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Monday, March 09 , 2015

Ink-Removing Formula

Did you forget to cap a pen and now it has left its mark on your gym outfit, upholstery or other fabric? We've got a homemade stain-removing formula for you to try.

First, try some easy remedies on that ink spot…

If it's a colored piece of fabric, soak the stained area in milk, then toss in the washer. You can also douse the ink stain with rubbing alcohol. Let it sit for five minutes, then launder as usual.

For all fabrics (and if you don't want to use harsh bleach on your white shirt), spray a good two-second spritz of hairspray on the ink mark, then launder the clothing as usual.

If the ink blot is on upholstery, soak the spot with rubbing alcohol or vodka. The stain should dissipate within a few minutes. Caution: Be sure to test an inconspicuous area of the fabric with the alcohol. The spot should dry completely (no water stains or rings) after an hour or two.

If none of the above simple solutions work, here’s our heavy-duty ink-removing formula...

In a bowl, combine one tablespoon of milk, one tablespoon of white vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of borax powder (available at supermarkets in the laundry detergent section).

For ink-stained clothing, cloth napkins, etc., sandwich the stained area of the fabric between four thick sheets of paper towel. Dip a sponge in the mixture, and pat it on the area of paper towel covering the stain. (You want the liquid to reach the fabric, but you don’t want to put it directly on the stain.) After about three minutes, remove the paper towels, and sponge the stained area with cool water. Repeat the entire procedure until the stain is gone. When it is, launder the item as usual. (You may need to professionally clean a removable upholstery cover.)

More help with household stains…


Monday, March 02 , 2015

Quick Dryer Fix

Dryers are so full of hot air. And all this energy eventually disappears out a vent while your clothes take a long beating. Here's a trick to cut drying time considerably…

Toss in a dry hand towel with each dryer load. The dry towel will absorb moisture from the wash, then dry quickly and continue to absorb more water.

Is your dryer sluggish? You probably know not to cram it with too many items. But an average load of clothes or towels should be dry by the end of one cycle. If they're not, you could have an airflow problem. Read this before you buy a new dryer.

More help with laundry…


Tuesday, February 24 , 2015

Take Your Delicates for a Spin

You finally got around to hand-washing that lacy top or silk scarf. Now, after all your careful handling, the last thing you want to do is wring out the garment, which could ruin the delicate fibers. Here's what to do instead…

Give your hand-washed gentle wear a drying headstart by swirling them around in a salad spinner (you might want to designate a spinner just for this purpose). Once the excess moisture is removed, they'll dry a lot quicker when you hang them up.

More help with your laundry…


Tuesday, October 21 , 2014

Unshrink Your Wool Sweater

If you have a wool sweater that has become too snug, we've got a tip that'll bring it back to its original size. Here's what to do...

Hair conditioner can soften and loosen knit fibers, which allows them to return to their original size. Mix one-third cup of hair conditioner in a sinkful of warm water. Submerge your tight sweater into the conditioned water, and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Shake off as much water as possible (don't wring!), then lay the sweater flat on a towel.

While it's still wet, reshape it as close as possible to its original size by holding each side and gently pulling the sweater to make it larger. Pull it evenly—both sides at the same time—all around the sweater. Let the sweater dry flat. It should return back to normal (or very close to it).

More help with your wardrobe...


Thursday, August 14 , 2014

Nonbleach Trick to Brighten Whites

Don't you hate it when your favorite white cotton top starts to get that grayish dingy look? Here's what to do…

Fill a basin or sink with warm water, and add one-quarter cup of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent. Add your tops, socks, underwear and whatever else needs brightening. Swish them around, and let the garments soak for one hour. Wring out the sopping clothes—enough to get them to the washing machine without making a mess—and then launder as usual.

More help with laundry...


Tuesday, March 11 , 2014

Cold-Weather Clothesline

It's time to think spring, but it still feels like winter across lots of the country. And you can't wait to wear some fresh air! To prevent wet clothes from freezing when hung outside to dry, here's what you do...

Pour one-quarter cup of table salt into the last rinse cycle of your laundry. You'll be able to hang your clothes outside and get that great-smelling air-dried laundry experience starting today...and the salt will also help brighten your wash.

Drying laundry outside is good for your sheets and clothing…the environment...and your pocketbook. Do you do it? Let us know below.


Tuesday, November 19 , 2013

Unwrinkle Your Sheets Without Ironing

Have you seen those higher prices for wrinkle-free sheets? Crazy! Sure, nobody likes to iron sheets. But you don't have to if you take them out of the dryer promptly, while they're still warm, and put them right on the bed. They'll look and feel freshly ironed! What if you forgot, and the sheets have sat in the dryer for a while, all cool and fully crinkled? Here's what to do to keep from pulling out the iron: Grab a clean washcloth and thoroughly wet it. Then squeeze it until it is damp (not dripping). Now chuck it into the dryer along with the crinkled sheets, and run the dryer on warm (whatever you usually dry your sheets at) for 15 minutes or so, until the sheets are warm again. Now go make your bed and then lie in it, or, if you love good grammar, lay in it!

More money-saving laundry tips...


Monday, September 23 , 2013

3 Bleach Substitutes for Laundry

Instead of using harsh, pungent bleach to whiten your whites, try one of these safer, gentler alternatives. Use one-half cup lemon juice for a medium to large load of whites...or one cup of white vinegar...or six ounces of hydrogen peroxide (make sure the label says 3% hydrogen peroxide) in your wash. (Make sure to test the hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous part of clothing, since it may yellow different types of cloth.) Whatever alternative natural ingredient you use, add it to your bleach (or fabric softener) dispenser in your washing machine just before you wash your whites. If your washing machine does not have a dispenser, add it to the rinse cycle.

Money-saving help for dirty clothes...


Wednesday, June 12 , 2013

How to Keep Your Socks Matched Up

You can stop the tragic mishap of the missing sock at laundry time. Collect those soft plastic caps from gallon-sized jugs of spring water or from juice or milk containers (the kind with a little plastic tab). Cut an "X" in the middle of each cap (a box cutter blade works best, but a sharp knife should do the trick). Place these cut caps wherever sock wearers tend to take off their socks—in the bathroom, bedroom, den, etc. Then, each time a pair of socks is taken off, the wearer should push a small part of each sock in the pair through the cut in the cap, which can then be tossed in the hamper. When you do your laundry, you can throw the plastic cap and all into the washer and the dryer (the plastic will be fine in a cold or warm-water wash and regular-heat dry). Each pair of socks will stay together through the whole process—no sorting necessary, and no more missing socks.

More laundry magic…


Tuesday, April 23 , 2013

Laundromat Detergent Trick

Lighten your trip to the laundromat by putting each wash load in a pillowcase…along with one cup of powdered detergent loosely mixed in with the clothing. Instead of lugging along a big box or bottle of detergent, you'll have only the amount you need all ready to go into the washing machine with the clothing. (Just make sure that there's no hole in your pillowcase!) Empty the pillowcase plus detergent into the washer, and you're set!

For more laundry tips that save time and money:


Thursday, August 02 , 2012

Make Your White Clothes Sparkle…Without Bleach

If you want to get your white summer clothing looking fresh again, try this.

In a basin of just-boiled water, add the juice of a small lemon. Let your white clothes soak for at least 30 minutes, then launder them as usual.

For super-grungy socks or very soiled pieces, soak overnight before laundering.

Thursday, April 19 , 2012

How to Care for Your New Jeans

Soften jeans by tossing them in the washing machine with your usual detergent plus one half cup of table or rock salt. You may need to double-rinse them. To prevent streaking and fading, always turn your jeans inside out before washing.