Thursday, August 13, 2009

Laudry Fairy Won't Show Up...

So I have to take on this daunting task for the sake of the people in my life! What about you? Are you wielding clothes in and out of the washer & dryer each week, day or when ever to keep folks clean and neat at your place? This is a chore that isn't as distasteful as I find some of the household jobs distasteful~I really don't like to do some of it~but it all has to be done and ECONOMICALLY!

By way of history, you must know that I was an expensive name-brand only laundress for YEARS! In fact, I only used "certain" name brand products because I liked their smell and their performance so much that it was exclusively ALL that I ever used. With my budget boosting ways now firmly established this is no more!

I have promised my tips~what do you do?

Here are my methods:

1. If you are like I was and unwilling to try something different that may cost less to use, I am going to challenge your thinking to consider using an off brand or even to make your own. I have never made my own, although I am aware that this method seems by far the most economical, but I have never tried it myself. There are YouTube videos of well meaning and thrifty sisters out there to show just how to grate up those laundry bars...did you know they exist? This is bar soap with a laundry formulation~you generally won't find them at your favorite grocer or discount superstore~but they are what less wealthy countries use (not naming any) who may wash in old timey ways in tubs and wash pots and/or rivers~my assertion because the ones I have found were not written in my native tongue, so I assume it was for a different consumer who spoke that language. Nothing racial or discriminating here, just an observation, and I BOUGHT some! But I have never grated and mixed as some sisters have...but I have used them to rub on spots, which as worked well. But for de-spotting, I have an easier, but bit more costly trick.

2. Use LESS than the recommended "scoop" measurement. I have found over the years that less is more in laundry power. Did you know that the one rinse cycle for the washer will not remove an excess of soap out of your clothes? Hence a residue, and think what soap residue does, it collects dirt! So use less for more washing power and to make that box of whatever brand you WILL live with (choices, my friend!) LAST as LONG as It will GO! Mark the date on the box, see how long it can hold out. Challenge the kids, hubby, everyone who uses your soap to use just what is needed, no more and no less~and be SURE to keep it inside the washer! Soap on the washer is bad for the surface and a huge waste~keep it brushed inside the tub and cleaning your clothes!

3. Wash in the appropriate temps for the appropriate clothing. I am a use whichever temp kind of gal~I use warm, which is pretty hot for whites, and cold for everything else. Why that hot water you ask? I am also sanitizing those white unmentionables and boosting the cleaning powers of the whole process. I use store brand bleach which works very well and rinse TWICE to remove the soap and bleach residue along with strong chlorine odors before using my dryer to dry them. Yellowed or dingy white clothing is really not attractive, and I found a long time ago that this method works very very well in keeping things in better condition. For nice white blouses and dress shirts and other whites, which I segregate from the "dirty whites" of socks and undies get less bleach and often cooler water. They are more delicate so we treat them that way.

4. Drying Matters: I don't always use my dryer especially in nice weather. I am from the southern USA, and it was generally so hot and muggy that where I'm from you'd be hard pressed to find clothes lines in folks' yards with laundry flapping in the breeze these days. It might be a status symbol, because honestly, some things become such without us realizing it, and it can cost us~but only poorer households are noted to be drying outside in my observation. If I am wrong or insulting, I apologize, but it's what I have done and seen...But here in a mid Atlantic region, clotheslines exist with laundry all over! It could be that the breezes here are generally westerly and cooler, which accounts for quick drying times. Also folks here can use so much open window house cooling, but this is another matter altogether. But all said, I have observed different methods in different places, and I am using the economical one~line drying for heavy items: towels, blankets, jeans, rugs and sheets. Because the sun will "bleach" clothing, I do not put our clothing or unders on the line. This does a couple of budget boosting things: it saves electricity, freshens the clothing, and keeps my home cooler! If you don't have a line, it's a wise investment to have one in a place where tree/bird droppings will not affect it with a nice flow of air to dry many of the loads.

5. In and Out the dryer quick is my motto! Wrinkled clothing is unacceptable, and ironing is a BORE~if you love it, come see me ;-)) I can put you to work! LOL! But if I can get in and out so the clothes don't wrinkle, I am on my game AND my budget is better off...if I have to touch up the clothing, I have lost money! I have hangers and a hanging bar ready and able to recieve my nicely dried clothing. I fold and straighten RIGHT then; if I don't wrinkles will come and take my TiME and MY $!!

6. Static cling: To prevent this, I really have just a few ideas that are economical. Some have suggested household white vinegar in the rinse water, and frankly I am not that conscientious to get it in there~so I do use dryer sheets with the stuff I dry in the dryer. Since a great deal is line dried, it has no such efforts. I am allergic with an itching problem to some of the fabric softeners (liquids) that again require in my machine that I get there to put it in at the appropriate phase~ha! Isn't my time worth something too~AND it costs my wallet~so these are a no go! But what I have found is in winter, when static is at it's worst, is using a humifier to moisten the air which since we live in low hummidity now (I know~I should not, and am not complaining~I've lived with 100% hummidity AND without static cling too!) static is an issue. If you have cheap old hair spray, you can spray the inside of the clothing if your slip or hosery is clinging~also rub with hand lotion. These will work because it's really just a matter of depolorizing the charge~and these will do that. The humidifier helps tremendously~and if you don't own one, you can put cans of water on your floor vents. I know it sounds silly, but this really helps. I have used the leading named brand product, and it works too~just pricy! My ideas are to use as few products as possible for as many uses as possible. I try my best to stick with a few GREAT things!

7. Stain removal is done very effeciently with two products I have on hand for other uses in the home. I use Mean Green (yeah, sounds rough, doesn't it?) to spot clothing that isn't a silk or some other "fine" fabric, but let me say too, and I need to get there~I need to address WHAT we buy as it dictates how we have to care for it! For my clothing, this product will do the trick. I also have 20MuleTeam Borax laundry booster, but not for the wash generally, but in the kitchen and floors as I have previously said. With that, the laundry use is when I need to remove something smelling, like if we've crushed garlic or some other pungent odor that has to be removed~I guess if something were skunked, it would help that too~THANK GOD I've not dealt with THAT! The real trick is to hit those spots as they happen. RIGHT then~don't wait. Taking care of the laundry this way with preventing a stain is so much more economical than working out a hard stain.

I have a story. Our daughter as a young toddler had a pretty pink frilly with all the under slips kind of dress. . .and we took her to Sunday School! Her socks matched and she had pink bows~her shoes were pink! Now remind me to tell you how I pulled that economical outfit together sometime! But her well meaning loving SS teacher wasn't thinking and gave them "access" to a PERMANENT PURPLE marker by it just sitting where my child, MY child grabbed it up and in her curiosity got some on herself! Imagine my horror! Permanent marker on my child's pretty pretty dress! Now to consider the contents of the materials in the cloth, it was cotton/poly, so it would be OK to try some stiff/tough cleaning methods, I mean~it was ruined already, right? So I brought the dress home and put a white rag behind the stain. I mixed dishwasher granulated soap and a laundry stick on that began to lift. I rinsed, and reapplied. Over almost a week, I continually did this, rubbing into the stain, not smearing it, but lifting it, rinsing it away...eventually I removed it~WHEW! Dishwasher soap? Yep! And I will use it for really tough stains making it into a paste and letting it set. Same method. What did I have to loose on a garment ruined already? NOT one thing!

8. Wash likes with likes. I sort according to weights and colors. I don't wash heavy weighted clothing with light weights especially if they are going in the automatic dryer~line drying is different. Colors are similar. Reds with reds, jeans with jeans~you get the idea...and new jeans will refreshen the color of old ones~longer life means less spending!

9. Clean out that dryer lint for a more effecient drying time/run! Last year, we realized the dryer wasn't drying. I was in a "borrowed" home, so the dryer wasn't mine. I needed that dryer to work well, so I began checking the filter~it wasn't all that dirty, I checked it each time~huh? What was going on?? Well, my hubby checked and somewhere along the way the lint had begun building up because some connection had failed to put it in a place it could all be removed, and was COLLECTING inside the thing~we were almost ready to have a fire~do you know how flamable lint is? Check it out sometime with some lint and a match~oh my! And many household fires are from just this problem~so clean that filter often!! AND make sure it's all working properly~everytime! Talk about a financial nightmare~house fires cost plenty!

10. Organize the laundry room and make it attractive so you won't MIND spending your "life" there! I happen to believe that laundry rooms/areas should be where the clothes are generated: near bedrooms and baths!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stress this enough folks~but what's more wasteful in energy and effort than running laundry around the home? The last two homes have had laundry near our sleeping quaters and bath. I also like to store my clothes in the same places as I generate their care~huh? YEP, in my home, the laundry room is a HUGE walkin closet with hanging bars and shelving so that I am organized and not wasting time and effort on the trivial. It's right in the hub of the home on the second floor between the bath and bedrooms! If you can't do it this way, it's understandable. Many homes just don't have the space to do it, but in my singleness many years ago, my washer was in my bathroom. Now in those days I had no dryer, so the line was it~but let me tell ya, putting clothes right into the washer makes grand sense to me! I have hauled them all over ranch homes (2 in fact, 3 counting the one I grew up in) and in one with stairs up and down~we remedied that QUICK and in this home, it was the first thing we did in changing laundry from the basement to the second floor! I don't mind doing it; attitude is everything, isn't it? AND it's attractive, which helps too! Sometimes, money is saved so that even wiser decisions can be made and afforded. I guess this is a luxury~I am so thankful!!

11. Teach your family laundry principles. Have the children learn to sort~good grief: you want your son in pink unders LOL when he is on his own and doens't know?? Also to turn those clothes rightside out, button buttons, and zip zippers. ALL these are rough and cause rubbing in the machine. Have appropriate bins for sorting, and have everyone "deliever" their clothing to your laundry area. If they want it clean, they need to bring it ON! I don't worry when my son says, "I have no clothes, Mama!" because I respond with, "Well, where are they? Go get them!" and today it's so SWEET that he's old enough, God love him, that I say, "they weren't here on laundry day, so go put a load in!" Everyone is learning, including ME on this laundry thing! AND my children MUST know all the ways of doing this economically~The big companies want my money~they entice me with all sorts of marketing, which without TV, I am mostly unaffected by, but I must be aware that even the scoop size and box size are marketing ploys...anybody notice bigger scoops for different brands or smaller boxes for more money? Try to compare prices~near impossible.

Alright, this Laundry Fairy if off to start in her kitchen to get some of that homemade chicken and dumplings going that will feed us a couple of meals and is economical. READ on for my recipe!

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