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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Do Lots Of Laundry

I was curious about how many loads of laundry the average family of 4 does per week so I Googled it. It seems 5-6 loads plus bedding is the average. I probably do 10 per week plus bedding for a family of 3. During my search, I found all kinds of interesting discussions on the topic, mostly ways to reduce the amount of laundry you do. Many of the suggestions -- wear pajamas more than one night, hang bath towels up and use a second time, wear say a pair of jeans twice -- I already do. Then I started thinking about our laundry and realized I don't think I can reduce it any more. I run daily. My husband runs 4 days a week. That's 11 sets of sweaty workout clothes. My husband is a handy, outdoorsman so he regularly produces grimy clothes. I cook - a lot. Much of what I wear has to be laundered quickly so that stains do not set. I haven't even gotten to my active, messy 4 year old son. Here's my solution -- an energy efficient washer and dryer. I got them about a month ago in hopes of 1. Reducing my water and electricity costs 2. Reducing the impact I make on our planet 3. Making the entire laundry process less painful. I'll report back. In the meantime, I welcome all suggestions and comments.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Clean Out Your Closet

Because I have way too many clothes twice a year, spring and fall, I go through my closets and shift. Typically I just move my out of season clothes into the guest room closet, and I move my in season stuff into our bedroom closet. But before I hang in the closet or place in the dresser my in season clothes, I cull.

My method isn't quite as organized as this, but it's close. Here's a method the National Cleaners Association suggests:

Start with 5 good sized boxes and label them - keep, donate, dump, fix, maybe.

Keep - Start with jackets, suits, and separates. Inspect them carefully for wear and tear. Keep your essentials as long as they are in good condition, still fit, and don't look dated.

Donate - If you're the same size and haven't worn something in a year or more, plan to give it away -- unless it's evening wear. Those items have a longer shelf life.

Dump - Throw out clothes that aren't fit to donate. Keep a few things for dirty jobs like gardening and painting.

Fix - Inspect everything carefully. Put anything that needs a hem, button, alteration, or cleaning in this box. Go through it twice to make sure you want to make the investment in it.

Maybe - This box is for the item you got on sale but never wore because you don't have anything to go with it or it's just a touch too tight. Seal this box and put it somewhere away from your closet. Anything you don't miss after 4 months should be given away.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Donate Goods, Do Good

In 1987, A Cleaner World formed a partnership with The Salvation Army via Give A Kid A Coat. Over the years, we've watched The Salvation Army do some remarkable things through their programs both locally and nationally. Those remarkable programs cost money to implement.

Because of our longstanding relationship with The Salvation Army, we were aware of another way we could help them help folks in need. So during the summer of 2009, we set up a program to help The Salvation Army restock their local Family Stores. The program "Donate Goods, Do Good" allows folks to donate clothing and other household items at any Triad A Cleaner World. A Cleaner World then sends the donations to The Salvation Army Family Stores to resell, and the profits made from those sales directly fund Salvation Army programs.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon hosted by The Salvation Army. First hand I heard an amazing success story from a woman who had hit rock bottom and was working her way back. I attributed her success to two things. First just her plain desire and determination to return to a better place. Second an organization that helped provide her with the tools she needed to start fresh. What an incredible story she shared.

Spring is around the corner. A change in season always causes me to go through my stuff and figure out what I really don't need. Next week's blog will be tips on cleaning out your closet. Why not take this opportunity to go through and get rid of some unwanted stuff and donate it to a place that will turn it into something good.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All Sticky

Recently, I've had a unique laundry problem. My 4 year old has really taken to stickers. He usually just sticks them on paper but when he finds a sticker he really likes, he wants to put it on his shirt and wear it all day. Here's my problem -- I've forgotten to remove a few stickers, so they end up going through the washer and dryer. What's left behind is a caked on sticker residue.

I've let these shirts sit on the counter in the laundry room for weeks. Recently I found an article by Ask Heloise in the January 2011 Good Housekeeping magazine. Here's what she suggests:

'Put the adhesive area face down on a clean terry towel and pour a little acetone-based nail polish remover on the spot (it should be safe since the shirt is washable). Then rub with another clean towel to push the remover through the material. Turn the shirt over to check that the adhesive is coming off; it may take several attempts.'

It worked. Who knew? Does anyone have another suggestion that takes care of the sticky?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spandex - Sometimes A Problem

One thing I failed to mention on my mildew shirt from a few weeks ago was that it was mostly cotton with a touch of spandex. I also failed to mention that before sending it to A Cleaner World so when Mike received it, I could hear him groaning all the way from North Carolina.

The National Center for Garment Analysis reports that spandex fibers made their top ten list for problems associated with garment care for multiple years. There are two areas where consumers are experiencing problems.

1. In the manufacturing process, spandex is stretched. When the item is cleaned, that stretching/tension is relaxed and therefore the garment shrinks.
2. It is more susceptible to little pulls, pills and protruding fibers just in the course of normal wear or cleaning.

Here's hopefully some helpful advice.

1. Try to avoid purchasing garments with high spandex content.
2. If a garment contains elastane, spandex, lycra, etc. be careful to avoid abrasion in normal wear. For example, don't wear belts, use shoulder straps, wear unlined outer garments. Expect abrasion from wearing seat belts.
3. When buying keep in mind that there may be some shrinkage after the initial cleaning.
4. Clean or launder those items frequently as your body oils and perspiration can cause fiber discoloration and/or degeneration.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or if you need any help.
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