Laundry Disasters Happen– here’s how to recover quickly

Picture this you just got home from work, started dinner and tossed in a load of laundry.  Oops- disaster strikes. You find an exploded pen… or maybe your load of perfect whites is now a lovely shade of light pink. Yikes!  When disaster strikes here is how to recover quickly.

1. Dried Stains.

Once a stain has dried, it’s usually difficult to remove.  More than likely you’ll need to soak the stain or use a more aggressive stain remover.  On white clothes, try using lemon juice and placing the garment in the sun.  Both the lemon juice and the sun will work as bleaching agents. Be sure to rinse the clothing thoroughly before rewashing.

2. Dingy Whites.

White fabrics can become yellowed or grayed and dingy.  For gray and dingy whites try the triple soak.  Soak the whites first in a solution of a bucketful of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Next rinse out the whites and soak in a solution of 2 tablespoons of ammonia and a bucketful of water.  Next, rinse out the whites, and soak in a bucket of warm water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and dry.  This soaking method will leave your whites bright and clean.

3. Wrinkled Clothes.

If clothes have been neglected in the dryer for too long they are likely quite wrinkled.  To smooth out the wrinkles, put the load back in the dryer with a damp towel (for a medium-sized load) or a damp sock (for a small load).

4. Pink Whites.

A red sock in the washer with your whites can leave you with some weird rose-colored laundry. To try to fix this problem you’ll need Rit Color Remover.  This product works wonders on white laundry that had dye transfer on it.  The Rit Color Remover can also be effective at removing dye on some colored or patterned backgrounds, although you run the risk of having the original color or pattern of the garment damaged.

5. Crayons in the Dryer.

I’ll never forget the time I looked in the dryer to see streaks of red crayon melted around the drum.  To get rid of it,  start with scraping off as much of the wax as you can.  Using something like a credit card doesn’t scratch the drum, but does a good job of removing dried on wax.  Depending on how tough the wax is to remove, you might need to use a blow dryer to remove the wax.  Hold the dryer 6 inches away from the drum.  It will heat up the wax, allowing you to wipe it away.  Next, you’ll need some WD-40.  Spray it on a cloth and wipe at the waxed areas until the wax is gone.  For your final step, use a mild detergent like dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner and warm water to do a final wipe down of the drum.

6. Mildew Smells or Stains.

Did you forget about the clothes in the washer and now they have a sour smell?  If the clothes smell, but aren’t stained by pinpoint sized dots of mildew, you may be able to rewash them with a helping of bleach for whites, or color-safe bleach for colors.  If you indeed have mildew stains, washing with chlorine bleach will remove the stains from white clothing.  For colored clothing use a mixture of color-safe oxygen bleach (1 teaspoon) , and hydrogen peroxide (1 cup)  to sponge the stained areas before rinsing thoroughly and rewashing. Clothes may also benefit from soaking in a borax solution.

7. A Pen Explodes.

If a pen found its way into your laundry,  it can wreak a lot of havoc before it’s found.  Whether you realize there are ink stains after clothes are washed, or after they are dried, the steps are the same.

The first solution to try is rubbing alcohol. Place the clothing on top of a clean white towel. Be sure to test in a hidden spot before applying rubbing alcohol to the permanent ink stain. Blot rubbing alcohol onto the stain. The towel underneath will become wet and discolored from the ink. Be sure to move the garment to a clean dry section of the towel as this happens. Continue until no more ink stain can be removed. Make sure you rinse the stained area completely free of the rubbing alcohol. Next try fingernail polish remover. Blot in the same way as you did with the rubbing alcohol, moving the stained area to a clean dry section of a towel as the ink stain is removed. Rinse thoroughly.  This will work more effectively if the clothes haven’t been dried, but it can still work on set in stains, it will just take a lot of patience.

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Jody Thompson

I'm going to blog about my many shopping escapades. Whether it is a used book store, a thrift shop or a consignment shop-- I'm here to tell all about my experiences. When I find great stuff-- I'll let you know. I'm sending good karma to all the thrifty shoppers out there!

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