Friday, August 22, 2008

Affresh washer cleaner promotion


A while ago, I posted about a cool product- Affresh washer cleaner tablets. If you have a front load washer, you might notice a smell that begins to come from your washer after you have been using it for some time. Affresh washer cleaner tablets help get rid of that odor – and now they have a promotion where you can buy a pack of tablets, and they'll pay for the shipping! You just visit this link and pop in this promotion code when you're checking out: NBL822

Pretty cool! I love me some free shipping!

Bleach


So much Laundry to talk about, so little time!

Why use bleach? Whiter whites, it helps remove soil, it disinfects.
Despite the directions on your bottle of bleach, you should add bleach about 5-6 minutes after starting your load of laundry, and dilute it with about a quart of water before adding it. It’s important to wait because that allows the detergent time to work - adding too early can actually work against the detergent, breaking the detergent down. That’s bad for both the bleach and the detergent! Diluting helps make sure you don't discolor your clothes by getting bleach directly on the clothes.

Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to have a washer with a bleach dispenser, then you can just use that- it removes the need to dilute, and it dispenses after the load starts. Technology these days!

Before using bleach - make sure to read your labels - some garments are labeled "No Bleach" - meaning (guess what) – in that case, don’t use it!

And don’t forget that there are color-safe bleaches for colored laundry- that will help clean heavily soiled clothes – like the stuff sitting in my gym bag.


BE CAREFUL when using bleach - there are some household cleaning tips that suggest combining bleach with other products to do heavy duty cleaning. Adding either vinegar or lemon juice to bleach can release chlorine gas, and you REALLY don't want to be breathing that.

For more info on bleach, check out these sites:
http://www.clorox.com/products/usage.php?prod_id=clb
http://www.cleaning101.com/laundry/fact/fact_sheet3.html

Stay stain free- wherever you go!


Most people with televisions have seen the commercials for instant stain removers - there's the army commercial where the drill sergeant asks if his soldier is a ‘gosh darn Houdini’, and there's the commercial about the talking stain.

But did you know that there are actually a bunch of cool stain removing products- some for on the go, and some for at home. Very cool. Which products works best? Not a clue. I don’t have room in my pockets to keep any of the on the go products.
Here’s a link that talks about a bunch of stain removing products.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

HE Washers and Detergent


So check this out – HE (High Efficiency) washers need different detergent than regular washers. You should use HE detergent if you have an HE washer- HE washers are very suds-sensitive, and HE detergents suds up less than normal detergents. This means that the more detergent you use, the more likely that there will be suds, and if there are too many, it will cause your cycle to pause and wait for the suds to go down. There are some people online that have said that their wash cycle took 3 hours instead of the 45 minutes it was supposed to take! Make sure you read directions to see how much HE detergent is recommended!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Green Detergent

I feel compelled to talk for a moment about Green Detergents. Everywhere we look, green is becoming more and more important. We are beginning to realize that as a society, we are polluting, using too much energy, etc. We’re buying more energy efficient appliances, cars with better gas mileage, light bulbs that use less energy, and these days you can also buy green laundry detergent! Well- not literally green, but environmentally safe. There are more and more retailers selling green products now- and not just detergents either – products for cleaning all sorts of things in your house. I’m not sure that I want to try these yet, though. I’m not quite ready to give up my dessert scented detergent.

Scents are in!


Survey says: scents are in. We love to smell good (look at how much money we spend buying colognes and perfumes!) and more and more of us are buying all sorts of products that contain scents. If we didn’t, home air fresheners wouldn’t be in the marketplace. I know there are plenty of people who can’t stand scents- and that’s fine too, but with scented laundry detergents, its gotten kind of crazy. Lots of companies started with all sorts of generic “mountain”, “stream”, or “breeze” related scents- it made your clothes smell fresh. But now they own crazy smells- things like “mango-razama-fru-fru-lilac-berry”. And it begs the question: is it wrong to want to eat your laundry?

And more importantly: will people still talk to me now that I smell like a smoothie?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The math behind a high efficiency washer

Looking for a reason to switch to a high efficiency washer? How about 3 reasons:

1) You Save Water – Normal washers use around 50 gallons of water per load while High efficiency washers only use around 18-25 gallons of water per cycle. This is a HUGE savings!

2) You Save Energy – Do you know how much energy is takes to heat 50 gallons of water compared to only having to heat 18-25 gallons? You’re using around half the energy!

3) You SAVE MONEY – Guess what those water and energy savings turn into? Money in your pocket! Will you have to pay extra up front for the high efficiency appliance? Yes- probably. But you could save money in the long run – just look at how energy costs are increasing. The actual amount of money you’ll save varies on how much laundry you do, and the price of water and energy in your area. And in some areas, you can get rebates for buying energy efficient appliances – here’s a rebate in California that can give you back as much as $135 (if you qualify)!

So lets go over that again.... you get to save the environment, AND money?!?!? Tell me again why we aren't all buying high efficiency washers!?!

Dry clean at home!

I’m cheap. I’ll admit it. I don’t like paying a dollar an item for dry cleaning, and I’d easily spend an extra $500 a year if I dry cleaned as often as I’m supposed to.

But there are a couple of products that let you dryclean at home. You’ve seen it before, right? You just take your clothes that are supposed to be dry cleaned, zip them into a bag with a pre-moistened cloth, put them in your dryer for 30 minutes, and then hang it.

This whole routine is a heck of a lot easier than taking things to the drycleaners – and you can throw in things like sweaters and other hard to clean items.

Here’s a link that does a great job explaining how these dry cleaning bags work:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-dry-cleaning3.htm

Granted – those bags are nice, but lets think… These bags are just heat plus moisture. Where have we seen that before? How about inside steam dryers! So you can go either way – keep buying the bags, or just make sure your next dryer has steam!

Ironing

I remember days not too long ago when I didn’t have to wear clothes to work that needed ironing. Nowadays, almost everything I wear needs ironing. Because I’m too cheap to dryclean, and don’t always use those dry cleaning bags for your dryer, I bought a decent iron, and taught myself how. This video actually sums up the basics really well:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fabric Softener- yay or nay?


Fabric softeners do several things for your laundry - it will help them smell nice, make the fabric softer (gasp! Shock!), and also remove static cling. Using fabric softener is purely an individual preference.

BUT if you are using an HE washer, beware – HE washers use less water, meaning there is less water to clear away any leftover softener residue. This residue (along with the detergent residue) may build up and is a great place for mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow, and that could lead to a nasty smell coming from your washer. (See the blog post on Affresh washer tablets, or the Affresh website). Make sure to only use the recommended amount of fabric softener. More does not necessarily mean softer!

Designing the Ultimate Laundry Room

I know sooooo many people (including myself) who don’t have a laundry room. Instead, they (we) have our laundry machines tucked away somewhere- the corner of our basement, a deep closet, etc.

But what if you could design your own laundry room? My parents did – they installed cabinets above their side by side washer/dryer, and hung a couple of bars for a place to hang items that have been ironed.

There are also some handy accessories for your laundry room- lots of people are getting pedestals that go under their washer and dryer – these provide a storage bin, as well as a perfect height for taking clothes in and out of the machine. Whirlpool has taken it upon themselves to add a few more goodies- first, the 1-2-3 Worksurface. That surface gives you a heavy-duty continuous surface on the top of your machine – allowing you to fold clothes or rest other items on top, without worrying about them falling in the crack. (I swear, someday I’ll move the machines and get that button!)

For those with room next to your machine – Whirlpool also makes laundry towers – can you say “More storage room?” Not only is there more storage room, but there is a pull-out rod so that you can hang items! What do they look like together? Not too shabby.

And if you really want to re-work a room in your house, check out this design my room website, which lets you create a room, add appliances, move them around, etc.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hampers: The overlooked helpers.


How do you get your laundry to the washing machine? You could carry it by hand, inevitably dropping socks and unmentionables behind you as you go. You could carry them by sack, though having a large sack of dirty laundry in your bedroom may look a bit tacky.

Sacks were fine in college, but come on, really? Then there are a whole mess of hampers to choose from – those that collapse, those that roll, and those that hide. When deciding on a hamper, there are a couple of things to consider: Ease of transportation: how easy will it be for you to get your hamper to the washing machine? Do you have to go up/down stairs? If so, how will that rolling hamper help you?

Do you have to take it to a Laundromat? Then you might consider something flexible, making it easy to get in and out of cars. If you have your own home, and have the room, you might consider a hamper that blends in with the d├ęcor- some hampers now look like small chests that allow you to tilt open the front to throw your clothes in.

Do you have kids and hate taking the time to sort? Perhaps you want smaller hampers, but want to get several – each room can have their own pair of hampers: one for whites, one for colors, and then everyone is responsible for getting their clothes into the correct hamper, and for getting it to the laundry room by laundry day. That way, the person doing laundry doesn’t have to do all the sorting. Whatever your choice- don't forget about how convenient these little guys can be!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cool folding trick

Ok – check this out. I've watched it like 7 times, and I still have no idea how she does that!

Fabric freshener by Whirlpool

It seems that “fresh” is all the rage these days. Everyone wants things fresh – from fresh vegetables to fresh rhymes, and now: fresh clothes. More and more washers and dryers are adding steam to freshen clothes, and Whirlpool has this cool device: The Whirlpool Fabric Freshener.



You put your outfit in, make sure there is water in the reservoir, and in a little over 30 minutes, your clothes are ready to be worn. Think about it – you get up, throw your clothes in, go take your shower, get cleaned up, come back out and - BAM! Your clothes are ready to go, and you hardly ever need to iron! I probably spend about 10 minutes of each work-day ironing. That’s nearly 2500 minutes of ironing each year – more than a full day and a half!!! Sign me up!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wash your Washer!

If you have a high efficiency washer, you should think about trying this:

Did you know you should wash your washing machine?!? Its just like an oil change! You change your oil to keep your car running smooth – likewise, you should clean your washing machine to keep it smelling cleaner. There are these cool little Affresh washer cleaner tablets that you can use to help get rid of the smell. If your washer smells already- use 3 tablets- one each in three separate “clean washer” cycles, or “normal wash” cycles, with hot water and no clothing. If it doesn't smell, you just have to use one tablet per month in a “clean washer” cycle, or “normal wash” cycle, with hot water and no clothing. It keeps the inside of your washer from smelling like a mens' locker room! (For those of you who have never had the "pleasure" .... mens' locker rooms smell. BAD.)



Now, I know what you’re thinking – you think that you can clean your washing machine by running bleach through it, and to a degree that’s true… but bleach isn’t as effective- it’s just temporarily kills the bacteria that cause the smell, but doesn’t remove the cause. Instead, you should remove the stuff that the bacteria are clinging to: detergent and fabric softener residue. Affresh washer cleaner tablets help break up and remove that residue to get your washing machine clean again. Do you really want to wash your clothes in a dirty washing machine? Me either!

Which wash cycle to use?

That really depends on your washing machine and the clothes you're washing. Different washers use different terms, and they change from brand to brand, and even product to product.

Generally speaking:
Whites: For your white clothes- typically you want to use warmer/hotter water for this cycle, and you may want to add some bleach. Think about it. This is where much of your underwear and socks will go. Wouldn’t you like hotter water and bleach to help disinfect before you wear them again? Me too.

Colors: This cycle will be cooler, and you probably won’t be using bleach, unless it’s a color-safe bleach. Regular bleach with colored clothes = time to get a new wardrobe.

Permanent Press: A wash cycle that is of medium speed and has a cool-down cycle. This combination reduces the wrinkles in the clothes, and is perfect for washing clothes like blouses and sport shirts, as well as casual business clothes.

Delicates: This cycle is going to use a very gentle agitation so it doesn’t ruin your delicates – think silk, satin, bras, etc. (Anything that might get ruined by rough treatment.)

Good luck, and if you really aren’t sure – check the label, and if worse comes to worse, try cold water and a gentle/slow spin to wash.

Oh- and remember NEVER to wash wool sweaters. I learned that one the hard way, and my favorite sweater is now small enough for the family dog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

For Beginners

In case you haven't the foggiest clue on how to do laundry (at all) - check out expert village. This site has tons of quick videos that feature "how to's" on just about any topic.

Check out this video on how to wash colors:
How to Wash Colors -- powered by ExpertVillage.com

Steam


Lately, there has been a big to-do about steam. Lots of washers and dryers are adding it, as well as other appliances. Is steam really that big a deal? YES. It can be a very big deal. In dryers, high temperatures combine with moisture and helps relax wrinkles and freshen your clothes. In washers, the steam can get rid of the need for pre-treating, because the hot steam penetrates and loosens up the stain.

You see, wrinkles are formed using heat and moisture. Ever notice how your clothes end up wrinkly after you sweat in them? Well- your body heat and sweat caused the wrinkling. When you move clothes to the dryer, they’re all wrinkly from the heat and moisture from the wash cycle. However, if you have steam in your dryer, your clothes get steam treated as they tumble dry, causing them to have fewer wrinkles as they tumble and fluff a bit. I wonder if they could invent a steam treatment to keep US from wrinkling as we age…