How to Soften Towels.
Everyone loves a soft, absorbent towel. But even after buying the most soft and plush towels, they can end up feeling scratchy & stiff after a few months? Why?
It has to do with how they’re washed (and dried). Every towel will get this way if body soil, oils, detergents, chemicals, and minerals are left in the fibers after washing. Most of the time, the softness can be brought back by following some easy steps:
- Increase the water temperature – warm or hot water will produce best results.
- Don’t overload your washer.
- Replace fabric softeners with distilled white vinegar – this will combat the residue that reduces absorbency
- Use wool dryer balls and a lower heat setting – this keeps towels fluffy.
Wash Sheets Weekly – Here’s Why.
Studies show that washing your sheets weekly can lead to better sleep. And if that isn’t enough. Here are three more reasons why:
- You shed thousands of skin cells when you sleep – and dust mites love to feed off dead skin.
- You sweat while sleeping – and body soils transfer to your sheets.
- You drool at night – when you’re sleeping your swallowing reflexes relax which can allow saliva to escape from your mouth.
There’s a lot more to washing your sheets than just having that comfy, clean bed feeling. You can reduce the build-up of dirt, skin, sweat & oils with weekly sheet washing.
Hot, Warm or Cold – Here’s What Settings to Select & Why.
Choosing the best water temperature for your laundry doesn’t have to be a mystery. Before you get started, CSC recommends to:
Read Garment Care Labels – this will give you the info you need to choose the best water temperature and right type of wash cycle.
Sort Dirty Laundry – after you’ve checked the labels, sort your laundry by color, fabric type and washing temperature.
Choose Cold Water if in Doubt – if a label is missing or unclear, wash clothes (especially if colored) in cold water. This will prevent any damage to fabric such as shrinking, fading or color bleeding.
Once ready, here are the wash settings CSC recommends.
- Best used for white cotton clothes, bed & kitchen linens, bath towels, soiled, stained or sweaty garments.
- Cleans heavy soils and stains, sanitizes linens
- Can fade colors or shrink if the wrong items
- Best used for man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, spandex, rayon, fabric blends and lightly soiled clothes.
- Helps to dissolve detergents and offers more energy efficiency than hot water.
- Can fade some colors, does not sanitize, will not remove heavy soils and stains
- Best used for bright-colored clothes and delicate fabrics
- Most energy efficient and less likely to shrink or fade items
- Can be used on any fabric, but less efficient in removing stains
Did you know you could wash these kitchen items?
You know it’s best to wash your kitchen towels (for dishes and hands) daily, but did you know that these other kitchen items should also be washed regularly.
Silicone baking mats & molds – toss in with regular laundry and put small items in a mesh laundry bag. Make sure to air dry.
Oven mitts & hot pads – wash and dry along with your kitchen towels
Small Kitchen Rugs – be sure to shake out in advance of washing, wash separately, and dry on low heat.
Mop heads, sponges & rubber gloves – remove from handles and place in mesh laundry bag with a load of towels. Dry completely before storing.
Don’t forget to wash what’s in your closets.
It’s easy to forget to care for items we keep in our closets, but things like jackets, bags & sports gear need regular washing to keep them looking good. CSC recommends washing these items with the change of every season, or more often as needed.
Jackets: be sure to check washing & drying instructions beforehand.
Sports Gear: shin guards, knee pads, compression sleeves & yoga mats
Backpacks & Duffel Bags: fabric & vinyl ones can be tossed in the washer with a regular load of similar colored laundry
Soft-Sided Lunch Bags & Boxes: have potential to be contaminated with bacteria from the foods inside and need to be washed regularly.
Reusable Grocery Bags: especially those used for produce & meats should be washed after every use.
When was the last time you washed them?
Studies show that washing sheets weekly can lead to better sleep – and we all know there’s nothing better than crawling into bed with clean ones. But what about clean pillows, mattress pads, blankets & comforters – when was the last time you washed them.
Just a few tips before you get to washing.
- Feather or polyester-filled bed towels & mattress pads can be tossed in the washing machines – foam ones cannot.
- Make sure to give pillows, pads & comforters room to move, and don’t overfill the washer.
- Follow instructions on tags for heat or air drying.
Are you someone who likes to wear new clothes straight from the store or the delivery package, without washing them first? While it might be difficult to resist the perfect feel of wearing new clothes, it is recommended that any clothing worn in direct contact with your skin (especially things like underwear, t-shirts or shorts) be washed before wearing. Here’s why:
New clothes can be home to pathogens or germs.
After clothes are made in a factory, they are packaged and sent from one place to another through various modes of transport before they reach the store. In this process, your new clothing item may have encountered pathogens and germs along the way. While you may not be able to see these microscopic organisms, but that does not mean that they don’t exist.
New clothes may have lingering bacteria.
Depending on how long clothes have sat in the store, and how many people have tried them on, it is possible that bacteria can linger in the fibers and be transferred from one person to another through the fabric.
New clothes can contain chemical irritants.
Many manufacturers include chemical finishes on clothes to enhance their texture and reduce wrinkles, which can irritate sensitive skin.
New clothes can transfer dye to your skin.
Fabrics made from synthetic fibers can be colored with dyes that can be transferred to your skin or other garments leading to irritations or stains.
Running your clothes through the wash cycle a second time without the soap will help get rid of any residual detergent and help your clothes last longer. You’ll be amazed at how much soap is still in the drum during this second “wash.”
While you likely will not experience any serious health issues by not washing clothes before wearing them, more than anything – washing clothes before wearing is just good personal hygiene. Before washing, make sure to follow the instructions on the care tag.
Here’s What to Wash from Your Bathroom and Why.
While experts recommend washing your bath towels every few days to keep them fresh & clean, here are three other bathroom essentials you should consider washing more regularly.
Whether they’re in front of your sink or next to your tub or shower, the mats in your bathroom spend a lot of time on the floor in one of the most high-traffic germ areas of your home. For this reason, it is recommended that you clean them once a week. For best results, take bathmats outside and shake out any clinging dust or debris prior to loading them in the washing machine. Make sure to follow the manufacturer care instructions on the label and air-dry them if they have a rubber coating or backing.
2. Fabric or Plastic Shower Curtains
Since fabric shower curtains don’t often come in direct contact with shower water, washing them every several months is usually enough to keep them looking clean. Before you place them in the washing machine, check the tag to make sure the material is washable. Then remove the curtain off the rings or hooks, use a minimal amount of detergent and then hang it back on the rod or rings to air dry.
And while plastic shower curtains and liners may be more affordable and easier to replace when they get dirty or accumulate soap scum, the cost can add up over time. Instead of throwing them away, you can extend the life for months or years by washing them. Because liners come in direct contact with water and soaps, they should be cleaned more often. Once a month is recommended to stay ahead of any mold or mildew growth. Make sure to switch the washer settings to cold and add a bath towel or two to the machine to prevent the curtains from wrinkling. After washing, make sure to air dry – so that it doesn’t melt in the dryer.
3. Scrubbing Poufs & Loofahs
Yes, you read that right! Whether natural or synthetic, bath and shower sponges, poufs, loofahs, or exfoliating scrubbers can provide the perfect environment for bacteria – and should be washed on the regular. Whether you decide on weekly or monthly, make sure to put these scrubbing devices in a mesh laundry bag with a load of other bath towels – then leave them to air dry.
While bathrooms are where we all go to get clean, they can also be home to lingering germs, molds/mildew, and bacteria – which is why experts recommend washing more than just your bath towels on the regular. Before washing bathmats, shower curtains or scrubbing tools, make sure to follow the instructions on the care tag.g germs, molds/mildew, and bacteria – which is why experts recommend washing more than just your bath towels on the regular. Before washing bathmats, shower curtains or scrubbing tools, make sure to follow the instructions on the care tag.
A simple solution for that is to use dye- and perfume-free products. Another way to avoid laundry-related skin allergies is by following a few of these tips:
Wash new clothing
Even if the clothes you buy are new and have never been worn, the chemicals that are used to dye the fabric and put finishes on the yarn before being processed through spinning equipment are known to irritate skin. Plus, you never know who tried on the clothing before you bought it.
Using too much detergent not only bothers your skin, but it also leaves a residue on your clothing, which means your garments aren’t being properly washed. Always use the correct amount of detergent recommended for your machine.
Don’t overload your washer
In order for the laundry detergent to dissolve correctly so that your clothing gets thoroughly cleaned, avoid putting too many items in your washing machine.
Buy the right detergent
To help lessen skin irritations and keep you from feeling like you need to rinse your laundry more than once, try a hypoallergenic, clean-rinsing detergent. Running your clothes through a second rinse cycle takes more time, wastes water, and increases your water and electric costs.
Clean your equipment
Your washer and dryer encounter a lot of germs and bacteria, and if not properly cleaned and maintained, could begin to grow mold and smell. To keep your appliances in tip-top shape, regularly clean the inside of your washer and dryer.
Living with skin allergies can be difficult, but with these tips, you can find a laundry method that works for you.