Simple, and effective tips are a gold mine for all who seek out shortcuts. I am here to share 3 essential ideas with you when it comes to some laundry basics. These are my tried and true go to methods for basic everyday laundry needs.
First, add white vinegar to every load of laundry. I have followed this practice for years now. When added to the dark load, the white vinegar acts as a color binder, keeping your darks from fading too quickly or at all. I normally add about half to three quarters cup to each load depending on the size of the load. It also acts as a deodorizer for bath towel loads that may have remained wet/damp too long and have now taken on a musty odor.
The white vinegar will take care of the odor as well and helping with mold, perspiration, or smoke odors as well. White vinegar is also a natural fabric softener and aids in the keeping lint and pet hair from clinging to clothes. The reason this works so effectively is because white vinegar breaks down all the detergents left behind during the wash cycle , leaving cloths soft and lint free.
More tips, do not worry about the strong odor of the white vinegar, it is rinsed away and not noticeable after clothes are dry. The white vinegar also acts as a cleaner for the wash basin housing, keeping the drain holes from getting gunked up or door seals from getting mildewy, depending on the type of machine you have.
Second, I rarely use hot water. Warm water is sufficient when it comes to getting whites bright or with heavier soils in work clothes or sports uniforms ground in. Hot water will fade materials faster (if you forget to add the white vinegar), not to mention running the risk of shrinkage. The only exception I make to this rule is if I am doing a white towel only load and there is no risk of fading the fabric or concern for shrinking, then I will turn the dial to the hot water wash setting. Warm water wash will also break down the detergent better than cold water so there is less residual soap left at the end of the cycle creating softer fabrics. It also costs more to wash in hot water as opposed to cold or warm.
Third, my clothes dryer is set on the coolest setting and has never been changed. Sometimes I even feel like even the lowest setting on the dial is too hot for some of my wash and wear polyester clothes so those go on hangers immediately to air dry. I typically only dry the all cotton garments or the ones that are a decent blend of cotton polyester (say at least 60%cotton and 40% polyester). Any item that is 100% polyester is hung to dry and possibly tossed in the dryer on an air fluff cycle if the wrinkles are being stubborn.
Basic laundry seems simple and straight foward, but with so many different types of material blends these days and the technology of the machines improving, finding the right combination for your family can sometimes be a challenge. With the development of better laundry detergents, the efficiency of washing machines and dryers and the advancement of material combinations, I feel like most any garment can be safely washed at home these days.
There is always that one mistake of a delicate or hand wash item getting into the wrong laundry pile or a white tee shirt hiding in the red load that will be eternally pink in the end. These blunders happen to us all occasionally. I hope these simple tips are useful as you tackle the regular task of keeping the family clean.