Laundry Rooms

Remove Tough Stains

Proper stain treatment will keep clothing looking new longer. Just follow these easy stain removal tips to get out everything from oils to mustard.

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Laundry List

Clean and Green in the Laundry Room

Keeping a family in clean clothes isn't just a never-ending chore; it's a major consumer of energy and natural resources in the household. Focus on these strategies to stay clean and green in the laundry area.

Using the Washing Machine. As an energy user, the washing machine is a household front-runner. Rein in the beast's use of water and power with these energy-saving tips:

  • Chill out. Heating water for household use is a costly proposition, so turn down the thermostat on the hot water heater. For most households, a setting of 120 degrees F is adequate-and lower hot-water temperatures make scald injuries much less likely to occur. By turning down the thermostat, you'll save energy whenever you launder with heated water.
  • Stay cool. Wash in cold water whenever possible. New detergent formulations for cold-water washing dissolve well and get clothes clean at lower temperatures. Even when heavy soil or fabric type requires washing in hot or warm water, a cold-water rinse saves energy. Bonus: cold-water washing preserves fabric colors.
  • Fill 'er up. Wash full loads of laundry, you'll use proportionately less water and energy than doing several partial loads.
  • Cycle down. Make good use of the washing machine's alternate cycles for best energy savings.  Permanent press or delicate cycles are shorter, and agitate and spin less than "heavy wash" ones. Use them for lighter-weight or lightly soiled garments.
  • Measure twice, wash once. In the laundry room, more isn't better when it comes to the amount of detergent or other laundry additives you use, so measure carefully. Too much detergent won't clean clothing any better and will be hard to rinse away. Chlorine bleach eats away fibers if over-used. Too much fabric softener can stain clothing; rewash to remove spotting.
  • Clean and green. A green hint: use a cup of white vinegar instead of commercial fabric softeners. Vinegar cuts detergent residue, softens clothing, and removes odor-and at a price point far less than commercial products.

Drying Clothes.
When drying laundry, convenience costs! Duck high power bills with these tips for efficient dryer use:

  • Let the sun shine. Sunlight and fresh air dry clothing for free-and the warm scent of sun-dried clothes is a sensory bonus. When possible, hang laundry outdoors to dry.
  • Hang loose. Don't over-fill an automatic dryer. Crowded with clothing, the dryer will have to work much too hard, and leave clothing with wrinkles that can require ironing. Let clothes tumble freely for most efficient dryer use.
  • Enough is enough! When using an automatic dryer, don't over-dry clothing. "Auto" settings sense moisture levels and temperature inside the dryer, so use them when possible. Over-drying clothing can cause shrinkage and fabric damage, so save your clothes and the environment by removing dried clothing promptly.
  • Free the filter. Clean the dryer's lint filter with every load. A lint build-up impedes air circulation and forces the dryer to work longer and hotter.  Every month, rinse the filter; you'll be amazed at the volume of lint that you'll remove.
  • Vent it. Check the dryer's vent hoses and outlet hood for lint buildup or obstruction. If the hood cover won't open freely, replace it. Proper ventilation is necessary for efficient drying and will save energy.

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Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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