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How to Prevent Unwanted Shrinking and Stretching

laundry-shrink

You’ve just gotten home with that sweater you’ve been eyeing since last payday, and it’s a perfect fit. You do some laundry washing over the weekend, and out the sweater comes, three sizes larger than when you left the store. What just happened?

 

Those who have had enough time with the laundry will know that shrinking and stretching can happen even if you follow all the “rules” of washing to the letter. In fact, several different factors can predict the clothes’ ability to hold up to the stress of washing: the fibers used, the eave, and even the process of manufacturing the garments have their own say in this tendency.

 

This does not mean, however, that there are no clear steps you can take to prevent stretching and shrinking from happening. Here are a few tips that can be useful:

 

1. Read the labels completely before you decide to purchase the garment. If the fibers are natural (cotton, bamboo, wool, etc.), make sure to look for the “pre-shrunk” tag. This ensures that there will be less change to the garment’s size during its lifetime.

 

2. Use either cold or warm water when washing. While this does not totally eliminate the case of shrinking or stretching it does lessen the damage to the fabric during the laundry process.

 

3. If you are using a washer, opt for the “gentle” cycle or that which does not have prolonged agitation and spin cycles.

 

4. If you have an option to do so, use high-efficiency washers, either in the front-loading or top-loading variants. These washers do not have center agitators, and their tumbling action is significantly more gentle than the forced actions of a standard washer.

 

5. Do not go for excessive drying. It is always best to air-dry, but if you do not have this option then us lower heat options on the dryer. Also, remove the clothes while still slightly damp to help preserve their fit. For knits or loosely woven items, dry them on a flat surface so that the weight of the water does not force them to stretch.

 

6. Do not wear your clothes for extended periods before washing, since this can result in stretching. Regular washing actually helps control the garment’s fit.

 

Then of course, there is always the option of enlisting the help of a laundry washing service to take care of your clothes for you. Clothes are investments, after all, and are meant to be taken care of.

The One Trick to Remove Grease Stains

grease-stains

When your man of the house has spent a whole day in the garage tinkering with his engine block, you know what you’ll find in the laundry the next day – a half-mountain of grease-splattered overalls, shirts, and maybe a few rags.

 

Come to think of it, you don’t even to be working with cars to get grease on your clothes. Even a quick few minutes working in the kitchen can have cooking oil ruining your clothes.

 

As any housewife knows, this is one of the easiest ways to ruin clothes, most of the time requiring the laundry center nearest you to get the stain removed. There is a trick, however, to taking care of grease stains – and it lies not in the laundry area, but in the kitchen.

 

The answer that will relieve the laundry center a small fraction of the effort is simple dish soap. And here are the easy steps to use it:

 

1. Place the stained garment stain-side down on a set of white paper towels. Make sure not to use printed paper towels, as these could transfer the ink color to your clothes. Cut the grease by applying a dime-sized drop of the dish soap on the back of the stain. This works best when the stain is still fresh, and you may need to use larger amounts for stains that have already set in.

 

2. Rub the soap vigorously into the area, saturating it. Let this sit for a few minutes.

 

3. Rinse the stain under warm water. This will loosen the gunk and take away as much of the stain as possible even before actually washing the garment. If you are unsure that the garment can handle warm water, you may use a cool water rinse that gradually increases temperature as long as the stain remains.

 

4. Wash the garment as usual. Remember to follow the instructions placed on the garment label.

 

5. Upon rinsing, notice that the grease stains have all been rubbed out. Your clothes are now as good as new! If the stain is really tough and you can still see parts of it after washing, simply repeat the dishwashing soap step.

 

Dishwashing soap products are specifically formulated to remove grease from kitchenware, and thus it would come as no surprise that the same application can be extended to clothes. The better part is that this same trick works for all oil-based products that happen to stain your clothes – even stubborn oil paint drops can be removed using this simple trick!

Washing Dark Fabrics

 

dark-clothes

Dark clothing and fabrics look good because of their deep, dark hue. Once the color and intensity fades, the lack of contrast makes the clothing or fabric look old. Faded jeans, blankets, bed sheets and blouses look like they needed to be replaced even though they are still usable. Here are some tips on how to prevent dark fabric from fading.

 

 

 

 

  1. It’s Dye

 

Most commercially available textiles derive their dark color from dyes. Dyes have the tendency to fade especially when exposed to repeated washing and bleach. What you need to do is to prevent the dyes from being washed off the fabric.

 

  1. Using Natural Additives

 

Do not make the mistake of thinking that natural and organic additives are weak. A lot of people are using baking soda, for example, to remove unpleasant odor from clothing and to keep white fabrics bright. When it comes to washing dark clothing, you can use vinegar, salt and even baking soda.

 

For the vinegar, add 1 cup of white vinegar when rinsing the load. The vinegar smell will fade as the fabric dries. When washing new colored clothes, use ½ cup rock salt in the wash cycle. This prevents the dark colors from bleeding too much. To keep the colors vibrant, add ½ cup of baking soda during the wash cycle.

 

  1. Do not Leave your Clothes under the Sun for Too Long.

 

The sun can fade the colors. You can see this effect in billboards and posters that have been outdoors for too long. Take your clothing inside once it is dry.

  1. Turn them inside out.

 

Turning your dark clothing inside out when washing lessens the impact of the detergent to the dye. This is especially helpful for dark denim.

 

  1. Line Dry as much as Possible

Line drying your clothes is safer for the environment because it produces no carbon dioxide. It helps the water evaporate naturally. Although it may take a longer time to dry, line drying is friendlier to colored clothes because it uses no high heat. Heat can fade the colors of fabrics.

 

  1. Color Safe Bleach

 

Never use ordinary chlorine bleach on dark clothing. Instead, use color safe bleach for colored clothing.

 

  1. Use Cold Water

 

Cold water prevents dye from quickly seeping out of the textile fibers. Rinse dark and colored clothing using cold water as much as possible. Also, use the shortest cycle for rinsing when washing clothes.

Washing White Fabrics

white-fabrics

Dark clothes and fabrics look best when dark. Just like them, white fabrics look best in their brightest form. However, due to constant washing, exposure to sweat, deodorant and other inevitable stains, whites gradually turn yellowish. Here are a few tips on how to prevent white fabrics from turning grayish or yellowish overtime.

 

 

 

 

  1. Separate them.

 

Most people own few white clothing. As a result, they tend to mix them with colored fabrics to save time. The dyes of other fabrics will cling unto white fibers. The only way to remove the dye is to bleach the white fabrics. To avoid this hassle, wash white fabrics alone.

 

  1. Check water quality.

 

Hard water has minerals like magnesium and calcium that make detergents less effective. Unfortunately most households have hard tap water. Hard water that is rich in iron leaves reddish stains. If your tap water has iron, then using chlorine bleach will make the fabric even yellower. Replace chlorine bleach with oxygen bleach. See if your supermarket carries iron-removing detergent. You can also have a water softener installed to save money from constantly buying special detergents.

 

  1. Use hot water.

 

When washing dark clothing, use cold water to prevent the colors from bleeding. When washing white clothing, use the hottest water that your hands can tolerate. Don’t use boiling or scalding water as it can ruin the clothes elasticity. The heat will help any dirt and grease to dislodge easier.

 

  1. Add Baking Soda or Borax

 

Baking soda is widely used to keep white fabrics white and colored fabrics bright. It is a safe and versatile additive when washing clothes, blankets and bed sheets. Add ½ cup of baking soda during the wash cycle. If you hand wash delicates, you can add the same amount, too.

 

  1. Use Liquid Oxygen Bleach for Stains

 

Before completely laundering the clothing item, soak the stained clothing in water, take it out and then put undiluted liquid oxygen bleach to underarm stains, food spills and other colored stains.

 

  1. Line Dry it Outdoors

 

The UV rays and heat from the sun can help in whitening fabrics. They help fade the stains and the color so make sure that the clothing or fabric is pure white.

 

  1. Color Remover on Grayish White Fabrics

 

Bleach may not be effective in removing the gray undertones in white fabrics. For this, see if your supermarket carries a color remover. If it doesn’t work, try a detergent with optical brighteners. These detergents have a bluish tint in them to help white clothing appear bright.

Choosing a Laundry Detergent

detergent-aisle

When you go to the supermarket, you have no choice but to pass an entire aisle lined with different kinds of laundry detergents in all scents, sizes, packaging and brands. They are all advertised as the best detergent that removes 99.9% of dirt and bacteria. You have already ruled out a laundry service because you want to do your own laundry. As a wise consumer, how would you choose a laundry detergent that you need?

 

Concentrated Formula

 

Today, an increasing number of manufacturers are releasing concentrated detergents because this saves them money in packaging, inventory and delivery. Concentrated detergents (usually liquid detergents) are housed in a smaller packaging but are more powerful. Some come in single dose packs. If you have children, then keep concentrated detergents away from them since these can be at least twice as toxic.

 

Powder, Liquid or Pods

 

Laundry detergents come in different forms. Powder detergents are best used for everyday clothing to remove light skin sebum, sweat, blood, clay and foul smell. Liquid detergents are ideal for greasy and oil-stained clothing. Single dose packs (powder or liquid), although expensive, remove all kinds of stubborn dirt. Powder detergents, in general, work less effective with cold water. Detergent pods are packages that contain washing detergent, brightener and stain remover. The pods have a separate chamber that contains the three solutions.

 

Ordinary and Color Safe Bleach

 

Bleach is good for white clothing. However, if colored clothing are heavy soiled or stained, you may need to bleach the stains. Only use color safe bleach on colored clothes and fabrics. Some detergents feature “oxi” or “oxy” in their packaging. Oxi or sodium percarbonate is a color-safe bleach. However, some brands claim to have oxi without using sodium percarbonate. Sodium percarbonate is weaker than chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite).

 

Optical Brighteners

 

Detergents that claim to have optical brighteners have a bluish tint that makes whites look brighter and less yellowish.

 

Front and Top Loading Washing Machines

 

Front loading washing machines are best used with less water and high-efficiency detergents that produce less suds. Top loading washing machines are perfect for conventional liquid, power and single dose packs where detergents with less suds may be too weak.

 

Organic Detergents

 

Detergents that have 95% organic materials can be labeled as organic detergents. These detergents are perfectly suitable for delicate items such as brassieres and baby’s clothing, blanket and bed sheet because of the absence of artificial fragrances. Most organic detergents come in powder form.