Other Fabric Tips

  • Refresh Black Clothing – You can refresh your black clothes by adding bluing, or strong coffee, or tea (2 cups) to the rinse water. They should return to their original dark black state. (When in Canada, I would periodically take all my faded black clothing and dye them again with black dye. It never occurred to me to use coffee or tea. Here, I haven’t found clothing dye, so coffee or tea would be the easier solution.)
  • Stain Strategy – When applying stain-removing solutions to fabric, it´s best to work at the stain from the back of the fabric and not the front. This way the stain won´t spread deeper into the fabric. (Seems so obvious, and yet I hadn’t thought of that before. Duh!)
  • Fresher Looking Whites – You should be able to restore your clothes to white (and not damage the fibres of the fabric) by soaking them them in lukewarm water and color safe or oxygen bleach for 24 hours, then rinse them with vinegar and water. Use one tablespoon of vinegar to one quart of water. Your clothes may be turning gray because you have hard water, and this diminishes the effectiveness of detergents, and often leaves a residue on clothing. If you think this is a case, you may want to add a powdered water softener to your wash, particularly when washing white clothes. (Unfortunately, these suggestions won’t work for me. I haven’t seen color safe or oxygen bleach, nor have I ever seen water softeners here.)
  • Softening New Fabric – New cotton fabric is usually stiff because of the chemicals and sizing that the manufacturer adds. To remove this, try washing with less detergent than recommended (as detergent will also make clothes stiff), and add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar works great at removing detergent and sizing build up. You may also want to add an extra rinse cycle. (Yep, no idea what sizing is. But vinegar appears to be a pretty good all-purpose fabric softener. Hmm.)
  • Softer Laundry – The cause of stiffness in laundry is usually that too much detergent has been left in the clothing. To make your garments, etc. softer, use less detergent than normal, and add white vinegar to the first rinse cycle. You may also want to add an extra rinse cyle. Line dried items do not get as fluffy and soft as ones dried in the dryer, but this should help.
  • Color Brightener – If you add about 1/3 of a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle, you´ll find that your clothes will come out brighter and softer. Any vinegar scent should vanish after the clothes have been dried.
  • Washing Colors Without Bleeding – To set colors in colored items, soak them for an hour in a mix of 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and 1/2 gallon of water. If the rinse water shows color after an hour, repeat the process. Use this technique only for single-colored items, because multi-colored items may bleed into each other. Multicolored items will likely need to be dry-cleaned. (Unless you’re allergic to the dry cleaner chemicals, like me, in which case you just risk it and use this method anyway.)
  • Moth Removal – Unfortunately, the only truly effective ways to kill moths once they have already moved in is using moth balls or crystals. However, there are a few other things you can do to get rid of them. If your closet is carpeted, remove the carpet, as moths love to breed in dark areas, such as closet carpets. Remove all affected clothes from the closet, and take any salvagable clothing to be dry-cleaned, alerting the staff about your moth problem, so that they can remove any larvae. Thoroughly clean out your closet, as even mothballs won´t kill moth eggs on your clothing. Moths are more attracted to dirty clothing, so ensure that everything is clean before you store it in your closet. You will need to either have your closet professionally exterminated or use commercial moth killing products to remove them. Once you have eliminated them, you can use cedar, lavender or dried orange peel to deter them from returning. Don´t allow these products to come in direct contact with your clothing, as the oils may damage the fibers over time.
  • Baby Wipe Magic – Baby wipes are a great way of removing stains and are also great for cleaning in general. (I need to remember this. I really need to remember this. I’m the queen of spillage, especially on my clothes when I’m out in public, and baby wipes are available even here…)
  • Washing Soda – Washing soda used to be used for washing clothes in the old days. It is a form of bicarbonate of soda. It is most commonly found in a blue box by Arm and Hammer. You can buy it at any grocery store in the detergent section next to the boxes of water softener. (Washing soda isn’t available here that I’ve seen. Can baking soda be used instead? How close is it to washing soda?)
  • Cleaning Extra Dirty Clothes – Even the dirtiest of clothes can be cleaned by adding 1 or 2 capfuls of household ammonia to the wash water. (Too bad I’ve never seen that here, either. Sigh.)
  • Odor Removal from Clothing – To remove odors from your clothing, try adding 1 cup of washing soda, 1/4 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup of vinegar to the washload. Be sure not to add bleach, as it will react with the ammonia. You can also add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse to remove any lingering odor. Alternately, try just vinegar if, like me, you don’t have ammonia or washing soda.
  • Whiter White Cotton Socks – Return white socks to sparkling white by boiling them in a saucepan with a few slices of lemon. The lemon is a natural bleach. Dishwasher detergent also whitens socks – just add a little to the regular washload. (I also plan on using this on other whites, too. Why not?)
  • Removing a Hem Line – After letting down a hem, get the hem mark out of your clothes by dipping a cloth in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Wring out the cloth and lay it over the hem mark. Press with a warm iron and the hem mark should disappear.
  • Silk Care and Cleaning – Before washing silk, be sure to check the label for manufacturer´s recommendations. Many silks are machine washable in cold water. Be sure to check for colorfastness before washing, to prevent fading. If it is not colorfast, you will need to have it dry cleaned. If the label says to hand wash, use a protein hair shampoo and don´t twist or pull – silk is very fragile when wet. Handle the silk gently and hang it to dry. To spot treat stains, use color-safe bleach or a mix of one part hydrogen peroxide and eight parts water.
  • Unshrink a Sweater – 1) Soak the sweater in hair conditioner and water solution, and pull gently to reshape, lay flat to dry. 2) Dissolve one ounce of borax in a couple of tablespoons of hot water, add the mixture to a gallon of warm water, immerse the garment. Pull the sweater gently into shape, and rinse in a gallon of warm water to which you have added 2 tablespoons of vinegar. 3) Dissolve two cups of non-iodized salt in enough hot water to cover the garment. Let cool, and leave the sweater to soak in it for three hours. Wash it in mild suds, rinse three times, roll the sweater in towels, then reshape and let dry.
Author: LMAshton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.