Laundry Secrets

Are you just a “throw it all together” type of doing laundry person or do you sort and pre-wash things? Are you persnickety about it? How much elbow grease do you put into your laundry?

Do you pre-wash anything? Do you let things soak to get out stubborn stains? Here’s how our MN Twins uniforms stay so clean. Did you ever wonder about all those sports teams and how awful that job would be of keeping them clean?

I used to scrub and pre-soak and scrub and scrub the boys baseball uni’s. I once had someone come up to me and tell me the only thing her son wanted was to have a baseball uniform as white as Toby’s. I’ll never forget it. She said to me “what do you do to get it like that” and my answer was I just got out every stain that day. I never let them accumulate. I used a LOT of things on them but on the white, the best thing was dishwasher detergent.

I don’t have to do too much of that anymore. The biggest thing I have a hard time with is getting plain old grease out. Does anyone have a trick for that? Just that little annoying spot where you dropped a french fry.

How much time do you spend doing laundry? Do you put a big effort in it or don’t you care if something has a stain? Do you use a stain fighter or a spot remover? What kind of laundry soap do you use? Fabric softener?

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15 Responses to Laundry Secrets

  1. SKL says:

    I have changed a lot over the years in this regard. My mom taught me to separate colors and fabrics and to bleach the whites. (Laundry was one of my “chores” when I was a teen, for a family of 8, so I got lots of practice.) When I was on my own, I used to just separate darks from lights. Then I had kids and any time (and energy) I had for such trifles was gone. Besides, kids grow out of their clothes so fast, and clothes are mostly so colorfast now, that it probably doesn’t make any noticeable difference except for the really old “play” clothes. And who cares about them? As for my clothes, they are mostly blue, gray, or some similar shade, so you can’t tell what I might have washed them with. (And nobody sees my tightie whities. And also, cottons last longer if you don’t use bleach.) Once in a while I’ll make up a separate load of “lights” when I have something I want to take better care of.

    If someone drops food on their clothes, if it’s something I care to keep nice, I’ll run water over it and use whatever soap is readily available. For greasy stuff, I find dishwashing liquid is the best, but I’ve also heard that turpentine is good for that. Anyhoo. I also use the “spray and wash” type stuff when I put the clothes in the washer – if I remember about the stain at that point. More often than not, I forget. I don’t lose sleep over it. I figure, nobody knows whether I dropped coffee on my t-shirt today or last year. It would be different if I were going to visit the queen.

    I think the above probably makes me sound like a bona fide hillbilly. But honestly, I have had to give up a lot of pickiness as a single working mom. You can’t do everything well, so you focus on your priorties. Today my kids probably dropped something on their clothes, but our evening was packed with eating, outdoor exercise, piano practice, reading, and a few other things. Now I need to get back to work. Stains just aren’t that important right now.

  2. Laura says:

    OxyClean. I absolutely LOVE it. If I have a tough stain, I soak in OxyClean and hot-hot-hot water. And I’ll leave it in there overnight, for for a day or so. I’ve had very few times when a stain was left. If I have a particularly dirty load,I’ll also dump a helping of OxyClean into the washer.

    I separate according to person. My stuff, Steve’s stuff, Josh’s stuff. I use laundry bags – I have a bunch of them for socks. Josh keeps one in his room on his hamper, and separates his socks into it immediately. I have a couple others hanging in my laundry closet (I have one of those drop-down hampers that runs from my room to the laundry room, into its own closet), and I have a separate bag for Steve’s socks and mine. The socks stay in there, and each person deals with his own socks, since I HATE pairing/folding socks.

    I also discovered “bra bags“, made by Tide. They’re a LIFESAVER!!! In addition to keeping them contained and not allowing them to get all stretched out, the Bra Knots have completely stopped. No more getting hooked on socks or sweaters. No more pulling stuff out in a massive wad that is tied together by bra straps.

    Finally, since I’m all about simplicity, I’ve started using Tide Pods and a Bounce Dryer Bar. So much faster, and I’m actually saving a bit of money, since the Pods are premeasured. And the dryer bar keeps stuff smelling SO much better and for much longer.

  3. SKL says:

    I use some sort of natural laundry soap, which probably doesn’t get stuff as clean, but then again, I’m not really a dirt-o-phobe. I would rather have natural dirt in my clothes than harsh chemicals rubbing on my skin (or my kids’ skin).

    No problem with bras – I don’t wear them – and I don’t mind matching socks. If we had more time, I’d have that be one of my kids’ regular chores. I actually get some sort of satisfaction when I get done with the laundry and don’t have any orphan socks. I know, I’m weird.

    The only thing I really hate about laundry is when someone leaves something in their pocket, or a sticker on their shirt, or something like that. Truth be told, I do this as often as anyone else, and I ought to know better by now! I always think I’ve checked and then . . . yuck.

  4. Nikki says:

    I can’t stand when anything colored goes in with lights. I just don’t like it. I separate into whites which I do bleach when need be (socks, white t’s, kitchen dish clothes) lights, darks and then towels. I never wash my towels with regular clothes. I usually use Gain, because I love the smell of it, but I do use the cheap stuff too. I think it’s called Extra or something like that. It all cleans the same to me, especially if you use any pre-wash stuff. Grease or oil stains get immediate attention if I see it! Nothing worse than throwing on a cute shirt, and seeing a grease spot! My favorite bright orange tanks has one, and I’m so mad I didn’t get to it right away. Now it’s only for layering under other shirts or tanks.

    For Bailey’s baseball pants, I used to use Dawn. A little tip from the mother in law. But last year a mom told me about Fels-Naptha. It’s a heavy duty bar soap and it works wonders!!!!

    I’ve tried the Bounce dryer bar that Laura mentioned and it didn’t last as long as it said it would. I use dryer sheets, and depending on what’s on sale I use either Bounce, or Gain. Static is one thing I can’t stand!!!!

    • Laura says:

      Oh, yeah… I do towels in a separate load, too. And sheets. Although if it’s Josh’s sheets, they’re small (twin, and thin), I’ll throw them in with the towels, since they can’t make a full load on their own.

  5. Nikki says:

    I soak Bailey’s and Jason’s baseball pants same night too. And they both have 2 pair, just in case my pretreat takes too long! lol

  6. Karen Joy says:

    Ive always had luck using Polmolive dish soap for grease stains or any other stains,works great.I separate colors,we dont have too many whites so its usually dark loads.I do have a problems I would love help with.How do you all keep your dish cloths smelling good.I try to replace them/wash them every week but even once out of the dryer they still have that yucky smell when wet again.I use Tide cold water and Downey softener.They are colored cloths so I dont want to bleach them,Im sure that would take the smell out though.

    • Joy says:

      I read somewhere and now I’ll be darned if I can think of where but it said you should use a new dishcloth every day in the summer or they get “that” smell to them. I’m going to look around in my history and see where I read that. Otherwise, I’d soak them overnight in your laundry detergent and some water before washing. It couldn’t hurt. I do know that smell you’re talking about. It’s almost a cross between a sour and a mold.

      I’ve pretty much quit using dishcloths. I’ve been using 2 paper towels folded together and they are so strong. I also use a tremendous amount of the Clorox wipes instead of a dishcloth and then you just toss them out.

      And we all know I use Downy’s April Fresh 🙂

      • Karen joy says:

        I actually just went back to using cloth dishcloths.I stopped because of this problem.I used those J Cloths and they were east to throw out often and never smelled.Id never think paper towels would work,wow.Ill have to wash themore often I suppose,I can’t imagine everyday though.Ill soak them overnight like you suggested..

        • Laura says:

          How about a mix of vinegar and baking soda? Yeah, it’s all fun because it foams up like crazy, but I’ve found the combination to be aces at cleaning stuff. Perhaps if you mix it up (enjoy being in 2nd grade again while it fizzies) and soak your dishcloths in it, the smell would go? The vinegar might kill the bacteria causing the smell, and the baking soda might take the odor… It’s worth a try anyway. And if it doesn’t work, use the mixture to soak the bottom of a particularly difficult-to-clean pan for a while, then scrub IT out. It’ll clean it. 🙂

    • SKL says:

      I hang my dish cloths over the oven handle so they get 100% dry between uses. I used to have the smell problem when I’d let them stay damp too much of the time.

      • SKL says:

        Oh, and when I do get one that smells after a wash, I generally throw it away and start fresh. I did buy some smell-removing soak stuff, which worked temporarily, but really, it’s probably cheaper to just buy a stack of cheap dishrags.

  7. Joy says:

    I’m still using the same package of Norwex that I got when Sue had her party and it was a year ago. It was $40-ish and I thought HOLY COW but I still have at least a quarter of the bag left so it’s more than paid for itself. It has no smell.

    I’ve always used Downey and always will. For those of you who use dryer sheets, take your filter out of your dryer and run water through it. If the water doesn’t run through it you’ll have to clean it out. Dryer sheets leave a residue in there and it blocks the air somehow. CLEAN IT OUT. It’s a fire hazard. Also, if you have sensitive skin, they’re really bad for that. Just so you know.

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks for that tip. I checked mine and water ran right through it. But, I do clean the lent out every other day or so. I’ll try to remember to actually wash it out every so often, too.

      Fires scare me more than anything. I never leave small appliance plugged in (other than the microwave) and I never leave the house with the dryer on.

  8. starlaschat says:

    I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I use to have a job as a laundress. Their word not mine it was for a very rich family. I think they were billionaires. It was stressful, because I knew she bought her clothes on the runway. The big thing was I read every label for laundry care. I also made sure to always pre treat stains. Like you said it’s so much easier to get out before you toss it into the wash. It’s hard to imagine but they paid me 16.oo an hour. I actually really enjoyed the job. He took lots of starch in his shirts. You would think I would know about greese stains, but I’m not certain. I know hydrogen peroxide for some things. I guess I would have to look it up on a chart. Martha Sewart has a good laundry stain list. :+)

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