Laundry Problems…

Okay, ladies…. I’m looking for input on this one!

I’m doing laundry today; and as much as I enjoy Laundry Day, I have some problems with it… some things about laundry that I haven’t quite figured out.

What I have figured out is the laundry routine that works best for me.

  • I (try to) do laundry twice a week–Mondays and Thursdays.  This not only keeps my laundry pile under control, it also makes each load a little smaller, meaning the clothes seem to get cleaner, dry faster, and take less time to put away.
  • I sort my laundry into four groups–darks, lights, whites, and towels/bedsheets–which both controls any color-bleeding issues and keeps each load to a manageable size.
  • If my laundry is to be completed from start to finish in one day, I have to focus only on laundry.  I am much more apt to put clean laundry away promptly if I am remembering to pull it from the dryer in a timely manner.
  • I take my clean laundry directly from the dryer to my bed and use that as my folding area.  Many people talk about having a folding table in the laundry room, but I have never seen the sense in folding laundry–including things that ultimately need to be hung–and packing it neatly into a laundry basket just to turn around and unpack the folded laundry to put it away.  Instead, I use the large surface of my bed to fold laundry in piles according to how it will go into the dressers and to lay flat the items that need to be hung.  Processed laundry then goes directly from my bed to the appropriate closet or dresser.

 
What I haven’t figured out is some of the little details of maintaining my laundry to keep it as like-new as possible.

  1. Stain Removal:  I have yet to find a stain remover that I can count on.  I have discovered that Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap works wonders on baby poop stains (and on some other of the less stubborn stains); and I have had luck with dabbing my actual laundry detergent right onto a stain before washing.  But as for products that are marketed as “stain removers,” they certainly have been ineffective for me.  Should I give up the search for a good stain remover and continue treating stains with laundry soaps, or is there an easy solution out there that actually works?
  2. Shrinkage:  In the past, I have had trouble with children’s clothing shrinking by a noticeable amount when washed and dried for the first time and have therefore gone to hang-drying most of the children’s clothing that has been purchased new in order to ensure that it fits for as long as possible.  (I usually assume that second-hand clothing has already been shrunk and therefore put these items in the dryer.)  This method has worked well, but as our family has grown, causing us to purchase more items new (and therefore not preshrunk), I fill my drying rack to the max every time I do laundry.  And, I have to wait for that much more laundry to air dry before being able to put it away.  The additional time and effort required to hang-dry clothing, as necessary as I think it seems, is becoming a bit of an inefficiency in my laundry routine.  Should I purchase another drying rack and remain a laundry day behind in putting away the air-dried items, or is there a better solution to the shrinkage problem?

 

So, what tips and tricks do you have for keeping your laundry stain-free, shrink-free, and like-new?  Click on the comment link below to share your Laundry Day solutions!

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17 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    For stains I use a spray called Gonzo & sometimes have to dab some laundry detergent right on the stain. I did, however, just buy some Fels Naptha b/c I heard that worked good and was inexpensive. Shrinkage: I’m with you on this one: The newer stuff I hang up and the secondhand things I also assume are well “loved” and already shrunk down to size b/c there can’t possibly be any other Moms out there as annoying as me who hang all of the new stuff, lol. Since our bathroom has a huge garden tub next to the shower….and I never use the tub….I had my husband install a pole above the tub that I can remove whenever needed for me to have a big area to hang things on.
    For maintaining the normal, every day laundry….I do the laundry almost daily. We are a family of 7 going on eight and all of the kids are 6 and under…so I divide the laundry up into hampers of darks, colors, whites, reds/pinks, bedding, and towels. If the hamper is full enough…it gets washed right away. The hard part for me is that I have no problem washing and drying it….it’s the folding and putting away that seem to escape me during my busy day and exhausted night. My goal is to fold it when the dryer is done to avoid tons of wrinkles or by the end of the night. I do utilize baskets because it makes it easier for me trying to keep piles/rooms to drop off at organized. I would LOVE a family Closet one day when we have a dream house!!!
    Best wishes! I hope you get some great answers that I can steal. :)

  2. Joanna says:

    I also do laundry almost every day. Sometimes I’ll do 2-4 loads in a day and then none the next. That includes diapers every other day.
    Would it be possible to buy the kids’ clothes a size bigger to account for shrinkage? The only things I hang dry are jeans (mine and Scott’s) and Scott’s work clothes. Otherwise everything else goes in the dryer. I’m sure some of the kids’ clothes have shrunk, but not enough for me to worry about.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I use shout for my stain treater, and have found that to work well for us. I have been drying clothes on medium heat setting rather than the normal high heat and find that I see less shrinkage in clothes.

  4. Trisha H says:

    I have actually found that using a cup of fabric sofner in the water as well as the dispenser it helps with stain removal. It sofens the fabric with helps with lifting the stains.
    Also, I have found that most stain removals are expensive, and frustrating because they don’t always work.
    I use laundry soap, right on the stain… and if it had sat on the clothing in the hamper for days, I use and old toothbrush and scrub it.
    I usually stop the wash cycle and let the kids’ clothes soak for a hour or so, then start the cycle back up. I’ve noticed that it helps get their ‘grime and dirt’ out of their clothes.
    Hope it help!!
    PS. I LOVE reading you blogs! :)

  5. I do laundry daily. I try to do 2 loads a day. Each bedroom has their own laundry hamper and there is a basket for whites and a basket for towels and sheets in the laundry room and when they are full I wash them. As for stain remover I have found the oxi clean stick works best for us. And trust me we have a lot of mud and ketchup that comes through our laundry room! It has a “scrubber” on the end of the stick to rub deep down into the stain and then you let it sit for about 5 mins. Now, with this being said I’m going to tell on myself. Sometimes I don’t find stains until much too late or until after they have come out of the dryer and I apply the oxi clean remover and it even takes these stains out!!! There is normally a coupon for it in the Sunday papers. As for shrinkage, I try to always but a little big, because I shrinking and for fast growing children, so they can wear it a bit longer. I dry everything, I don’t hang dry anything, except for MY delicate things. I have found that Old Navy and Gymboree clothes shrink the worst. Children’s Place and Wonder kids or clothes from Target are pretty good about not shrinking. Hope this helps!!!

  6. Stefanie says:

    I use Tech (from Menards) for stains. It even works on dried stains. I also use Tide stain release packets…they work on baby poop that I forgot to treat! I dry all my clothes on medium. My biggest struggle is putting everything away. Most all of Landen’s and Adellyn’s clothes are hung b/c I don’t have the dresser space or floor space for dressers.

  7. Mary Beth says:

    As far as stain remover goes: I liked the dreft stain remover and that usually worked great on baby stains – spit up, baby food, poop, etc. I don’t get that any more since we wash his clothes with the rest of ours (I use to wash his separate) Now I use shout advanced to pretreat and I always dump in some tide stain release. This takes care of most stains. (For super tough stains I google suggestions and that has been successful on the 1st or 2nd time. The biggest thing I found is to wash as soon as possible. I would love a stain remover that I can spray on and it doesn’t matter if it dries or not, then I can toss in laundry basket and wash when there is a big enough load.

    What stain removers have you tried?

    The hang dry stuff – I have given up on my drying rack cause I NEVER put those away. Now I have gone to hanging them on hangers – not hung from the shoulders – draped over the horizontal part of hanger and hang it from the closet door molding of the closet it needs put away in.

    Thanks for your blog!

  8. Angela says:

    Mary Beth,

    I have tried Shout, Shout Gel, Spray and Wash, Zout, Oxi Clean (as an additive to my detergent), carpet stain remover from Carpet One, and a natural laundry stain removal product from Melaleuca.

  9. Amy S. says:

    Angela~

    You are far more organized with your laundry than I am! I hope someday to get in the habit of doing laundry on certain days. Maybe when baby #3 arrives :) When I got out Carson’s old baby clothes for Collin they were covered in stains that weren’t there when I packed them away. I used the powder Oxi Clean and made a paste with it and majority of the stains came out with one wash. It sounds like you got a lot of helpful advice!

    Amy

  10. Amber Flinn says:

    For shrinkage, what heat do you dry on? I find that I have way less shrinkage on low or med than high heat. It takes a little longer for things to dry and they still shrink a little, but it works for me.

  11. September says:

    Angela,,,

    Thank you for your positive and uplifting comments while I was at Relevant! You are a gift !
    I “tweaked” my blog a little today,, and was so excited to see that you had a button that I could add to my sidebar… yippeee!

    Also,,, I have searched high and low, and the only two things that I have found to work for stain removal is.. oxi clean STAIN spray… I use this right after a spray AND right before it goes into the washing macine.
    We use to fold all of our laundry on our bed,, and then after baby #7,, I found that the WHOLE bed had to be cleared in order for me to get into bed at night.. heehee..
    Time rain away from me..
    AND so,,
    We went to the folding counter in the laundry area,, and turned it into a mini.. “family closet.” Drawers and shelves for the clothes that we fold on the counter.

    Love to you..
    September

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Angela,
    Have you every tried any products from shaklee? I use their fragrance free detergent on my diapaers and it’s awesome… also they have a natural bleach/whitener that I use on stains and I have incredible luck getting crazy stains out, it just put a little of the detergent on it, and the let it soak in a bucket of water with the stain remover/whitener… it works great! It is a little spendy up front, but it lasts a long time… coming from a mom who does laundry all week long!

  13. Lanay says:

    Good questions! I always buy at least a size or two bigger, to allow for the shrinkage, and to wear them longer! Also, I don’t hang clothes anymore, unless they are required, to save time, space, and to make sure I get them put away faster. Also, washing clothes inside out helps keep them looking newer, but you have to have time to make them right again, unless you have your kids do this!:) Do your kids help put their clothes away? This would also be a time saver and learning experience if they do it themselves, even it they aren’t put away how you do it, it’s still good for them to learn! Thanks for always sharing what you are learning, I always enjoy reading!!

  14. Laura says:

    I’ve found that Amway stain removal works really well. You do have to buy it online or from a distributer, but the detergent and stain remover are awesome! While I can’t comment on kid stains, it does take out Jeff’s ink and food stains even if he doesn’t tell me the first time. However, if you know of a way to get gum out of the inside of our dryer, I’m all ears. Some days I think laundering kids clothes has to be easier!

  15. Erin says:

    I use Tide Release on stains usually (esp. for stains that I didn’t know where there and did have time to pretreat). My all time favorite stain remover is GOOP. It can be found in the automotive aisle of the store. It is great at getting grass stain along with any protein based stain out. I just rub it in good/completely into the stain and let it sit in the laundry basket and the wash as usual. Most of the time is does the trick. I have had it also take out stains that have been washed in past but not dried in the dryer and set in.

  16. Kathleen says:

    I have then end all solution for stains!!! It’s called Perma Press…http://www.hollowayhouse.net/products/72-perma-press-16-oz.aspx. I but it at Hy-Vee (ask yours if they don’t carry it). A bottle lasts a long time and it is by far the most amazing thing I have ever used on any stain. It also removes things that have gone through the dryer. My mom got me hooked and I never looked back!

  17. Mama Laundry says:

    Angela, Girl that laundry routine just makes my heart sing! You’ve got a lot working in your favor!

    And you’ve got oh so laundry savvy blog readers! I was impressed with their laundry answers..;) Okay for protein based stains (baby poop, blood, spit up, etc) the best ‘stain remover’ is getting them in cold water asap. When I realize there’s been a blow out diaper, I take off the poop clothes and run the bathroom sink full of cold water until I have time to deal with the clothes. When I’ve gotten as much of it off as possible, I then spray it with Oxi Clean SPRAY and then wash on warm, regular cycle. If it doesn’t come out then, I do the Oxi Clean Soak.

    AFA the shrinkage problem, I would dry them on low in the dryer. That way, they are dry within the same day and you won’t have to leave it until the next day. But I wouldn’t dry on anything hotter than low, even if you have to send it through 2 dry cycles.

    *Beautiful* Blog and an even more beautiful family! I can’t wait to take a peek around! :)

    -Lauren