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Every Day Is Laundry Day
CEA-FCS
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 • Posted September 19, 2012

I thought I’d focus on a couple of laundry topics this week, it’s something everyone has to deal with. Being from NM, I really didn’t have to deal much with mildew there, so I thought this was helpful information, especially if you’re from a drier climate!

Laundry and Mildew

Laundry—nobody’s favorite task. However, it’s even more difficult when stains won’t come out in the wash. What should you do? Start by making sure damp or wet clothes are not placed in the laundry basket and left for several days.

Warm summer temperatures, high humidity, and any remaining food on clothing—especially kids’ clothes—creates the perfect conditions for the growth of mildew. Mildew is a fungus and appears as dark-colored spots and splotches on textile items. When the textile is left in a warm, humid location with little or no light or air circulation, you have created the perfect condition for very difficult to remove mildew.

Prevention is the key. Experts at the International Fabricare Institute suggest drying any wet textiles before placing them in the laundry and certainly not storing them dirty. Some typical items might include infants’ and children’s clothing, sports wear, jackets, t-shirts, kitchen textiles, towels, and other common items. Avoid tossing damp clothing in a dark laundry hamper or closet. If you can’t get to the laundry immediately, hang the item in an area with good air circulation until the item is dry. Or wash the item as soon as possible, treating the soiled area with a pre-wash enzyme product.

What removes mildew? Actually, only chlorine bleach removes and kills mildew growth and stains. Since not all fabrics are safely treated with bleach, preventing the growth of mildew may be a better solution than trying to remove it later and possibly ruining the item.

For more information, check out this resource: Laundry On Your Own and Quick Stain Removal Guide. Both can be found on www.agrilifebookstore.org. You can download the PDF and print it out, or email me at kmpowell@tamu.edu and I can email it to you or print you out a copy.

Keeping Dry Cleaning Costs to a Minimum

Don’t let the words “dry clean only” keep you from buying the perfect outfit. With a little care and common sense, dry-clean-only garments can be worn and enjoyed for years – at less cost than you might think.

Manufacturers use these fabrics – such as silk, rayon, acetate, and wool – because they are suitable to certain designs and because consumers like them.

Water weakens these fabrics, even if the damage isn’t immediately visible, which can shorten the life of the garment over time. Dry cleaning helps these fabrics – and garments made from them – stay at their best by using chemicals that clean the surface while not penetrating into the fiber the way water does.

While dry cleaning adds to the cost of the garment, the accumulation of those costs can be reduced by taking extra care at home. For example, if something drips onto the garment and is not absorbed into the fabric, wipe it off with a little water or a disposable cleaning sheet. Other steps can help keep dry cleaning costs to a minimum, such as:

• hanging up the garment as soon as you take it off; don’t toss it on the bed or chair or leave it crumpled on the floor;

• brushing off any dry debris such as powder or chalk dust;

• spot cleaning if necessary;

• protecting these fabrics from personal care products such as deodorant, makeup and cologne;

• giving these garments a light pressing between wearings; and

• hanging wool or rayon garments in a steamy bathroom to remove wrinkles.

And here are a few don’ts:

• Don’t cram them tightly into a closet.

• Don’t store them in plastic bags between cleanings. Fabrics need to breathe, so make sure your closet has good circulation.

• Don’t fall for claims that certain cleaning products can be used in place of dry cleaning services. Studies have shown these products are not effective in cleaning, although they do refresh garments.

If you keep these steps in mind, you should save quite a bit of money at the dry cleaners. In fact, if you take a little extra care with these garments, you should be able to wear them from two to six times between trips to the cleaners.

More information on this subject is available at the International Fabricare Institute’s website at http://www.ifi.org/. Click on the link to Consumer Information.

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