My friend Aiyana was telling me that if she was ever going to create a TV show she’d make a show called ‘Things You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask.’ The premise was that there are all sorts of normal everyday things that many people somehow miss learning in this topsy-turvy modern world but don’t want to sound like idiots admitting that they don’t know them. So I suggested that she use ashes&water as her jumping off point until all the networks start breaking down her door. So without further ado, Tips from Aiyana:
Laundry: The Myth Debunked
I thought I would start this “Advice” column using Dave’s Ashes and Water to start with. My grandma Barb always used ashes to clean up her furniture on which my grandfather inevitably left water rings. Dave’s anecdote made me think of all the things I thought were useless that she taught me about doing laundry and removing stains from all manner of items.
To begin with, many people don’t know how to do laundry, men especially. Here are the MAJOR keys to doing laundry. If you don’t understand this, you should not be washing clothes.
- Check the tags.
- If it says dry clean only, take it to the cleaners.
- If it says pre-shrunk cotton, don’t believe it unless you have already dried it and it hasn’t shrunk.
- If it says do not dry, line-dry it or hang it up in your shower.
- Always follow the temperature guidelines on the tag.
- Bright colors like red should be washed with like colors at least the first two or three times. The first time you wash a bright color, wash it on the hottest water setting you can (see rule #1) and add ½ Cup of Epson Salt to the load of wash. This will help to set the dye.
- MEN: When it comes to women’s bras or panties, don’t touch them. Don’t put them in the washer and don’t put them in the dryer. Let her do it.
- Empty the pockets of anything that you put in a washer/dryer.
- Unless you are using bleach (see below for Bleach Rules) always use the setting: COLD/COLD on your washer. This will help to eliminate shrinkage in clothing.
- Always start the water, and add the detergent before adding your laundry. This helps to get even distribution of detergent in the washing machine.
Once you make it past the basics, you are ready to move on to the actual laundering of clothing. To begin with, it you have a full load of a single color (like all you wear is green) then put all of those colors together.
- Separate your clothes. There are many theories for the best way to separate clothes, but here is what I recommend:
- White Clothes: This includes socks, underwear, t-shirts and other white clothing. If you are not planning on using bleach, you can also include other light colored clothing such as khakis and pastels. Use a capful or scoopful of detergent and ¼ C of Borax.
- Jeans & Other dark Utility clothing: This includes Jeans, dark shirts (not dress shirts) dark socks, underwear, et. al. Never use bleach unless you want that lovely “acid wash” look of 1986 to come back and ruin your current social life.. If you have been out mowing lawns or changing the oil in your car, use extra detergent and HOT/COLD setting.
- Dark Nice Clothes: I define this as anything I wear to work that doesn’t have to be dry-cleaned.
- Red, Purple, Blue, Green: self explanatory. Again, use ½ C Epson Salts to help prevent dye bleeding.
- Towels: I wash these separately so that I dry them separately which helps cut down on fuzzy clothing from towel lint.
- Don’t put liquid fabric softener in with synthetic fabrics (such as nylon or rayon) use dryer sheets instead.
- Don’t overload the washing machine. If you have to shove things in, there’s too much in there.
- Always empty the lint trap in the dryer.
BLEACH IS DANGEROUS!
You should probably stay away from bleach. It will destroy everything it touches. If you still want to use it, make sure that everything in the washing machine is white, or it will be. In the washer there is a little opening that says “bleach” pour the bleach in the spot indicated bleach and the washer will do the rest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
From the useless information that Aiyana has stored in her head database, here is a list of possible treatments for stain removal.
- Ball Point Pens and lipstick:
Note that Blue inks are much harder to remove that black inks, as they use more dye pigments to attain the blue tone. Lipstick is an oil based pigment, do not rub it in. You can try all of these methods. If one doesn’t work, move on to the next one. Always use a white cloth when trying to treat a stain, you don’t want any other dyes to find their way onto the stain you are trying to remove. Also, if all of the lipstick doesn’t come out and you get in trouble for having Strawberry Red instead of Pink Rose, don’t blame me!
- Using a cloth (again, preferably white), dab the stain with rubbing alcohol. Gently rub dishwashing detergent onto the stain with your finger. For persistent stains, apply a stain remover stick to the stain and leave it on for a few minutes. Wash the shirt (only if it’s machine washable, of course).
- Blot off as much of the lipstick as you can with water. Dab the stain with a little bit of ammonia (fabric permitting). Rinse and wash in soapy water.
- Spray hair spray onto the stain. Let it sit on the stain for a few minutes. Gently wipe off the spray with a white cloth. Rinse the shirt in warm water or wash accordingly.
Rub shampoo onto the spot. Rinse and rub until stain is gone. This should be done as soon as possible, as the blood dries it is harder to remove. This also works on ring-around-the collar and other body stains. Shampoo is designed to break down human enzymes, so it can be used for all kinds of stain removing.
- Armpit stains:
This is kind of tricky because depending upon your own personal pH, you may have already ruined your clothes as it can affect the chemical make-up of dyes. But, before you wash them (especially white t-shirts) is to soak the article in 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts warm water. Or you can make up a spray bottle of the mixture and spray it on the offended area.
- Wine Stains:
Red wine can be tricky. The best thing you can do is to rinse it immediately with cold water and apply a pre-stain treater to it. If you spill it on carpet, try pouring some salt on it, which will absorb most of it. I have also heard that you can pour white wine on it and then blot it up; I have never tried this.
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