Showing posts with label Clothing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clothing. Show all posts

Mar 16, 2010

How Much Laundry Soap Do You Really Need?

According to Consumer Reports, many Americans use too much laundry detergent - primarily because the measuring cups that come with the soap are difficult to read.
"'If the lines aren't clear or are hard to see, it's easy to overdose and use too much detergent,' says Pat Slaven, a program leader in our Technical department who conducted the detergent testing. 'Plus, for all the products we tested, the line for a medium load—the most commonly done load—is less than a full cap, which makes it easier to use too much detergent.' The line for a maximum load is also typically less than a full cap."
Not only does using too much laundry detergent mean you have to buy detergent more often, but according to CR, it can cause lint and soap deposits to develop inside the washing machine - which might cause mold and could restrict filters, resulting in mechanical failure. With high-efficiency washing machines, CR reports, using too much detergent can lead to over-long wash cycles and mechanical failure.

But is laundry detergent even necessary? According to MSN, the answer is usually no. In one reporter's unscientific tests, all her clothes came out just as clean without detergent as they did with detergent.
"Minor stains that I thought would come through unscathed actually washed out. A pair of fluffy cotton socks, which I wear around the house and patio as slippers, was pretty grimy when I put them in the washer. They came out looking exactly the same as they do when they’re washed with detergent.
The socks, which are three or four years old, always have a little gray on the bottom -- no amount of detergent or bleach gets it out. If anything, they actually look a little better than the last time I ran them through the washer.
Peeking into the machine during the wash cycle, I found that the water looked exactly as dirty as it does when I’ve added detergent, only without the suds. The rinse cycle ran clear as tap water."
How can this work? Because modern washing machines clean primarily through their agitators, not through detergent.

I'm not quite ready to give up detergent for really dirty clothes (baby poop and caked on mud, for example), but I was already using only a few tablespoons of laundry detergent for most loads. So I tried this experiment myself and had similar results to the MSN reporter. Wow! Imagine the cost savings! And since laundry detergent is to blame for many rashes, eczema, and dry skin, there could be additional savings from using lotion and Cortizone-10.

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Jan 16, 2010

Dollar Stretching Saturday: Saving $ on Kids' Clothes and Shoes

Imagine a retailer that will replace your children's clothes or shoes if they wear them out before outgrowing them. Seem like a fantasy? It's not. Good ol' Sears offers this deal through their KidVantage program:

"You want the kids’ clothes and shoes you buy to last—especially in today’s economy. That’s why KidVantage Club members get this great guarantee: if the kids’ clothes or shoes you buy at Sears wear out before they’re outgrown, we’ll replace them for free. You’ll get an identical item, whenever possible, or a similar item of equal value in the same size. Please note that you must present your receipt to replace worn-out national brand clothing and shoes."

There is no fee to join KidVantage, although you must sign up for the program before you can take advantage of the guarantee. There is also no time restriction on the guarantee, and KidVantage members also earn regular discounts. Learn more at Sears' website.

(Of course, if your kids have lots of clothes and shoes, they probably won't wear them out before they outgrow them. So buy your kids fewer clothes! This will also make laundry easier to handle.)

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Oct 30, 2009

Teach Little Ones to Put on their Own Jackets

Toddlers and preschoolers are notorious for saying "I'll do it!" Toddler and preschoolers are also notorious for hating to put on a jacket. Make trait #1 put trait #2 to rest by teaching your toddler or preschooler to put on his or her own jacket. She will love the independence, and it's really not difficult, as long as you use an old trick.

1. Place the jacket on the floor, the right side facing down.

2. Have your child stand at the head of the jacket and place her arms inside the sleeves. It will look like she's about to put on her jacket backwards and upside down.

3. Have your child flip the jacket over her head. Viola! It's on correctly and you or your child can now zip it up.

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Oct 26, 2009

Get Out From Under the Laundry Pile

Before I had kids, keeping up with the laundry was no big deal. When our first child came along, I still managed pretty well. But when our youngest child entered the household? Somehow things went amuck.

My husband began giving me withering looks when he discovered, in the wee hours of the morning, he didn't have any shirts appropriate for work. I started digging through the hamper for the jeans I wore the day before (you know, the ones with baby food splattered on them) because I couldn't find any clean clothes. And I began making my oldest wear her chocolate milk stained jammies two nights in a row because I couldn't otherwise seem to keep up with demand.

I won't say I have the laundry thing mastered. However, I have learned a few tricks that make the laundry pile easier to get through. Maybe some of my ideas will work for you, too:

* My best laundry tip is this: Instead of reserving one (or two or three) days a week for doing laundry, do laundry every day except the Sabbath. This keeps the laundry pile under control and makes the chore of cleaning clothes a lot easier. Through trial and error, figure out how many loads you must do each day; in my house, I only need to do one load of laundry, six days a week. Make it a habit, and it will soon become no big deal. Try hard not to skip a day, but if you do, make up for it the very next day.

* If you have room to store them in the laundry or bedroom areas, keep one laundry basket for every bedroom. As you pull things from the dryer or clothes line, sort them room by room into the laundry baskets. If you have time, fold as you sort. Then place the basket in the appropriate bedroom. Put the clothes away later, if necessary, or have the kids put away their own clothes.

* Get the kids involved. Even toddlers can help with the laundry by bringing you dirty clothes and pulling out all the socks, or all of daddy's shirts, or all their own undies, for folding by you. Preschoolers can begin to help with folding and putting clothes away so that by the time they are in grade school they can do this chore easily. (No, they won't fold everything - or perhaps anything - perfectly, but a few wrinkles never hurt anyone.)

* Treat stains before they go into the hamper. If I put Spray N Wash Stain Stick on clothes as they go into the hamper, by the time I do laundry, they usually wash out and I don't have to spend time soaking or otherwise pre-treating. This means I keep a stick wherever clothes might come off, including the bathroom and the kids' rooms.

* Wear clothes more than once. Truly, many clothes can be worn more than once without washing in between. Unless it's smelly or shows dirt, hang it up to wear another day.

* Buy fewer clothes. I know some women who literally buy their kids several wardrobes of clothes because they are always behind on laundry. If you do laundry every day, you don't need as many clothes, which saves you time and money.

* Save time and effort by hanging any items that go on hangers as you take them out of the dryer or off the clothesline. This means you'll need a stash of hangers nearby.

* Mark children's socks with the appropriate child's initials, using puffy fabric paint on the soles. This makes sorting a lot easier.

* Don't separate darks from lights. This may seem revolutionary to some, but I stopped doing separating darks from lights several years ago, and my family's clothes look just fine. If I'm washing new, dark clothes I think might bleed, I wash them separately once, with a cup of vinegar or salt in the wash water.

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Oct 24, 2009

Dollar Stretching Saturday: Bras

Does it seem like your bras don't stay well-fitting for very long? Here's a tip that can really extend the life of your bras and make you more comfortable, too.

When you buy a new bra, choose one that fits well when it's fastened on the last hook. That way, when the bra inevitably stretches, you can adjust the hooks and it will still fit well.

According to MyIntimacy, most of the support you get is from the band, not the straps, making this little precaution even more important. For more bra fitting and life-extending tips, check out

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