How to Make your Laundry Cleaner, Brighter and Whiter
If a little soap is good, then a lot of soap is great!
In our house, the lady in charge uses too much laundry soap. I know this to be true. Our washer is located in our daylight basement. The vent for the washing machine goes up, through the wall to the top of the house. This is two stories. I came home one day and the washing machine vent was pouring suds over the rooftop. We now have the cleanest roof in the neighborhood. But try as I might to explain to the dear woman that clothes cannot get clean with that much soap left in them, I cannot convince her to use less soap.
I convinced her to wash a load of towels that had just been laundered and dried without any detergent, this was a hard sell because they were still warm from the dryer and they were all neatly folded.
But we put them in the washer and started the cycle. She stood with pursed lips and folded arms. She thinks I'm too cheap to buy laundry soap so I just want her to skimp and get 50 loads out of a 40 load container of laundry detergent.
I have tried my best to convince her that the soap is sabotaging her efforts at white bright clean results. Some things are learned best by experience.
OK, I admit it. I am too cheap to buy laundry detergent. But I am not particularly focused on my yellow whitey tighties. I also would like to save money on a lot of other things.
My wife just does not agree with a more fugal lifestyle. I like to go to a certain fast food restaurant to get my horsey sauce. My wife says it is embarrassing to take more than one or two packets. I feel compelled to take at least a dozen and keep them in the fridge. What if someone comes by with a roast beef sandwich? Am I to turn them away because I do not have horsey sauce? I don't think so.
My wife thinks I should be ashamed of myself. For saving money? Really? And what about that potential meal that I might have to turn down? Should I be ashamed because I saved us the price of a meal. How ashamed should I be to put that $10 toward her next birthday present. Too ashamed to do it? No, I should be proud of myself.
No soap suds!
How does this happen to me. I am trying to explain about using laundry detergent and I end up defending myself. Guilty conscience? Maybe, but back to the laundry.
The washer filled with water and the agitation began. My wife had unfolded her arms and was now fiddling with the cap of the detergent container. You could see it in her eyes, she needed to add soap. She couldn't even hold her protest pose. The cap began to move back and forth. The soap addiction was kicking in at full throttle.
I calmly told her that there was no need for SOAP, these towels had just been washed. This was really like a third rinse. She insists on the extra rinse because she wants to spend extra money on water. When I'm not looking, she turns the rinse temperature to warm, too.
She comes out of her trance and acknowledges that the towels do not need soap at this time. Her hands drop from the detergent container. We look at each other.
I give her one of my "You are wasting a ton of money!" Looks.
She squints her eye and curls her lip for a "You are the cheapest cheapskate that ever lived!" looks.
At first I thought she had me, but about 3 minutes into the wash cycle, suds began to appear on the top of the load. By the time the towels had agitated for 5 minutes, the suds covered the whole tub of laundry and they were building. She looked agast. "Where is the soap coming from?" she demanded, as if I had sneaked a cup full of the stuff into her laundry.
I simply pointed out that the suds are coming out of the towels that you have just washed, dried and folded. She demanded another explanation. There was none. She would have to deal with it.
The amount of detergent left in that load could have washed clothes for us for the next month. Well, maybe another load or so.
Watered down rules.
My wife now follows this rule: If it seems like it needs more soap, go ahead and add a little, as long as it is not coming through the vent pipe and spilling over the roof and down the side of the house, then it is all good. Too bad there is no third rinse option, well at least she can set the water level to super and the wash time to heavy.
And I can calmly pour 1/4 of the contents of her precious liquid soap into a jar and add about that much water to her container. From the looks of it, I should have added more water. I can return it to her later when she has used up most of the soap. That will be in a couple of days no doubt.
Let's get serious about the yellow!
If you would like to have cleaner, brighter and whiter clothes, especially whites, try using less detergent, you might be surprised.
Other hints to help whiten dingy or yellowed whites:
- Wash whites separately and use detergent sparingly.
- Try the old fashioned remedy, add bluing. You can still get bluing and guess what? Blue+Yellow=White. It really works, and don't over do it, read the directions and follow them closely unless you would like to have blues instead of whites.
- Some detergents have brighteners and dry bleach. Give one of those a try.
- Liquid bleach may be the answer, caution, it is very strong indeed and caustic. Too much of this stuff could ruin your clothes.
- Another old fashioned idea: hang your whites in the sun to dry, the sun can bleach the whites and it gives them a freshness you can't believe. Ultra violet radiation from the sun can disinfect, break down stains, and whiten dingy whites. Perfect for diapers. You might want to throw them in the dryer for a few minutes after line drying to soften them up.
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