I recently read a comment on Facebook from someone who said they like to do their laundry naked so they have at least a few minutes where there were no dirty clothes in the house! LOL. As if getting through the never-ending pile of laundry isn’t enough, there are always laundry problems to deal with as well! From stains, to odors, to clothes that just never seem clean, today we are tackling your most pressing laundry problems.
I asked on Facebook for your most perplexing laundry dilemmas and got some great questions. Hopefully, most of you will be able to find the answer you are looking for!
Before you try any of the methods below make sure you read the washing symbols on the tags of the clothing items. These frequently overlooked washing instructions will make sure you don’t accidentally ruin your clothes.
The #1 most asked question I got on Facebook was how to get rid of various types of stains. The best way to fix a stain is to treat it before it sets. Quickly scoop up solids with a dull edge, and blot liquids with a clean white cloth from the outside in to avoid spreading. Treat stains before washing, and always make sure stains have been removed before putting items in the dryer; heat sets stains into fabric.
I have two favorite stain pre-treaters. The first is a combination of Dawn dishwashing liquid, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. I originally used it to get rid of yellow armpit stains, but quickly found that it removes just about any stain you can think of! I’ve even gotten hair color out of a light colored shirt. It works especially well on grease or oil stains because Dawn is formulated to cut through grease on dishes. I’ve even used this combo to remove greasy stains that have gone through the dryer.
If that combo doesn’t work on a stain I recommend trying my Homemade “Shout” Stain Remover. I have found it works better than the store bought version! I also have a homemade recipe for a Stain Stick if you’d rather use that than a spray.
Speaking of yellow armpit stains….based on the millions of times my posts Goodbye To Yellow Armpit Stains and How To Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows have been repinned on Pinterest, this is a MAJOR laundry problem!
One of the most common reasons fabric turns yellow is sweat. As the sweat dries, it can leave a yellow stain. Increase the amount of detergent in your wash load, or use a product with a detergent booster or fabric-safe bleach. If neither of those work you may have to try Miracle Laundry Whitening Solution.
The #2 most asked question I got on Facebook was how to keep clothes from looking dingy. You may need to increase the amount of detergent you’re using, use a detergent booster like washing soda or borax, or switch to hot wash water if you’re using cold. Clothes can also become grey when dyes bleed from other items. Try using my Homemade Laundry Color Catchers to keep that from happening in the first place.
The tendency of most of us is to turn to bleach for use on dingy whites. Unfortunately, bleach can actually make the problem worse. When used on synthetic fibers, bleach weakens the fibers and returns the synthetic polymers back to their original dingy color.
My daughter Britta’s clothes started to look dingy as a result of very hard water. She started adding 1/2 cup Borax, a natural water softener, to every load and it has eliminated the problem!
If the men in your house tend to get ring around the collar and cuffs of their shirts, try Gold Dial Soap.
If you have items that are dingy, that you don’t mind using bleach on, you’ll want to try my Miracle Laundry Whiten Solution. I swear by that recipe!
This was the #3 most asked question on Fabebook – how to get smells out of clothing. I did a post a couple of years ago about getting mildew smell out of towels and this method would work well on clothing as well. Click here to read: A Simple Fix For Smelly Towels.
The method involves vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar (which contains acetic acid) breaks up water mineral deposits and dissolves buildup, and baking soda (which contains an alkali—sodium bicarbonate) neutralizes odors and dissolves dirt and grease.
I also got a couple of questions about getting rid of deodorant building in the armpits of shirts – not the yellow stains but the actual white buildup you get from deodorant. I would try this method for that as well! The vinegar and baking soda will help breakdown the buildup.
I’ve heard from a few people that they have this problem when using homemade laundry detergent. It most likely happens because your powdered detergent isn’t dissolving properly. To avoid this, make sure you aren’t putting too many items in a load of wash. When the washer is too full there isn’t room for the detergent to fully dissolve.
You can also try letting the washer fill with water, adding the detergent, letting the machine agitate for a minute, and then adding the clothes. If that still doesn’t help you may need to switch to a homemade liquid detergent for cold water loads.
This is such a common problem and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. I LOVE using these DIY Reusable Dryer Sheets with with my laundry and never have a problem with static! And that’s saying something since I live in such a very dry state.
If that doesn’t work for you, these homemade wool dryer balls really help with static.
You can also try adding vinegar to your wash. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and static reducer. And you don’t have to worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar. When items are completely dry, the vinegar smell will completely vanish.
Dealing With Lint
Lint is caused by a mixed load of laundry that contains items that give off lint, such as terry cloth, napped velour, or corduroy. Other culprits include tissues left in pockets, a clogged washer lint trap, or a full dryer lint screen. Remove the linty garments while they’re still damp and shake off any lint that you can. Use a clothes brush or lint roller to remove any remaining debris.
To prevent future lint issues – check pockets for tissues and other debris before putting garments into the washer. Wash lint-producing items separately or only with like fabrics. Clean the washer lint trap at least four times a year. (Look in the owner’s manual to find the lint trap location, or look along the top rim of the tub). Clean the dryer lint screen after every load.
To help prevent pilling try turning clothing inside out before washing. Pilling is caused by abrasion of fibers, and this cuts down on abrasion during the wash and dry cycles.
If you aren’t able to prevent pilling then check out this post from a couple of weeks ago: How to Save Your Sweaters From Pesky Pilling.
Have you read my post on How to Unshrink Clothes? It’s been a lifesaver for me but, unfortunately, it doesn’t work on all types of fabrics. Avoid the problem by following care instructions on labels. Also, shrinking is less likely if you reduce the drying time and remove garments when they are slightly damp — which is especially important for cotton knits.
I’ve gotten a few questions as to whether you can reverse shrinking in wool clothing items. Unfortunately the answer to that one is no. With delicate fabrics like wool and cashmere it is especially important to follow the directions on the tags!
Fading Of Dark Clothing
Unfortunately it’s really not possible to completely keep clothes from fading after many washes. Adding a cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle the first time you wash a piece of clothing will help set the dye so it doesn’t fade as much (think setting the dye on Easter eggs!) Vinegar will also help remove detergent residue and relax the fibers of the fabric so lint doesn’t accumulate – both of which dull the look of a garment.
Heat can also make clothes fade faster, so be sure you’re washing your darks in cold water either hanging them to dry or putting them in the dryer on a low setting.
What is your biggest laundry dilemma?