Tag Archives: Washing

Holey Laundry?

You may sometimes notice small holes appearing in your newly washed laundry.  If you’re pretty sure that it’s not just that the material is worn and aged anyway then you might like to know the following:

The enzymes in biological washing powders can attack the natural fibres of especially wool and silk, breaking them down.  (There are usually warnings on washing product packaging but they are not always obvious).  For washing these delicate fabrics therefore, use something gentle that you might use for babies’ clothes, like ‘Dreft’.  I personally have found that 100% cotton can be similarly eaten up by the enzymes in biological powders and the solution for me was to change powder (in my case ‘Persil’ biological powder did the damage while other biological powders seemed OK).

Check the instructions of your washing machine for recommended spin speeds.  Too high a spin speed can loosen and damage fibres.   Below is a general chart to show that certain fabrics need certain maximum spin speeds:

             Cottons: 1400 rpm

             Minimum iron: 1200 rpm

             Delicates: 600 rpm

             Woollens: 1200 rpm

             Silks: 400 rpm

             Shirts: 600 rpm

             Denim: 900 rpm

For me, these two are the most obvious culprits but if you’ve tried altering both of the above it is also worth knowing that deodorant has been implicated and may damage clothing – so changing brand again may help.

Then there are also the most obvious reasons – which I’ve left until last here because I assume you’ve already considered them:

Don’t wash delicate fabrics with clothes that have zips, hooks, or wires.  For washing mixed loads where you are concerned about damage in this way, you may find using special laundry bags useful.   These come in a variety of sizes, some large enough to accommodate things like skirts.  Either place the offending article (with the metal fastening) or the delicate articles in a fine mesh laundry bag and this should help to minimise damage.  Under wire bras should, in any case, really be hand washed.

Where is the damage occurring?  If it’s close to the underarms and you wear under wire bras, is it possible that the wire is snagging on the fabric causing wear? 

If it is across the front or back of the material, around waist height, it’s possible that it’s just wear and tear from leaning against kitchen counter tops.   Apparently granite worktops are particularly abrasive to clothing.


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Caring for glassware

GlasswareDishwashers are wonderful, time saving devices but unfortunately do no favours at all to precious glassware.  If you find that your  glasses are losing their sparkle and becoming cloudy it may well be because of the action of the dishwasher – a combination of the softeners that are put into many water supplies, coupled with the high temperatures and the detergent we use in the dishwasher.  

Delicate crystal or precious glassware is therefore best cleaned by hand.  If you don’t want to tackle the washing up straight after you’ve used your glasses, do at least give them a quick rinse so that wine or other liquids aren’t sitting in them for any length of time.  Wash individually in hot soapy water – ordinary washing up liquid will do – and then rinse straight away in hot clear water.  (Don’t rinse in cold water because the change in temperature may make the glass shatter).  Place on a draining rack and then dry with a lint free cloth.  (I usually dry with kitchen roll and then shine with a lint free cloth).

If you have items like narrow vases that are difficult to clean, use denture cleaning tablets to do the work for you but only leave for the recommended length of time.  Rinse and then dry.

Glassware that has a cloudy or milky appearance may be restored to a sparkle by wiping gently with vinegar on a soft cloth.  However, it’s worth saying that liquids can actually permanently etch the surface of glass, giving that same milky appearance. 

The moral of the story is simple: Never leave liquids sitting in glassware for any length of time.


Filed under General house tips, Housework Tips

Lingerie / Laundry bags

Bath Towels with LavenderLaundry bags are useful for more than just delicate lingerie.  Socks notoriously and inexplicably lose their pair whilst going through the washing system.  If you zip all your socks into a laundry bag before washing you will know that all pairs will be coralled into one small space, meaning that there can be no sock escapees.  

Bags can be bought in different sizes and mesh.  Small mesh bags are designed specifically for things like bras so that the hooks cannot snag on anything else in the wash.  Bigger sized bags are available for items as large as blouses and skirts, giving them some extra protection from catching on anything else in the drum of your washing machine.  

All delicate lingerie should ideally be washed by hand if you want it to last longer.  In reality, of course, most of us don’t have the time or inclination to hand wash, especially when we know that washing machines often have a ‘hand wash’ or ‘delicates’ cycle that can be used.  However, underwire bras really don’t take to the mechanical buffeting and twisting they get in the washing machine.  Specially shaped laundry bags/’pockets’ designed specifically to protect under-wire bras are now sold from stores like Lakeland here in the UK***.  Be aware however that these particular bags have received mixed reviews from consumers at the above linked site, so for underwires at least, you may have to stick with washing by hand.

***Link to a supplier in the U.S.

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Just hanging out in the sun

The weather’s very ify at this time of year for us, up here in the ‘temperate zone’.  After days of rain, the sun has blasted through again, giving me a chance to get on with washing. 

Laundry dried outside not only saves you lots of money, there is nothing to compare to the scent of fabric dried in the sun and air.  Your clothes will also last longer – bear in mind that the lint you remove from the tumble dry filter is bits of your clothing!  Ultra violet light also acts to kill bacteria, so the sunshine is a useful tool for keeping bugs at bay.  

It’s always best to turn clothes inside out for washing, and hanging them up this way will protect strong colours. 

You can keep ironing to a minimum with just a little effort spent hanging out your clothes, sheets and towels:

  • ‘Snap’ shake towels then hang at the corners.
  • Fold sheets hem to hem over the line and peg by the corners
  • Peg pillowcases on one side only, leaving the other side to hang open
  • Hang shirts by the tail, and always unbuttoned
  • Peg t-shirts by the hem
  • Peg dresses by the shoulder
  • Peg straight skirts and trousers by the waistband
  • Peg full skirts by the hem
  • Peg bras by the hooked end
  • Peg socks by the toe
  • Fold underwear over the line and peg

I recently came across a charming site that celebrates line drying (yes seriously)!  Go take a look and be sure to play the tune.

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