Tips for cleaner, odour-free clothes

June 30, 2015

Doing the laundry is a dirty job, but these helpful homemade cleaning solutions using items from your kitchen cupboard will have your clothes coming out fresh and clean in no time!

Tips for cleaner, odour-free clothes

DIY fabric softener

There's no need to spend money on commercial fabric softeners when you probably have all the ingredients you need to make your own. See for yourself with this simple recipe. You can also use this solution to make a fabric softener sheet to toss in the dryer. Just dilute with water, dip in a washcloth, wring it out and add the washcloth to your load of wet clothes.

  • 500 ml (2 c) white vinegar
  • 500 g (2 c) baking soda
  • 1 L (4 c) water
  1. Combine ingredients in a 3.8-litre (one gallon) size pail or pot and stir to dissolve the baking soda.
  2. Pour the solution into a plastic bottle with a lid. (An old liquid detergent bottle is ideal.)
  3. To use, add 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of softener to the washer's final rinse cycle.

Two starch substitutes

No need to run out to the store to buy starch to stiffen your shirt collars or restore body to shapeless clothing. Make your own by pouring 500 millilitres (two cups) of water into a jar and adding 30 grams (two tablespoons) of cornstarch. Screw the jar lid on tightly and shake well. Now pour the solution into a spray bottle for use when ironing. If your permanent press items are looking a bit shapeless, don't use starch when ironing. Instead, add 250 millilitres (one cup) of powdered milk to the final rinse cycle of the wash. Got milk? Got shape.

Boil yellowed cottons

With time, white cotton and linen tend to turn yellow — hardly the fresh, crisp look for which cotton is famous. Let sodium come to the rescue by mixing 50 grams (1/4 cup) of salt and 50 grams (1/4 cup) of baking soda with 3.8 litres (one gallon) of water in a large cooking pot. Add the yellowed items and boil for one hour.

Brighten rugs and curtains

If cotton rugs or cotton curtains have faded, simply add 75 grams (1/3 cup) of salt to your laundry detergent to brighten the colours. If a rug is too large for the machine washing, scrub it well with a clean rag dipped in salt water.

Banish odours

Know that "new" smell of dye or chemicals that comes with just-bought sheets or shirts? Have a teenager who thinks nothing of leaving sweaty clothes in a locker or gym bag for weeks on end? Worse, ever have a run-in with a skunk? Grab two old deodorizer standbys. First, add 125 grams (1/2 cup) of baking soda to 3.8 litres (one gallon) of water and pre-soak any smelly washable items for about two hours. Then, as you machine-wash them, add 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

It might be back to basics with these home remedies, but you'll be all smiles when you see how well they work!

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