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How to Do Laundry When Traveling to Europe

If there is one piece of advice that seems to always keep travelers in good stead, it’s to keep things simple.

Probably everyone has had the experience of things being too complicated when on the road. This applies to laundry as much as anything else. After all, when you’re on the road, it’s often to parts you’re not very familiar with and tools you don’t have or even have access to. Quick: you are at a small hotel in Madrid. Where is the closest laundromat? Also, while you are traveling to Europe, don’t you have plenty of other things to do other than laundry?

This reminds us of an incident that took place at a laundromat in Hawaii where a young man, wrapped in a sheet waited until his clothes were dry, at which time he dropped his sheet and proceeded to dress himself in what was his load of laundry. Not only will you probably be better prepared, but you also would have more laundry than just a single change. It’s for all these reasons that you want to keep laundry chores as simple as possible.

In Your Room
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The first place that many people turn to while traveling and keeping laundry clean–more or less–is to wash in their room. With a sink, a little detergent, and a traveling clothesline, you are usually in business. Along with a quick-dry wardrobe, you will end up looking pretty spiffy, despite the primitive conditions.

The downside to this is the fact that many hotels, especially in Europe, ask that laundry not be done in sinks. Some bathrooms are even equipped with signs that say, “no washing clothes in the room,” which besides “Don’t pee in our pool” and “Don’t feed the ducks” which is one of the most ignored in the world.

Actually, it’s just a fancy way of saying “We have expensive furniture that we would really rather you didn’t stain and warp with your wet clothes.”

Use a Launderette

Just as is the case with other parts fo the world, there are many launderettes throughout Europe that you can use. These are much like those in America that have washers, dryers, folding tables and maybe a few assorted homeless people in attendance to remind you of home.

Take Out

The hotel that doesn’t have some kind of laundry service attached to it probably hasn’t been invented yet, so if you really don’t want to visit a laundromat or violate in-room signs, just ask the front desk or concierge for the closest available laundry service.

Most often, these will not only wash your clothes for you, but they will pick up and delivery for free, and often offer same day service too.

This will cover you for your European travels, but if you are still in New York City, the best way to get your clothes really clean, without the hassle, is call The Laundry Center and get your laundry picked up and delivered right to your doorstep, and they don’t use hotel sinks to do the job either.

Ice Cold: Doing Your Laundry in Cold Water

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If you are one of those people who are still washing your clothes in warm or hot water, you are with the majority. The truth is that even though there are numerous benefits to washing clothes in cold water, the practice has largely gotten a bad name. In fact, for a fair number of reasons, you would be better serving yourself, not to mention the world, by washing your laundry in cold water.

60 Percent

Studies have shown that more than 60 percent of all Americans wash their clothes in warm or hot water. That’s a lot of laundry, to be sure, but when you come right down to it, laundry washed in warm or hot water isn’t benefiting you or anyone else nearly as much as you might think.

First of all, roughly 75 percent of the energy required to wash a load of laundry is expended in heating the water. That’s a lot of energy spent that will only end up going out the drain. By contrast, not only does using cold water use less energy, but it’s also better on your clothes. Further, by using only cold water for your wash, you save more than $60 annually on your utility bill.

Long Lasting Clothes

If you happen to have a lot of money to throw around, that’s fine, so if you need another reason to convert to cold water in your wash, try this one: your clothes will look better and last far longer if you wash in cold water as opposed to warm or hot. This is because hot and warm water break the fibers of clothes down, which makes them worn looking far sooner than cold water. This does present the issue of the effectiveness of detergents, since most of today’s detergents are made to perform better in warm and hot water.

The solution to this is obviously to wash your clothes in cold water, and for extra dirty clothes that you used to trust to your hot and warm water, simply pretreat them before you put them in the washer. Your clothes will thank you for it, as will the environment.

If your idea of a more refined laundry washing technique is just giving it to someone else to do, The Laundry Center could be your best friend. Not only will they get your clothes cleaner than practically anyone else, but they pick up and deliver your clothes fresh and clean to you once they are done. That’s even easier than flipping a water temperature dial to “Cold.”

4 DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes

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If your laundry is getting dingy-looking, and it smells a lot like last week’s campaign promises, perhaps you need a new detergent. And if you don’t have the heart to pay–or simply don’t want to–the high prices for detergents, what follows are five great recipes for your own homemade laundry soap.

Powdered Soap Nuts.

Please, don’t ask why they call this soap nuts. It makes us think of the old Euell Gibbons hickory nuts commercials. The truth be told, we wouldn’t eat either one, but the later is greater for washing clothes. Here’s what you will need:

* 3 Boxes, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz)

* 1 Large Box of Eco Nuts Soap Nuts (approx 8 cups of berries or 4 cups soap nuts pow powder)

* 1 Tub, OxiClean Free or “Baby” (3 lbs)

* 1 Box Baking soda (16 oz)

Run all of the ingredients through a food processor, add to a sack or bottle to dispense. Add one or two tablespoons to your laundry.

 

No-Grate Laundry Detergent

If you are tired of all the grating that comes with other detergent recipes, try this one. Here’s what you will need:

3 Tbs Borax

3 Tbs Washing Soda 2 Tbs Dawn Dish soap

Combine these products in a one-gallon jug. Pour 4 cps boiling water in the jug. Mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly dissolved in the liquid. Let mixture cool. Then fill to the top with cold water.

 

Easy Laundry Soap

OK. Why this one is called “Easy” is beyond us. Let’s just say that it’s easier to make than others. Everything you need to make it is here.

1 Bar (14 oz) Fels-Naptha, Zote Soap

2 Cps Arm & Hammer Super Wash

2 Cps Borax Mix all of this together, and you’ve got a great, and inexpensive detergent.

Homemade Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Detergent

This recipe is a little more work than others but still is nice. Combine these ingredients:

1 Cup Eco Nuts berries (approx. 2 oz)4 Cups Water1/2 Cup Vinegar (natural preservative)

Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring it to a boil, stirring and mashing the lumps as it cooks. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer, and let it cook for 30 minutes. This takes out a lot of the excess water. After the simmering is finished, put the mixture through a piece of mesh into a clear jar for use.

 

Castile Soap

If you’re really into protecting the environment, this is a safe bet for you. Here are the ingredients:

Washing soda or baking soda

SaltThieves Household Cleaner

That’s part one of this recipe. For packing an extra punch, add these ingredients:

White vinegar or fabric softener

Hydrogen peroxide

1/2 Tbs of citric acid

This recipe is great on everything but diapers.

 

And that’s it. If all of these seems like a bit too much work for you, give the Laundry Center a call. With not only making your laundry cleaner than you have probably ever seen it, plus free pick-up and delivery, it couldn’t be easier.

Which Temperature is Best for Washing Clothes?

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It’s a dilemma that nearly everyone faces. No, we’re not talking about who to vote for in the coming election. In fact, it’s probably more serious than even that: which temperature is best for washing clothes? It’s an issue that faces everyone but doesn’t play favorites. Making matters worse is the matter of all the new and different fabrics introduced that all seem to have different washing instructions. What’s the authoritative source? That’s what follows.

When to Use Hot Water. It’s the bane of everyone’s existence. Using hot water might be bad for the environment, but when it comes to certain clothes, it’s the best. Hot water, or that which is heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, is the best to use when special consideration must be given to removing germs as well as heavy soil. Granted, it can fade and damage some fabrics, but without those, hot water does do certain jobs very well, and perhaps even best. Before you touch the hot water button, make sure you read the labels on your clothing to make sure you’ve got it right.

When to Use Warm Water. It used to be that warm water, that which is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, was the all-purpose go-to when it came to making a water temperature selection. When in doubt, choose warm water, they used to say. The truth is that there is a certain amount of wisdom in that reasoning. The truth is that most clothes can be safely washed with warm water. Not only does warm water clean clothes well, but it will do so without any significant fading or shrinking.

When to Use Cold Water. Cold water might be the darling of environmentalists, but whether you’re a tree-hugger or not, you’ll be thrilled to know that cold water is great for use on bright colors that might bleed or on delicate fabrics. Cold water, or that which is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, also saves considerable amounts of energy and is an excellent choice, as practically everyone knows, if you want to be more eco-friendly. If you do select cold water, it would probably be best to pre-treat or pre-soak your clothes, especially if they are heavily soiled.

Just as a rule of thumb you might want to keep in mind that the lower the temperature of the water you use, the less detergent you will need. Below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, no detergent performs well. Regardless, don’t make the water you use too hot either. Washing clothes that are heavily soiled in hot water can set stains. For those clothes that are heavily soiled, pre-wash them in cool water, and then wash them again in hot water. The water you use to rinse with can always be cold without any harmful effects on your load. If you rinse fabrics in cold water, it will keep wrinkling to a minimum, won’t set stains, and will save lots of precious energy.

If the only water temperature you want to deal with is for your bubble bath, why not call the Laundry Center for your next NYC laundry pickup and delivery? Not only will they always use the optimal temperature for getting your clothes cleaner than you have ever seen them, but they will pick up and deliver your clothes for free. If you’re in your bubble bath when we arrive with your laundry, we’ll let ourselves in and leave everything in the front closet.

How to Make Laundry Washing Powder

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If it’s a part of your plan to become more of a do it yourself “natural” kind of person then we put together a post that will help you do just that.

Here we will talk about how to create your very own laundry washing powder without stepping one foot in a  supermarket. The good news in this is that not only can it be done very easily, with ingredients are normally very easy to find and mixing up a batch is a cinch.

Here are the ingredients:

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap or Zote (available online or in most grocery or hardware stores.

Zote is often available in Hispanic grocery stores)

1/2 Cup Washing Soda

1/2 Cup Borax

If you want to add essential oils, feel free to include them to your tastes.

Now it’s time to bring out the witch’s cauldron to make your first batch.

If you haven’t grated the Naptha Soap or Zote, you will need to do so with a food processor. Remember that the package of Zote is usually about twice the size of a bar of Naptha Soap, so if you want to use the entire package of Zote, you will need to double the measurement of the remaining ingredients to make the consistency right. A benefit of this, of course, is that you will have a double-sized batch which, if you are going to make a mess, why not go ahead and do it? The ingredients will easily fit into a standard sized food processor anyway, so why not?

Once you have grated the soap, next add the washing soda to the mixture. If you can’t find washing soda, opt for baking soda and oxi-clean instead. Oxi-clean is essentially the same thing, but with added peroxide, which does add some bleaching action, but should be color safe. Baking soda is also half as alkaline as washing soda, so by using baking soda, you will have a gentler soap as a result.

It is important to note that when you include the Oxi-clean, be careful to add it slowly since the peroxide will tend to bubble once it hits the mixture. So if you don’t want a frothy mess, be careful.

On the other hand, if all of this natural stuff, not to mention the chemistry lesson is a little too much for you, try instead using The Laundry Center for your next laundry pickup and delivery. Not only will you avoid the soapy mess, but they will pick up and deliver your laundry wherever you happen to be, even if you’re busy making your laundry detergent at the time.