Most people are familiar with the sinking sensation of opening up the washing machine only to discover that a laundry disaster has occurred. Perhaps a pen has exploded while a load was in the washer, covering your clothing with blue or black ink, or maybe you've inadvertently washed your favorite sweater in warm or hot water and now it's two sizes too small. Following are fixes for three of the most common laundry mishaps.
Not all sweater can be saved, but you don't have anything to lose by at least trying when you open up the washing machine to discover that your favorite sweater is now small enough to fit your five year old. Here's what might work:
- Add 3 tablespoons of hair conditioner or liquid fabric softener to a 5-gallon bucket filled with room temperature water.
- Soak the sweater in this solution for 10 minutes.
- Dry the sweater off as much as possible with clean, dry towels.
- Place the sweater in a flat position on a clean, dry towel and gently stretch and reshape it.
- Allow the sweater to dry completely on the towel.
This works best with sweaters that have some degree of cotton or spandex in them rather than with ones that are made of pure wool.
It's easy for pens to get left in pockets when the time comes to do the wash, particularly if you're throwing a load into the washer after coming home from a long day at work. The resulting stains can sometimes be removed with a combination of rubbing alcohol and perseverance. As soon as possible after discovering the stains, place the affected clothing on a clean, old towel that you don't mind staining. Using a cotton swab, blot the stained fabric with a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol in order to transfer the ink to the towel. As the towel becomes stained, move the fabric to clean portions of it and repeat the blotting procedure until the ink has been thoroughly removed from the fabric. This works best if you catch it right after the load is finished washing. If you reach a point where the rubbing alcohol will not remove any more of the stain, try blotting it with nail polish remover.
Mold or Mildew Stains and Smell
One of the hazards of balancing work and household obligations is losing track of where you're at in the sequence of domestic chores, particularly if you're scrambling to get them done during the course of a busy week. It's easy to forget about a load of laundry for a few days, and mold and mildew can quickly take hold in the closed, damp environment of your washing machine's interior. You should immediately rewash the load using either regular bleach or color-safe bleach, depending on the type of clothing. If small, pinpoint stains have developed on any of the fabric, that is a sign that a mildew infestation has set in. Soaking the clothing in a solution of one half-cup of borax, a half cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 5 gallons of lukewarm water for half an hour before rewashing will remove the mildew spots.
One of the reasons why laundry mishaps happen so easily is because of the busy lives that most people lead. Working all day and then coming home to household chores is almost a guarantee that something will give at some point. Clutter such as piles of laundry waiting to be done can increase your stress level significantly. Hiring a professional housekeeping service is an excellent way to increase your quality of life and ensure that laundry disasters don't take a serious toll on your nerves, your time, or your wardrobe.
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