The Mind of Bluesleepy

Frugal tips and tricks: 24 February 24 February 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 11:44 pm

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?


6 Responses to “Frugal tips and tricks: 24 February”

  1. kitchenlogic Says:

    I have no laundry tips. But I’m going to take that one about doing an extra spin in the wash so as to remove more water. Genius!

  2. Poolagirl Says:

    Here’s my only tip. Spit on your fingers when working the lint trap. It comes off easier. How’s that?

  3. terri t. Says:

    I always do the first wash with whites, socks and light colored clothes…I have never used bleach but I expect with the detergents these days, bleach is not really needed. I always wash jeans with dark clothes or dark t-shirts. I always wash towels together so any lint doesn’t get all over my other clothes. I also do the sheets in one load since I only have one bed to change per week. I know some women let their bras dry without using a dryer….I use the dryer….I also wash any t-shirt with a design or glittery picture inside-out to keep it from rubbing or fading quickly. My husband was taught by his mother to always turn his socks and underwear right side out when it went into the dirty clothes so it saves from having to turn the right side out when you are folding clothes. When I had a baby, I always snapped or buttoned up the clothes as much as possible so I didn’t have to put the outfit together after dressing the baby.

  4. I wash pinks and reds together. Red dye is notoriously unstable but if it fades it will actually keep your pink (and lavender, for what it’s worth) more vibrant, and the red items don’t lose their color as quickly as if they pick up other dark colors.

  5. cardiogirl Says:

    Got distracted by Kitchenlogic’s gravatar of the pink Converse. Fun!

    Those dye catcher sheets work very well (Shout Color Catcher to eliminate other clothes staining because a shirt or pants ran. Usually though, I do what you do and wash all dark together.

    Lately I’ve been using vinegar as my fabric softener to eliminate smells. Emily is potty training and I have to say vinegar removes EVERY trace of the smell.

    I have a very discerning nose and I bury it in the clothes after the cycle finishes and the odor is completely gone. That’s my tip.

  6. Aimee Says:

    I wash everything in cold. My first boyfriend taught me that after his Mother died. His Dad taught him to do it the”army,” way. That way if a red sock sneaks into a load of whites all is not lost. Plus things shrink less that way.

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