comes right off. It may not work on old stains, however.
Pen and Texta
Pour a small amount of methylated spirits on texta and pen marks. Soak in warm soapy water for a moment then wash as usual.
Pour white vinegar over the stain and blot with whatever you have handy (face cloth, rag, paper towel). Launder as usual when you are able to. My spot was 100% removed.
Blot with a baby wipe until the stain has mostly lifted. This is a bit more time consuming but very handy if you are out and about and can’t get to the laundry. Launder as usual afterwards. My spot was 100% removed
Half-fill a cup / mug with cold water and add a squirt a little dishwashing liquid in it. Mix well then blot and launder as usual afterwards. This is a handy technique if you are at work in an office and have access to a kitchen. This is also helpful if you are out at a friends’ place etc. My spot was 100% removed.
When bringing in the washing, take out enough laundry baskets for each person and 1 more for towels and sheets. As you take down dry, clean laundry, fold it up and pop it straight into that person’s basket. Then when you come in, you don’t have to sort out the washing and fold it and put it away. This puts a stop to “Mount Washmores” and the lounge room being taken over by unfolded clean washing.
If you have a tip to share, please send it to me at skipperdomesticguru.com