Happy Mardi Gras!! It hasn’t been the best of days around these parts, but as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, “Tomorrow is another day!” So instead of whinging about my problems, especially when there are so many other people with much larger problems than I, we will delve back into my well-loved copy of Hints from Heloise and see what she has to say.
Today we tackle some aspects of laundry. Laundry never was that big of a deal until Mary Ellen came along. Yes, when Grace was a baby I had to do laundry every other day or so just to clean the diapers, but somehow I’m now doing laundry every single day — though we’ve slowed down on the cloth diaper use. In fact, we took a three-day hiatus in an attempt to use up the size 2 disposables. We failed miserably, mainly because she kept leaking since the diapers were simply too small. But even with the cloth-diaper hiatus, I still did at least one load a day.
I swear that stuff multiplies in the laundry room when I’m not looking.
So what does Heloise have to say? A lot of this stuff is somewhat dated, at least to me. I don’t have “drip-dries” because I am far too lazy to handwash anything. Plus I own very little clothing with collars, so the section on how to get perspiration out of it is somewhat lost on me.
Let’s talk about dryers, shall we? It still amuses me highly that my mother-in-law does not own a dryer. Why not, you ask? She lives in Tucson, Arizona, in the desert. When she hangs up her clothing, by the time she gets to the far end the clothes at the other end are nearly dry! It’s simply amazing. Not having a dryer here just wouldn’t fly. It’s far too humid, and I’m not fond of letting my clothes freeze dry in the winter.
Have you ever had only one load of wash and were in a hurry and couldn’t wait around to dry “like” materials or “like” garments on three different time settings? Here’s what to do: Put all the clothes in the dryer at one time and set your timer for ten minutes. When the signal goes off, take out the quick-drying shirts. Then set the timer for ten more minutes and take out things that require a little more drying; set the timer again for twenty minutesand finish drying the larger, heavier pieces. Use a kitchen timer if your dryer does not come equipped with one.
Well, that’s some good information right there. I tend to do this, especially if I have a cotton buttondown in the wash that I don’t really want to iron. I’ll take it out of the dryer when it’s still a wee bit damp, and it cuts down on wrinkles.
Did you know that if your dryer stops and cools off before you take out the clothes (and this is what causes wrinkles) you can wet a towel, wring it out real good and then throw it into the dryer with your clothes and let ’em tumble through again to remove those creases? Works every time.
That is some excellent advice. The thing is, usually there are only one or two things that I care about not being wrinkled, so for me it’s just easier to haul out the ironing board and touch up the wrinkled item. Kurt’s got his uniform to iron each week, so I tend to do it when he’s already got the board and iron out.
From Ohio: “I reset my washing machine after the cycle is finished to give the clothes an extra spin-dry treatment. You would be surprised how much water still comes out. With the clothes nearly dry to start, less time is needed in the dryer. Less energy is used to spin washers than heat dryers.”
I use this tip especially when doing a load of jeans. My dryer doesn’t work all that well, not since we moved to Washington state six years ago, so I do whatever I can to make its job easier.
Now we move onto a favorite part of everyone’s wardrobe nowadays: jeans!
If faded jeans aren’t your cup of tea, heed a hint from a honey-bunch of a homemaker in Kentucky: “Before you put your jeans in the wash, turn them inside out. Also dry and iron them that way and they’ll keep their dark-blue color.”
I keep meaning to do that, but I always, always forget. Except the ironing part. I never did get on the ironing-my-jeans wagon.
And one more tip on jeans:
From Wisconsin: “Here’s away to make jeans soft with the very first washing. Fill the washer with cold water and add about two cups of fabric softener. Wash new jeans in the water along with old ones in order to save on the softener. Run through three wash cycles by setting the timer back and using the same water, then spin out and dry in the dryer for fifteen to twenty minutes. This also gets out all the excess blue dye so that next time they need a washing, new jeans can be washed with other dark clothes without running on them.
I’m slightly paranoid about the jeans coloring my laundry. I run a completely dark load, comprised mostly of jeans and Kurt’s t-shirts (because he only owns dark blue and black t-shirts), and I’ll even raid Grace’s laundry basket for her jeans so they don’t dull her bright clothes. I know it’s rather pointless, since these jeans have been washed a million times beforehand, but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What sorts of tips on doing laundry do you have to share?