Laundry Lowdown: What you need and what you don’t

Let us help you tackle your laundry. Studio 5 Contributor, Teresa
Hunsaker, shares the laundry supply picks she can’t live without. Plus a
few products she passes on.

There are so many products, gadgets, and gismos that come along to help
us do a better job of whatever household task there is…but which ones for
laundry really are the “must haves”??

1. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda or Borax: Boosts cleaning power and
helps eliminate odors, and I can make my own detergent and other
cleaning concoctions with this as a basic ingredient…can’t do without it.
Found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores…I love both.

2. Oxi-Clean or Boost for stain fighting power added to the wash. It is a
toss as to which one is better…some folks say one, some say the other…I
lean towards Oxi-Clean, as Boost is hard to find. You can also find similar
products like Oxi-Sun or Dirty Job…they are quite good to.

3. White Brite: You have seen me feature this before. Works wonders
with dingy or yellowed whites. It can be used right along with your regular
detergent, or as a separate treatment. It is safe for all washable whites. It
is a little difficult to find…Smith’s, WalMart, and Ace Hardware, have
consistently carried it in my area. You can also find it online.

4. Mesh bag: A “must have” for sure on my list…not only for my
delicates, lace tops, but even socks, and knee-highs. I got so tired of
ending up with one sock missing from the pair, that I now use it on light
weight socks too.

5. Soap…real soap, like Fels Naptha, or your own homemade lye soap: I
use it to rub right onto many, many stains…grass, mustard, gravy,
chocolate syrup, etc.

6. HE Detergent…if you have the high efficiency washing machines a
“must have” for them is an HE detergent. These are especially designed for
the type of motion/tumbling action, water level, and sudsing concerns of
the HE machines.

Not on the top of my list, but nice to have:

1. Fabric softener: There is one specialty store called Hip and Humble
that carries the most wonderful fabric softeners….I think I like it strictly for
the scent…it is expensive, but every now and then I just love it added to my
rinse cycle. Comes in a few different scented options…so wonderful.

2. Wrinkle Remover: Bed, Bath, and Beyond carries one brand of a
wrinkle remover that works like a charm. Just mist it on, give the clothing
item a good tug and a pull and the wrinkle comes right out. My secretary
absolutely loves it.

3. Specialty spot removers: Bleach pens and similar type products are
often nice to have around for those tough to remove stains…Goo Gone,
Citri-Solv, Carbona, and others fit in this category. I have found that if I
get right on treating my stains I can get the majority of things out…that is
why these are not on the top of my list.

4. Deodorizers: there are a few different additives you can buy that
deodorize clothes…they work pretty well, but are a little on the expensive
side. They are available at places like Bed Bath and Beyond, but again, I can
deodorize with washing soda and/or borax…they just don’t add back in a
nice smell. J

Not Necessary

1. Anti-Static Balls: Both Good Housekeeping and Consumer Research
groups have indicated that while these balls may fluff the clothes up a bit
more, they are not really all that effective for removing static cling…not
over drying your clothing is one guard against static clean. Vinegar in the
rinse will soften towels, and to fluff them some people just add a clean new
tennis ball in the dryer.

2. Laundry balls, discs, globes, etc.: All of the these products have some
amazing manufacturer claims and very little substantiated results from
reputable testing. While they are not widely available in our grocery stores
they are still available online, through infomercials, and magazines.

Laundry Tips/Reminders

· Don’t overload the machine…give water room to clean.

· Don’t use hot water unless seriously needed for germ killing. Hot
water not only can shrink clothing, but it can bleed color out faster, set
stains in rather than get them out, and

· Try to keep zippers zipped up, buttons buttoned, and hooks, hooked.
These can rub and wear on other clothing items and snag the fabrics as

· Use only the recommended amount of detergent….most of us are still
using too much detergent in our wash loads…this actually leads to dingy
whites and dull colors faster.

· It is recommended to fill tub with water and detergent before adding
clothes (for top loading machines)…I know some problems have occurred
when done the other way.

· Vinegar added to the rinse will help with odors too, and keep towels
softer when dried.

Checkout details about the upcoming Preparedness Conference at the Davis
Conference Center on Saturday April 14, 2012, but going to This
event is co-sponsored by USU, Be Ready Utah,
and BYU. Lots of great workshops, demos, and vendors.

If you have any questions, contact Teresa Hunsaker at the Family and
Consumer Science Education Department at the Weber County USU
Extension office at (801) 399-8203 or online at

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