It goes without saying that clothes look their best when the colors are crisp and new. It is everyone’s wish to maintain their color. After a few tossing and drying of your brightly colored clothes, they tend to fade. While this is almost inevitable, you can surely prolong the youthful look of your garment. Especially if clothes grow on you and have favorites like me, which I will still wear even with the faded bright hue. But with time you painfully know you have to let them go unwillingly. That literally hurts, unless of course, you are going for that comfortably stained and faded look.
Then there are stains. If not well treated after they appear on your cloth, stains can be such a turn off on a brightly colored cloth. Wait till it sets and become permanent, then your fancy dinner dress becomes utterly useless. If possible you can recycle and use it as a nightgown (for those who can’t just let it go). If you thought you are the only one struggling with maintaining your whites white, then you are wrong. You have found your people. It has been a struggle for several of us until we learned of a few tips. Try them and see the transformation.
Keeping Whites White
The first step in maintaining your white clothes while washing is by sorting the dirty laundry. Put the whites together and start with that load. As you are loading the washer, do not overload it. This is to prevent the dirt from redepositing itself in another cloth. There should be enough space between clothes for whiter clothes. With white clothes, select a detergent that has optical brighteners. These brighteners fool the eye into seeing the cloth is whiter than it actually is. This is achieved by bending the UV light waves to showcase blue light and minimize the amount of yellow light our eyes perceive making the cloth look whiter.
I should have probably started by mentioning that you should adequately deal with stains. Before you load the washer, ensure that stains are taken care of. Otherwise, due to the pressure applied to the fabric while washing, they might set and be impossible to remove. After you have properly washed the garment, add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This is to ensure that all dulling detergent residue is removed. If ready for drying, line-dry them outside if possible. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will naturally whiten the fabric. If there’s hard water in your area, then you’d want to invest in water softeners and add to each load of laundry. If not, the minerals in the water will deposit in your cloth making it look yellow regardless of how well you’ve washed it.
Soak Brightly Colored Clothes in Salty Water
Soaking brightly colored clothes in salty water is actually a habit I learned from my mother. There are commercial products that you can use, yet salt is not only cheap and environmentally friendly but also gets the job well done. Your clothes will be brighter and prevent running to a degree too. Before soaking any cloth with another, ensure it is not colorfast to prevent stains. Fill the washer or basin with cold water, add half a cup of salt then add your cloth. In the morning, add detergent and other clothes if you wish then run the washer as you normally would.
Do Not Over Dry
While over-drying in the sun is good for your white colors, it goes bad with brightly colored ones. Whether you are line drying or using a dryer, don’t let it dry for long. The heat is harsh on dyes and cloth fibers. Makes the color fade quite fast. Or if you are cloth lining, do it under a shade.
Turn Inside Out
It is not rocket science that the more friction is applied on the surface of the fabric, the more faded it will be. Therefore, turning the cloth inside out, will help in keeping the damage on the inside where it is not seen. The same applies to when you are line drying, you need to turn the clothes.
Wash Only When Necessary
Sometimes we wash clothes more often than we should. For the sake of preserving your clothes’ fabric and color, washing when necessary is the easiest way. If you are careful not to get stains on your cloth, you can get several wears before you wash. Use a dry sponge to remove any deodorant streaks and dust collected throughout the day. Some clothes like jeans don’t need to be washed unless they start to show dirt. That can be four to five years.
Don’t Stuff The Washer
Just like when washing whites, do not stuff the washer. This is to prevent removed dirt from redepositing itself on another fabric.
White vinegar is heavenly sent. It can not only maintain the bright hue of your clothes but also restore luster to your clothes. After a proper wash, add half a cup of vinegar to every rinse cycle to rinse away detergent residue from the fabric that may cause yellowing. You can also soak new items in a solution of vinegar to prevent them from running. Additionally, one cup of household ammonia added to the rinsing water will help brighten clothes. But do not use ammonia if bleach has been in use.
Amount of Laundry Detergent
Use as little laundry detergent as possible. That which you only need, overdosing on the laundry detergent is not a guarantee for a cleaner cloth, in fact, it has the opposite effect. When the residue of the detergent stays on the fabric, it makes it turn yellow. If line drying, the suds tend to attract dirt.
Launder brightly colored clothes after every wear even if they look clean. This is because body oil and perspiration can easily stain then fabric. It is also essential for you to clean your washing machine regularly to prevent staining.
Home laundry is something inevitable and probably a boring chore to most people. The good news is that, as much as we can’t make laundry day go away, there are ways to make it more fun (though fun is subjective), but definitely faster and better.
Something to consider to make your laundry day easier is to maintain your clothes well. This could include wearing an apron when doing a messy task to avoid stubborn stains. It is also advisable to have common knowledge of how to handle different types of clothing according to their fabric. You can get help with this by the instructions that are already in the cloth or ask someone.
The following are tips on how you can do laundry effortlessly and like a pro:
1. Get The Stains Out Immediately
When you notice you have stained your cloth, it is recommendable for you to get it out right away. It is for your own good and you will be grateful you did it when the laundry day comes. There are various detergents and items you can use to remove fresh stains effortlessly. Some home stain removers that you can use include club soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mouthwash may help with smelly gym socks that might have bacteria. Lemon juice will also remove rust stains and any discoloration, and at the same time leave your clothes smelling fresh. The less time you spend on cleaning the laundry, the less boredom you’d have.
2. Have a Specific Day For Laundry
Some people prefer doing home laundry almost every day considering their large family. This method is not very effective in saving time, effort and money. There are compromises that you can make to ensure that the clothes for laundry are fewer. You can achieve this by recycling some clothes like jeans. Your jackets and hoods can be worn more than once too. Setting a specific day also helps in getting organized thus reducing time wastage. The bottom line is, the less you wash, the less effort you will spend on your laundry.
3. Don’t Mix Clothing Of Different Colors
Always start by sorting your clothes out. No one needs the surprise of a black dye on their favorite white outfit. Wash the white first then the rest later. It may also be important to find out whether a cloth is colorfast. You can achieve this by rubbing a wet cotton swab on the cloth. If it stains, then you ought to hand wash the cloth separately. You might also consider adding some salt to the water to avoid too much fading.
4. Get The Right Water Temperature
Selecting the right temperature for your fabric goes a long way into maintaining their quality. Essentially, cold water works best with fine fabrics, sensitive dark colors that tend to bleed and clothes that shrink. Warm water is suitable for man-made fabrics and hot water for colorfast, really dirty clothes and white items. It is also important to find out whether there is a specific recommended water temperature on the cloth. To make your work easy, wash the fabrics using the same water temperature together as long as they don’t bleed.
5. Use The Right Detergent And In Small Quantity
Most people pick detergents because of their friends’ or family’s influence. This is definitely not the correct way of picking the best detergents for your fabrics. Majorly, there are two forms of detergents: powder and liquid. The powder is relatively cheaper than liquid. Though for quality, you might consider liquid because it dissolves much better and deals effectively with stains. Try not to use excess detergent because your clothes won’t get any cleaner, in fact, they may get dirtier. It creates too many suds on the cloth, which attracts dirt.
6. Reduce Fading of Darker Clothes
It is annoying to see a cloth you invested jaw-dropping cash fade so quickly. There are beauty and class that comes with dark clothes, furthermore, it makes you look slimmer. But the opposite happens when it starts to fade. It looks sad and cheap. You can prevent your clothes from fading by washing them inside out. This helps reduce the abrasion used while washing the fabric. You also don’t need to wash it regularly and use the right detergent when you do it. It is advisable to use liquid detergent because it doesn’t leave too many suds that give your fabric a dull finish.
7. Fold Immediately From Dryer
It is easier to fold your clothes immediately after the dryer rather than later. This reduces wrinkling. Therefore, you won’t have to iron every cloth. It also reduces clothes clutter which can be a depressing sight. If folding is not your thing, you can roll your clothes too. It saves on space and prevents wrinkles too.
8. Clean Your Washing Machine
Most people rarely clean their washing machine yet it is essential. It helps get rid of accumulated dirt and soap gunk that could otherwise be disposed on the cloth. Cleaning the machine also enhances its purpose as clothes are cleaned better and at a short time. At the same time, it helps maintain the machine.
9. Get Several Laundry Baskets
Most people use half of the laundry day searching for dirty clothes. Most especially socks and shoes. Let everyone have their own laundry basket where they can keep their dirty clothes immediately after removing them. You can also have one home laundry basket whose main purpose is storing your used socks. This saves time and reduces any frustration that comes as a result of looking for clothes. It might seem like an unnecessary gesture, but you will be grateful everything’s sorted out for you.
10. Reduce Shrinking and Stretching
You might have a share of clothes whose fabrics stretch or shrink easily and, of course, you would want to maintain their shape as long as possible. To prevent clothes from shrinking and stretching, use a gentle cycle of washer or hand wash. You can also use cold or warm water because they are less harsh to shrinking fabric than hot water. Something that will also help is reading the label of your cloth before buying. If the cloth fabric will potentially overstretch on a few washes, you’d rather save your money.
The Bottom Line
Home laundry doesn’t have to be stressful and it will soon be something that you don’t cringe about when you think of it. The above tips should get you on your journey to actually loving to do laundry.