- Never combine chlorine bleach with ammonia, vinegar, or lemon juice. Extremely toxic fumes will be produced.
- Baking soda may fade colors. And, don’t test these tips on your favorite clothes or bedspreads.
- Eliminate soap residue by adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse.
- Adding 1 cup of vinegar to the final rinse gets out urine from baby clothes.
- Do not wash permanent press items in hot water. This will cause them to be wrinkled permanently.
- Wash jeans inside out to prevent fading. To prevent fading of any clothes, wash and dry them inside out. This even makes a difference in clothes washed in cold water, and if you hang clothes on the line instead of putting them in the dryer.
- Make blankets of wool or cotton extra soft and fluffy by adding 2 cups of white vinegar to the final rinse.
- Wash clothes with a “rubber” decoration inside out to prevent the rubber from melting or the picture from flaking off.
- Washing clothes with zippers zipped will keep the zippers working longer.
- Small items should be washed in a laundry bag to keep them from going down the drain, which would mean lost clothing and a plugged washer drain.
- Bras should be washed in a laundry bag or bra ball to prevent their hooks from snagging other items.
- Reduce static cling by adding baking soda , borax or 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
- Whiten laundry by adding 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda to the wash cycle.
- Using too much detergent will leave laundry feeling very heavy and less soft, especially towels. Run heavy towels through the washer and without adding detergent. (You may not need as much detergent as label directions say to use.)
- Add a can of Coca-Cola to the wash cycle for extra greasy stains. Then wash as usual.
- Hard water is hard on laundry. Add 1/2 cup of borax to soften water and get clothes cleaner and whiter.
- Make your own fabric softener for the washer. Add 4 cups of water to 2 cups of baking soda . Add 2 cups of vinegar very slowly or the mixture will foam up.
- Leather items can be cleaned with a mixture of distilled vinegar and linseed oil. Rub the mixture into the leather, then polish with a soft cloth.
(See Natural Clothing Tips for more tips.)
- Sunshine whitens cotton and linen. Dry whites outside in the sun for extra whitening. You can get them wet again and put them through the dryer if you don’t like the stiffness caused by drying them on the line.
- Dryer Balls eliminate static cling and soften clothes without chemicals. They also separate the clothes as they are drying to cut the time, and energy costs.
- Make your own dryer ball with a ball of aluminum foil. Add it to the dryer to reduce static cling without adding chemicals. These will only work once (the store-bought Dryer Balls are reusable).
- Turn clothes inside out before putting them in the dryer or hanging on them on the clothesline to prevent fading.
- When drying a down comforter, jacket, or pillows, add two towels and several Dryer Balls to the load. The towels help the items dry faster, and the dryer balls prevent the down from clumping.
- Always underdry. Overdrying of clothing causes wrinkling.
- Underdry your shirts and hang them immediately on a hanger to air dry.
- Add a few dry towels when drying blankets or heavy items to absorb some of the water. This will cut down on drying time and cost.
Special Laundry Tips
- Add vinegar to new towels or rugs, let them set for 10 minutes, then add laundry soap and wash as usual. Their colors will be set, and you can later wash all colors of towels together with no running.
- Adding Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing to your wash will make clothes look whiter than white. You have free “bluing” when you get a new pair of jeans. Put them in with your load of whites, and the extra blue color from the new jeans will work on all the whites.
- Always wash new clothes before wearing and towels and bedding before using to remove any chemicals used in manufacturing.
- Black clothing can look brown after several washings. Restore the black color by adding coffee or strong tea to the rinse water.
- Clean the washer hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine with vinegar. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar once a month into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes. This will make every load cleaner and the washer more efficient, and it may even last longer.
Natural Ironing Tips
- To clean the bottom of your iron, turn it to its highest setting.
- Pour a small amount of salt onto a sheet of wax paper, and run the hot iron back and forth over the salted wax paper. This will not make your iron glide like new and clean off any melted fabric.
- For clothes with heavy wrinkles, steam them. Lay a damp towel on the board, lay the clothese on the towel, and iron. This gets steam coming from the iron and from the hot wet towel underneath.
- Iron delicate fabrics like polyester inside out. Then, if you get a spot too hot so it turns shiny, it will not show on the outside.
- For shirts or dresses: iron the collar first, then the sleeves, then the bodice, and then body. This will cause the least amount of unwanted creasing.
- When you lengthen the hem on an item of clothing, use vinegar to remove the old hem fold. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and use this mixture to dampen a cloth. Place the damp cloth over the old hem, and iron over the cloth.
- Make your own laundry starch with cornstarch . Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 pint of cold water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and shake it before using.
- Make starch for dark clothes: Mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch , 1 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of black tea. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and shake it before using.
- Remove dark spots from the bottom of your iron with salt and vinegar. Mix equal parts of vinegar and salt, rub the mixture onto the iron, and rinse off with a wet towel.
Remove wrinkles from curtains as they hang by spraying them with water using a plant mister. This works whether you have floor length curtains or shorter draperies in your houses or apartments.
To remove all the dust from drapes that cannot be washed and would be too expensive to dry clean, put them into the dryer for 15 minutes.
Removing Stains and Odors
- Remove lipstick from clothes by rubbing in some shortening. Rinse the area with club soda.
- To remove ink from clothing: put a cleaning towel under the clothing item. Soak the ink stain with hair spray . The ink will leave the clothing and go onto the cleaning towel instead.
- Remove ink with lemon juice, and cream of tartar. Put cream of tartar onto the stain and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top of it. Rub the mixture into the stain for a minute, brush off the powder with a clean brush, then wipe with a sponge of warm water immediately. Repeat if needed.
- Moisten an ink stain with vinegar, then apply vinegar and cornstarch mixed up as a paste. Let the paste dry. Wash as usual.
- Remove spit-up stains, even many old ones, with automatic dishwashing powder mixed with water. Make it into a paste, and spread it thickly over stains. Let set overnight. Wash as usual.
- Hydrogen peroxide bubbles blood out of clothes. Don’t forget the item and leave it in the hydrogen peroxide for hours or it could make the material thin in that spot.
- Presoak laundry with 1/2 cup of borax in the washer. Let set for 30 to 60 minutes, then wash.
- Remove perspiration stains with vinegar. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Saturate the stain, let set for 1/2 hour, then wash as ususal.
- Remove perspiration stains with salt. Add 4 tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of hot water, and soak the item in the mixture for 1/2 hour. Wash as usual.
- Perspiration odors remaining in clothes can be removed with hot water (unless the label says to not use hot). Adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle will help deodorize even more.
- To stinky shirts or socks, add a paste of baking soda and water onto the odor area. Let set for 30 minutes, then wash.
- Soak stained or stinky socks in 1 gallon of warm water with 1/4 cup of baking soda added to the washer. Soak for 30 minutes. Spin the socks, but don’t rinse.
- Clothes that were left in the washer too long get a funny smell. Freshen them in the dryer by adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda .
- To remove mildew odors from clothes or towels, add 2 cups of vinegar to the wash cycle.
- Remove lipstick stains from clothing by soaking them in milk for 30 minutes. Rinse in hot, soapy water. Then, wash as usual.
- Lemon rinds will remove mildew, rust and ink.
Remove grass stains with alcohol .
- Perspiration stains may be removed by soaking the clothes in ammonia water. Rinse and wash – and do not add bleach to the load.
- Remove rust stains with salt. Saturate the spot with vinegar, then rub in salt. Place in the sun to dry, then wash as usual.
- Tree sap, juice stains, mustard, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and tar can be removed with glycerin (or glycerine).
- Spots can be removed from white clothes with lemon juice. Saturate the spots with the lemon juice, then lay the items in the sun. Apply a little more lemon juice just before washing. Do not add bleach to this load.
- Remove crayon from clothes with vinegar. Dip a used toothbrush in vinegar and scrub out the crayon. Wash as usual. Do not use bleach in this load.
- Remove hair dye from clothes with vinegar. Saturate the stain with vinegar, then add 2 cups vinegar to the wash cycle. Do not use bleach in this load.
- Soak mildew stains in a mixture of 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Let the clothing dry in the sun. After they are dry, wash as usual.
- Red stains can be removed by pouring alcohol over the stains before washing.
- Add salt to club soda and pour over wine, fruit or coffee stains. Then soak in milk, and wash as usual.
- Remove grass stains with ammonia and hydrogen peroxide . Add a few drops of ammonia to 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. Rub the mixture into the stain, and rinse with water when the stain is gone.
Hydrogen peroxide will remove chocolate stains.
- Get stains out of leather or suede with club soda. Rub it over the stain with a used toothbrush.
- Remove water stains from leather by rubbing it with a cloth dipped in half vinegar and half water.