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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Make it last

I washed tons of clothes this morning. All of my son’s (I prefer to do his, by myself – despite the cleaners who come every Saturday to do the laundry). Pajamas, shirts, short pants - handwashed them all (because I also prefer to do that). Relieved sigh.

But before they could be wear-able again, there’s another batch waiting for my attention. Tons. All of his. Again. Sigh.

Did he have that much clothing? Yes.

Did I buy him all that? No. Definitely not.

In fact, I haven’t shopped for Matt’s garments for nearly a year now, which I understand seems impossible when you have a fast-growing kid at hand.

So how come he has more than he could wear in a year’s time? Hand-me-downs.

Ah. Of course.

Actually, some were Christmas presents, most are hand-me-downs. Matt is really lucky to have 2 older cousins who are his “source” of clothing.

And no, I’m not having any issues with that because I grew up using hand-me-downs from my cousins and even from my brother. So, if there’s another baby coming in the family, mine or my brother’s or my cousin’s (whichever comes first- hehe), expect that I’ll also be handing some (of Matt’s), too.

And that also means taking care of the clothes - and prolonging their life - is a crucial matter.

So now, I will run down a list of ways to do that.

Ø Do not bleach.

Ø Or you could use alternative bleach.

Ø Common stain-busters:

1. Bubble gums. Put ice over the area where a gum was stuck. When gum has hardened, carefully remove the gum.

2. Blood. Soak in a solution of hot water + salt or baking soda or white vinegar.

3. Grease. A mixture of hot water + white vinegar or dishwashing liquid or shampoo will take care of this. BTW, putting a little shampoo over the area in the neckline with that hard-to-remove-dirt greatly helps.

4. Rust. Soaking in soda water or Sprite/7Up softdrink.

5. Mama's lipstick. Dab (do not rub!) alcohol or ammonia on affected area. Dishwashing paste could help eliminate stain, too.

Ø If you must use commercial bleach or chlorine, do not leave clothes longer than necessary or overnight in the solution as this can weaken the fabric.

Do not brush shirts and other delicate items. Ah, this reminds me of a cute towel, which now has runs and loose threads hanging because one of our cleaners inadvertently washed it with the brush. =(

Do not wring. This will deform fabric. You may squeeze the water by folding the newly washed item into four (or whichever is possible) and putting the folded item in between your hand. That’s that.

Ø -As a rule of the thumb, coloreds and whites should be washed separately. But tell you what, I don’t follow this sometimes. I do wash them together, but if and only if I am very sure that the colored material I am bringing in will not bleed. If you’re not sure, then don’t. Never assume, please.

Ø Also, dry coloreds and whites separately.

Ø So you can retain original color for the longest period, do not dry colored items under direct sunlight. Since the sun is a powerful bleaching agent, if you must, dry them inside-out.

Ø If you use plastic hanger for drying, feel for uneven edges or sharp excess that flimsy materials like silk, polyester could easily get caught with and cause a run on them. Cotton materials are rarely harmed by these though.

Ø Now, I like to put fabric conditioner on clothes, because it makes them easier to press and the conditioner keeps the clothes smelling good even when stored for long. But if, like me, you are wary because the scent might not be too kid-friendly, you could opt for baking soda. Or you could use baby soaps before the last rinse.

Ø When pressing, adjust iron temp according to make. Almost always, iron manufacturers include a guide to this.

Ø A fabric that seems to gather lint is best ironed inside-out. To remove lint (and if you do not have a lint-remover), you could use plain old scotch tape.

Ø Lastly, always read care instructions.

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tegdirb92 said...

what great tips!! I will definitely use them. Thanks!!

Cindy said...

Greats tips and good ideas for us all to use. Thank you.

Rhonda Jean said...

hello Zam. Thanks for this post. They're great tips for making clothes last a long time.