Natural Solutions for a Spic-and-Span Summer
I know most of you hate doing laundry, I on the other hand have always enjoyed my laundry, (I do hate folding though)so here are some helpful, healthy and enlightening ideas to make it a happier chore.
To clean your clothes without chemicals, try these stain-removal ideas from Green This!:
1. Head for the Arm & Hammer. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain and let it sit for an hour before washing.
2. Squeeze a lemon. Lemon juice contains citric acid; its bleaching action works especially well on white fabrics and sweat stains. Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda and leave it on the stain for half an hour before washing.
3. Pinch the peroxide. Watered-down hydrogen peroxide – half peroxide, half water – also removes tough stains, even blood, from white fabrics. (Tip: One hundred percent peroxide is not sold in drugstores; instead it’s sold as a 3% solution – 3% hydrogen peroxide; 97% water. The 3% solution is what you want to mix equally with water… not the 100% solution.) This will work on most fabrics, but do a test spot first.
4. Dab, don’t rub. Always blot a stain before trying to remove it. Work from the edges to the center, which will keep the stain from spreading.
5. For ketchup, blood, grass, fruit juice, and sweat stains – Rub distilled white vinegar right onto the stain, suggests Kipling Rutherford, spokeswoman for Ecover (ecover.com), which produces environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Let sit a few minutes before washing.
6. Oil or grease (e.g. from salad dressing) – Rub on dishwashing liquid and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing.
7. Grass – Use an old toothbrush to rub whitening toothpaste onto the stain. Let sit overnight, then wash.
8. Blood – Make a paste of cool water and meat tenderizer (unseasoned). Apply to the stain, then let sit 15 to 30 minutes before washing.
9. Ketchup – Soak a fresh stain in cool water for 10 minutes, rub in liquid detergent, then wash.
10. Add a few drops of clove, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil to the rinse cycle, Imus suggests.
11. Rutherford recommends soaking the towel in distilled white vinegar, diluted with water for 10 to 20 minutes. Let your nose determine the formula: The nastier the mildew smell, the more vinegar (and less water) you’ll need. Then, machine wash in hot water and line dry.
12. In a perfect world, you would rinse your swimsuit in cold water immediately after a swim in the ocean or a chlorinated pool. But in reality, your suit probably sat in a wet pile and is now stiff and smelly.
Try Imus’s method for washing delicates:
Put a dime-size amount of nontoxic laundry liquid (see our product picks below) in a stainless steel bucket, then fill the bucket with warm water.
Dip your suit in several times. If the fabric is stained, or the smell is really rank, soak it in the mixture overnight.
Don’t wring the suit out; just pat dry with a towel and hang it on a wooden drying rack. If you’re using non-toxic detergent, there’s no need to rinse.
13. To salvage a swimsuit, Rutherford recommends a solution of one gallon of water and ½ cup white vinegar. Dip your suit in the solution, then rinse in cold water. Soak it for a minute or two in the solution if need be, but if you leave it in longer, the vinegar could damage the suit’s delicate fabric.
Follow these quick tips to keep your laundry clean and fresh, no matter how hard you play.
14. To brighten white linens, add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle, and launder as usual in warm water. For best results, hang them to dry outside: the sun will increase the whitening effect.
15. Imus recommends using a cup of vinegar added to the wash can keep colors bright. (Caution: Don’t use vinegar if you are using bleach; the resulting fumes are hazardous.)
16. Add a few drops of essential oil to the rinse cycle, Imus suggests in Green This!. Try fir, spruce, lavender, cedarwood, wintergreen, or rosewood.
17. Ecover recommends storing linens in a drawer with homemade cheesecloth sachets filled with crushed dried lavender or your favorite herb.
18. Add a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle or 1/4 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle, Imus advises.