Tip Tuesday — Dirty Laundry

When I was pregnant, people repeatedly warned me about the increased amount of laundry I would have to deal with once the little bubba came tumbling down and out into the world.

I sort of believed them. I nodded my head and smiled. I thought, “How much extra laundry can she really generate? Her clothes are so SMALL!” And I was right. She did only create about one extra load of laundry per week, a load which I washed in special dye and fragrance-free baby detergent.

And I was wrong, because what they didn’t tell me was how many more pairs of dirty clothes I would go through myself. I am constantly covered with inexplicable goo. I can’t “explic”, for example, the dots of crusty something that are dribbled down the right leg of my jeans as I type this and I don’t much care to solve that mystery.

The mystery we are here to solve today is how to deal with this barrage of filth in a timely and semi-organized fashion and actually get it clean enough to eat off of, because that’s probably what we’ll end up doing with it anyway. (Don’t tell me you haven’t picked up a cheerio or two from your -eh-hem- “nursing shelf” and popped it into your mouth to dispose of it.)

As a mother of two small children, I could tell you what works best to keep me out of the laundry-induced cookoo bin. I actually just did type out our entire laundry routine but it was so boring and obnoxious that I deleted it. I guess you’ll have to buy the book.

Instead I’ll give my number one laundry tip. The tip is called “the special solution.” (Seeing it written out like that, it actually looks sort of sinister.) I’m not sure where my mom got this but it has been a lifesaver many many times indeed. The solution is made by mixing 1 cup of bleach with 1 cup of powder dishwasher detergent, added to a washer full of hot water. Let the water and the other ingredients agitate for a few seconds. Then add the clothes. For really bad stains, you can soak it overnight and then let the load run through.

I use this for cleaning all my whites and they come out beautifully white every time. The real joy of the “special solution” (besides it’s creepy name) is that something in the dishwasher powder makes the bleach semi-color safe. It doesn’t work on everything. It will usually fade bright colors some and sometimes makes the colors totally wonky. However, if you’re desperate, throw a stained colored item in this solution and you’ll frequently have great results. I’ve gotten impossible stains out of khaki pants and pale-colored baby clothes with this. It is a GEM.

One more tip — GOJO. It’s one brand name of the stuff mechanics use to clean the grease off their hands. I can’t find that particular brand here in Washington but I found something similar at the car parts store. It is whitish and comes in a sour-cream sized container. (Don’t get any of the orange or other fruity varieties. You just want the original white stuff.) This works wonders for getting grease stains out of clothes, even if they’ve been through the dryer. Have you ever found an empty chapstick in your basket of clean clothes, only to discover that every article is covered in tiny splatters of set-in grease? If you scrub at it with GOJO, your clothing may just have a fighting chance. Oh, and it’s super-cheap.

That’s what I got. Share yours please.

With my first child the question was “How many times a day can I change her out of dirty clothes into clean ones?” With number two I wonder, “How many times can he spit up on an outfit or get spilled on before I consider it ”˜dirty’?”

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