Four Essential Items You Need To Add To Your Laundry
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Baking soda is harmless to the environment and has mild alkali qualities that help it dissolve grease and dirt. Baking soda can be especially helpful in areas served by hard water: Adding baking soda to a washing machine’s rinse cycle will result in clothes that are better rinsed, softer and more stain resistant. Add 1/2 cup baking soda to top-loading machines or 1/4 cup for front-loading machines along with the usual amount of detergent to give the detergent a boost. Baking soda can help increase bleach’s whitening power so much that you’ll be able to use less bleach.
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Like baking soda, vinegar can serve a lot of different purposes in the laundry room. When using vinegar in the laundry, use distilled white vinegar, which generally can be found in gallon jugs near the baking or laundry aisles in the grocery store. A mixture of half water and half vinegar makes a good stain pretreatment. Spray a little onto the stain a few minutes before washing and then wash as usual.
Vinegar can also add a kick to regular laundry detergents. To soften a standard load of wash, add 1/2 cup vinegar during your machine’s last rinse cycle. In addition to softening, vinegar added at this time will help reduce lint buildup, and it tends to help pet owners with hair buildup on their fabrics.
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Adding salt to your laundry helps to restore and maintain bright colors in fabrics. Additionally, it can reduce yellowing in whites and is efficient in eliminating mildew in fabrics. Simply shake a little into your wash for softer and brighter laundry (think Purex Crystals, minus the potentially harmful chemicals). Just be sure to use regular old kosher salt (or sea salt), not Epsom salt. The latter is a composition of magnesium sulfate, which will create hard water (hard water is caused by the combination of the two minerals calcium and magnesium, so epsom salt essentially makes your hard water even harder, thus having the opposite effect on clothing).
Also, placing some sea salt in a sachet and washing & drying your laundry with it will help to eliminate static cling.
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Adding 1/2 cup of lemon juice to a load of laundry will make the entire load smell fresher. Surprisingly, adding lemon juice to a load of whites will also whiten the load. It also works as a powerful stain remover when combined with cream of tartar, and is especially efficient at removing sweat stains from clothing (see the cheat cheat below!). Lemon juice is also a great air freshener. To make your own, combine equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle, and use on your apparel, on your furniture, and around your home for odor control.
What are your favorite laundry hacks? Do you use any of these?