Tips to care for special household items

There's an expert trick to cleaning and maintaining almost anything you can think of. Whether it's a feather duvet or a silk scarf, learn how to treat your special items so that they stay special longer.

Tips to care for special household items

Fluff fluffy stuff with a sneaker

When drying a feather-filled item — whether a pillow, duvet or parka — toss a sneaker into the dryer, too (the less smelly, the better). The soft-soled shoe will make a bit of a racket, but it will fluff up the item nicely as it bounces around.

Speed-dry a wet blanket

Make a soggy blanket fresh from the washing machine look warm and welcoming again in no time. First, put two large towels in the dryer and let them heat for 20 minutes. Now throw in the blanket and let the towels soak up the moisture. Take the blanket out when it's still damp and drape it over the backs of two chairs (ideally, lawn chairs out in the sun) or two parallel clotheslines to air-dry.

Prevent pantyhose runs

Runs in a pair of pantyhose can ruin the look of the sharpest outfit, so take preventive action when you bring them home from the store. Wash new pantyhose, let them dry, and then soak for three hours in a solution of four litres (one gallon) of water and 250 milligrams (two cups) of salt.

Salt your new jeans

Nothing's more comfortable than a pair of jeans, but it can take a little time before the stiffness wears off. Hasten the process by throwing a new pair of jeans into the washing machine with 125 milligrams (.5 cup) of salt. They'll feel softer the first time you pull them on.

New life for soiled whites

It's a sad day when a favourite white shirt or blouse just can't be seen in public anymore — yellow stains, a dreary cast and a seemingly permanent ring around the collar. But all is not lost. Perk up the garment (and yourself) by working a paste of vinegar and baking soda directly onto stained and soiled areas, then hang the garment outside in the sun for a couple of hours. If the collar remains soiled, pour a capful of three per cent hydrogen peroxide along the ring. Now wash in hot water as you normally would and make room in the closet for your old friend.

Kettle-clean your felt hat

To deep clean your wool felt hat, fill a tea kettle with water, place it on the stove and bring it to a boil. Carefully hold the hat above the steam, rotating it as necessary. Brush with a dry toothbrush and let dry.

Wash silk in hair shampoo

Use a protein-based hair shampoo and cool water to hand-wash silk; the protein will feed the protein in the silk, giving it body and making it last longer.

You'll be the hero in your house when you clean and care for these special household items to help them look their best, longer.

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