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Thread: Laundry woes

  1. #1
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    Laundry woes

    I’m beginning to think my washing machine stinks…or I just have a slovenly kid…or its my laundry detergent…or I suck at doing laundry…or all of the above

    Does anyone have any tips for me?

    My washer IS old…it’s NOT a front loader. I use Costco brand free and clear type laundry detergent and have tried almost every stain stick, oxyclean powder etc that’s on the market and still we have stains.

    It’s just frustrating when you feel like you only have ONE day of stain free wearing, which is the day you rip the tags off. Even things like washable Crayola markers aren’t coming off.

    Advice? Has anyone moved from a ten-ish year old washing machine to a new model and been wowed with the results.

    I’m definitely not a pageant-mom. AT ALL but I like my kids to be stain free for a least part of the day.

    The kicker is that my seven year old, who is by no means chubby but not super skinny either fits the BEST into Hannah Andersson clothes, which aren’t cheap, and they are stain almost immediately.

  2. #2
    I use Shout on stains-- I spray on the spots just as soon as I see them, let the clothes sit for a little while (an hour at most) and then wash in warm water. Don't let clothes sit overnight--Shout can remove some color.

  3. #3
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    Well, if it makes you feel any better, we are a family of 2 adults, and I feel like I spend a lot of time treating stains! We're just messy, I guess! We don't have the whole range of kid-type stains, but random food/grease, perspiration, etc. And my DH is constantly rubbing against a car or something like that.

    I am a firm believer in Tide, but I still use plenty of Shout Advanced and Oxyclean (both spray and powder). I routinely soak things in Oxyclean overnight before washing. When something has something more than a minor stain, I hang it up to dry so I can see if the stain came out; if it didn't, I continue to treat it with Shout Advanced - if you read the label, I think it talks about repeated treatment for a few days. I've even had it work on things that I ran through the dryer.

    I haven't had trouble with Shout removing color, but I have made that mistake with Oxyclean spray occasionally.

  4. #4
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    Do you have softened water?
    Can you try to add borax or baking soda to your wash?
    Are you using hot or cold or warm??
    How long are you letting the stains sit?
    And most of all, what types of stains (blood needs cold water, etc..)
    I too pretreat stuff if I have, say, a tomato and oil (sauce) type stain while I cook. I also use Tide.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  5. #5
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    I've noticed that baking soda has made a big difference. I buy the big bags at Costco. I use about half the amount of detergent (I also use the Costco brand liquid) that I normally would and then add about a 1/4 cup of baking soda and use hot water for my whites.
    ~JW~

  6. #6
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    We went through a similar phase. If everything seems to not be clean enough, I would check your hot water (older washers don't have heaters and rely on the water coming in hot enough). You might be able to switch to a hot cycle or turn up your water heater, especially if you have it set down for the kids baths, etc.

    As Wallycat pointed out, it is important to know what the satin ism because they need different treatments. The hot water that will get out grass and dirt will set blood and chocolate. If your active kiddo fell and you have clothes with grass, dirt and blood, prewash the blood out with cold water and a squirt of hand soap, rinse, then pretreat and wash for the dirt and grass. Just rinsing off most of it is fine if you are going to wash with warm or cold, but hot water will set blood and chocolate stains and make them nearly impossible to get out. Bleach might take it out on whites and you can try oxyclean with colors.

    Try not to let stains sit too long. Some prewash treatments can be used in advance while others can discolor or even set a stain if left too long. Check the instructions for the product(s) you are using.

    Make sure you aren't cramming too much laundry in a load and that you have enough water for the clothes to swish around. The action of the water moving through the fabric is important and you need enough water to not get get so dirty that it can't rinse effectively.

    Don't put clothes in the dryer if they are still stained. I ususally retreaat and wash again or soak in oxyclean and then wash again. I have soaked a few things in Oxyclean overnight 3 or 4 times to get stubborn stains -- like those the dryer has set in or dye transfers.

    Tomato stains have been trickier for me in my new washer and I'm not sure if it is the washer or the reformulated detergents (I know I had to start using more in my DW when the phosphates were eliminated), but even with oxyclean, borax and shout, I would sometimes get orange shadows. I found a tip on GardenWeb to use vinegar. I just put a little on the spot before washing and it has really helped with any stubborn tomato based stains.

    Oily stains may need a bit of detergent rubbed into them before washing. You can even take a squirt of Dawn dishwashing liquid and rub into it, then rinse well before washing. If you leave the Dawn in there, it will create an overload of suds in your washer. Might not be as bad in your top loader, but I'm not taking any chances in my front loader.

    I went away from Tide for a while and was using Arm& Hammer because it was so much cheaper and it was working. The price went up and the clothes weren't getting as clean, so I'm back to Tide now.

    If all else fails, it may be time to get a new washer. A true repairman might be able to diagnose and fix something to keep it running, but I'd put my money into a new and more efficient machine. The on board water heaters can really make a difference with heavily soiled laundry (mine has a sanitary cycle and anti-allergy cycle with steam -- don't use it a lot, but it is nice to have it when I need it). Washers used to last an average of 15 years or so and you might find them running at 20 years or more. Now, expect something more like 7-10 years. The newer ones are more energy and water efficient and you might find some rebates on top of sales. If you need to squeeze the budget (remember what clothes, detergent and prewash and repeated washing are costing you), look for a scratch and dent deal.

    Hope something there helps.

  7. #7
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    Thanks all. I think I am going to invest in some Tide. I do try to treat visable stains that day..but even with that some of them sit for over 10 hours. I usually keep my washer set on the "cool/warm" setting. I'll bump it up to hot. I'm not sure if our water is soft or not. How do I tell?

    Thanks again, I'm also going to grab a big thing of baking soda next time I am at costco.

    The last stain that didn't come out was magic marker. I treated with spray and wash and also some of the powdery oxyclean, I kind of made it into a paste, and still no luck.

  8. #8
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    Ink requires rubbing alcohol. NOt sure what magic marker is considered, but if all else fails, try some rubbing alcohol.
    Borax also is a great booster/cleaner.

    Do you have a water softener in the house? (add bags of salt to it.)
    If no, you probably have hard water.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  9. #9
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    No water softener here..thanks for the tip on the borax and rubbing alcohol!

    I knew you guys could help!

  10. #10
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    I can't remember the brand name, but a friend of mine with a small child told me about these little bottles of stain-specific remover. I bought one for ink, but there are several specific ones. The bottle is small, but it doesn't take much to treat a single stain. Stain Devil? Stain Dog? Something like that.


    While we are on the subject, can someone enlighten me about the difference in treating things with acid (vinegar) vs. base (baking soda)? It seems like they would work on different things? I do use vinegar instead of fabric softener; wouldn't that negate the effects of adding baking soda to a load of wash?

  11. #11
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    Tomatoes are acidic, so the acidity of vinegar apparently helps dissolve or loosen those stains. I have also heard of vinegar being used as a rinse agent in place or a fabric softener though I hear conflicting things about whether that can be hard on the eals in front loaders.

    Baking soda is alkaline, as are detergents, and helps detergents work better and is also suggested for removing odors. Borax too -- and it says it helps get clothed clean in cool or warm water washes where hot cannot be used, though don't know enough about how or if they work differently.

    If I use baking soda, I put it in the prewash. I only spot treat with vinegar -- even though the prewash stuff should be rinsed out before the fabric softener dispenses, I just don't want to risk the school volcano demonstration in my washer. If you added them both to the entire load at the same time, you could cancel them out, but the process would be that chemistry demo diluted by whatever water was pressent.

    You can probably find a laundrty stain chart on the internet and print it out to keep in a sleeve protector near your W&D.

  12. #12
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    Shout Advanced can be left on the clothes for up to a week! That's my go-to for tough stains. Oxi-clean stain stick for other stains, and spray Oxi-clean, as well as Oxi-clean in the wash water. Don't use Clorox 2 in the same load, though, as that can leave brown stains on the clothes.

    I have changed from the top loader to the front loader (Duet Sport) and have definitely noticed that my clothes are cleaner... WAY cleaner!!! I rarely use hot water, except for towels and whites.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  13. #13
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    I found this list on Lifehacker recently, they suggest Purell for "ink," hope this helps. Several laundry recs that might be of interest to you...

    http://www.picklee.com/2012/04/13/10.../#.T41s8zJWpoZ

    Also echoing the overnight soaks in Oxy to brighten whites and tackle some stains, that stuff is amazing (I probably use 2x as much as I need to, but I love me some white whites when I wear them and I can flat out yellow a white garment).
    I'm a Tar Heel born, I'm a Tar Heel bred.....

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