Cleaning Tips and Fabric Stain Removal Tips

For the best cleaning performance, read and follow both product label directions and garment care labels.

Prewash

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Always treat and wash stains promptly. The longer stains sit on a fabric, the more difficult they may be to remove. Here's more about removing stains:

  • Pretreat stains. This means treating and sometimes completely removing spots and stains before laundering. Some common methods are:
  • Prewash stains. This takes less time than soaking and is useful for garments with heavy or greasy soil that might not come out in a single, regular washing. Some washers have a prewash cycle. A detergent should be used in a prewash. Follow with a regular wash using detergent according to label directions.
  • Soak stains. Whether it's done in a basin, laundry sink, or washer, this can effectively loosen heavy soils. An all natural detergent should be mixed in water or added to wash cycle before the clothes. Follow label directions for the detergent. Generally, they call for a 30-minute or longer soaking period in warm or cool water.
  • How can I prevent a stain from becoming permanent or impossible to remove? Treat and wash stains promptly. Always check to make sure stains have disappeared when removing items from the washer and before drying or ironing clothes. Some set in stains may require more than one application or pretreatment. Some older, set-in stains may be impossible to remove.

Sorting

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  • Sort articles by color, keeping whites, darks, and medium colors together. Lighter garments can pick up dyes from darker colors.
  • Separate man-made fabrics, like polyester from natural fibers such as cotton. Man-made fibers can attract the oils that are released from natural fibers during washing. These oils can build up and make spots more noticeable.
  • Wash heavily soiled, dirty, items separately from slightly soiled items. This will help prevent fading and keep colors brighter.
  • Try to have large and small items in each washer load. This will let the items move more freely during the washing cycles.
  • Sort delicate fabrics and loose knits from "tougher" fabrics.
  • Garments which generate lint, such as fleece sweat shirts and towels, should be washed separately.
  • It used to be you could help make dyes colorfast by adding 1/2 cup of WHITE vinegar to the washer, before adding the clothes. However, this does not work on today's dyes. If dyes bleed, continue to wash the garment separately until no color bleeds in the wash water.

Fabric Stain Removal

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  • Deal with the stain as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more time the stain has to soak in and/or dry, making it more difficult to remove.
  • Lift or gently scrap off any excess material from the fabric. Use a cloth or a towel to gently blot and soak up any liquid. Don't rub! Rubbing can spread the stain and cause it to penetrate deeper into the fabric.
  • Identify what caused the stain. In order to know what to do for the stain, you need to know what caused it.
  • Follow the instructions on any presoak, prewash or stain removers. It's best to test a small out of the way area of the fabric first.
  • If stains aren't entirely removed after washing, try rewashing the item. Allowing the item to dry, or putting it in the dryer, can set the stain for good.

Grease, Oil, & Crayon Stains

Contact us if you have a stain removal idea for grease, oil and crayon stains you would like to share.

  • Place absorbent material (Paper Towels) on either side of the spot and apply a hot iron.
  • Replace the absorbant material as soon as some of the stain has been taken out.
  • If the spot is stubborn, apply slightly diluted ammonia, and iron again as above.

Washing

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  • Be sure to check the label for proper care instructions, including the water temperature and wash cycle to use.
  • Don't overload the washer. If the washer is too full, the clothes won't get enough agitation, and may not get clean. Also, all the detergent may not be dissolved, leaving globs of detergent paste on fabric.
  • Make sure the items are equally distributed around the tub of the washer to keep the load balanced during spinning cycles.
  • To minimize wrinkling when washing fabrics containing man-made fibers, wash in hot/warm water using a permanent-press cycle. If your machine does not have a permanent-press cycle, use warm/cool water.
  • Very important tip - Always be sure to check the pockets of all garments before washing and drying. The stains and damage which can result from one hidden lipstick, lip balm, stick of gum or crayon goes beyond words!

Drying

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  • Lightly shake out items taken from the washer, before placing them in the dryer. Tightly balled up fabric dries slower and will likely come out wrinkled.
  • Don't overload the dryer. A stuffed dryer will not allow the items to tumble. Drying will be slower and clothes will wrinkle.
  • Keep like garments together. Permanent press items should not be dried with towels, and delicate items, such as lingerie should be dried separately.
  • All clothes should be left in the dryer just long enough to remove wrinkles and moisture. Any longer and the heat can actually "set" wrinkles, increase static cling, and cause shrinkage. This can be true for both natural and man-made fibers. Using a natural fabric softener can help reduce static cling.
  • Use the proper heat setting and time cycle. Don't use a high or regular setting for all clothes. Read the label! Fabrics made from fibers which have low moisture absorbency are fast drying and should be dried using a low temperature setting. This includes:
    • Acrylic
    • Nylon
    • Polyester
    • Polyolefin
    • Microfibers
  • After removing garments from the dryer, immediately hang them up or fold them. Don't let them lie in a heap. This can cause them to wrinkle.
  • Permanent press items should be taken out slightly damp and hung on a non-rust hanger. Close clasps and button buttons. Straighten fabric lines and creases, and gently brush out any wrinkles.
  • Keep the lint filter clean. A clogged filter increases drying time and costs more money in electricity/gas usage.

Ironing

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  • Use the washing and drying tips to reduce the amount of wrinkles from laundering.
  • Be sure you read the care label for the proper ironing procedure and temperature setting to use.
  • Do not iron items which are dirty or stained. Heat from the iron will set stains.
  • Keep the iron and the ironing board cover clean to avoid soiling the clean garments/fabric being ironed.
  • Garments which are drip-dry should be pressed while damp on the wrong side, using a cool iron. If finishing the right side, use a pressing cloth.
  • Circular knits and sweaters should be laid flat to dry.

Water Saving

Most washing machines in the world use tub agitators, which require a lot of water, from there initial washing cycle to there rinse cycle.

On most washers as the initial wash water is being drained from the machine, the water valve opens to help in the removal of detergent and accumulated dirt in the clothes, leaving the clothes relatively "Clean" The final rinse cycle helps to remove any detergent residue left after the initial wash cycle and also to disperse fabric softening agents into your clothes. so your final rinse water is reasonably "Clean" and could be "recycled" back into the next wash load.

Some models of washers include a ÒSuds SaverÓ feature which reuses the Wash water by means of a separate storage tank connected to the Washer with additional hoses.

One way of cutting down on water usage is to recycle the rinse water after the final rinse cycle. In order to do this correctly you will need a utility sink installed next to your washers drain hose, and of the correct gallon capacity to hold the amount of rinse water coming out of the machine.

You will save the rinse water after the first load, Just remember to plug the drain after the initial wash water has gone down the drain, to save the rinse water only, and to keep from flooding your laundry room!

When filling the Washer set it on the Hot water fill, turn on the machine to start the filling cycle, use a small bucket or pail and dip rinse water out of the sink pouring it into the washer, repeat until machine is full. The hot water going into the washer will take the chill off of the cold rinse water. Any water that is left in the sink can be let down the drain, to prepare for the next wash cycle. Add natural laundry detergent and clothes and start the washing cycle over again!

This will work fine for most situations. If you have extremely dirty work clothes save them for the last wash loads, and use your discretion, if the rinse water looks dirty, don't use it, let it go down the drain and work on the next load of wash!

If you have your own water supply, such as a cistern or well this can save a lot of water, including energy to run the pump, water softener salt usage and water wasted on your septic system capacity.

We have used this simple process for decades with no problems. It is a little time consuming, watching the wash cycles, plugging the drain at the correct time, bailing the water, but will pay off in Money & Environmental savings!

Remember, every time you do one load of laundry, your using on average 32 gallons (122 liters) of water! That adds up to a lot of water considering the average family of 5 will do 10 or more loads of laundry a week!