Laundering for me, is a pleasant and cathartic practice. Hailing from a long line of passionate launderers, methods of linen care are much like a treasured family recipe. Tried and true routines connect me to the days of washboards and clothing lines while nurturing a younger generation. A few of my favorite tips have been collected here. I welcome you to share your own in the comments below!
Our Clean Routine
Use only the best products.
With an ever increasing availability of organic and natural products, there was a point not long ago when we became more conscious of the products we chose. For me, it came down to keeping our baby’s skin free from harsh chemicals. From the clothing we wear, to sunscreens and laundry detergents, we made small changes over time that eventually led us to our current routine.
Until we began living ‘clean’, I hadn’t realized just how much our bodies were accustom to the detergents of days past. Fragrance was a big issue for me and although I don’t love “fragrance-free” products, I do love a light scent that mimics those pleasantries we find in nature.
Enter The Laundress. There is really no match to this incredible line of nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products available at MineMine Kids. Since I can’t do justice to their story, I invite you to check it out here. It is worth a read and you’ll be amazed at what you can wash at home (i.e. dry clean only items). Their signature “clean laundry smell” is both comforting and delicate. The products really do work wonders at keeping stains at bay while refreshing our everyday wears.
The Importance of Water
Hard vs. soft water makes a difference!
Beside using a clean line of effective products, I can’t stress enough the importance of water quality when laundering. We are lucky to live in a city with soft water, which is paramount to the longevity of clothing and makes stain removal a breeze. But when we lived in London (known for its water hardness), the struggle was real. Whites were never truly white and stains were impossible to remove. If you’re dependent on hard water, washing up can be troublesome. All is not lost and can be easily remedied with a simple solution from The Laundress. Their Fabric Conditioner has become indispensable not only for our home laundry but also for travel to areas with hard water.
Stain Removal: Time is of the Essence
Treating stains quickly is your greatest defense.
I’m the mom that leaps over a dinner table when my child spills sauce on her clothing. For most stains, the key is to treat it in a timely manner, but by no means does it need to be so dramatic. Depending on the substance and the fabric, dabbing the spot in a bit of water and rubbing the fabric together gently can give you a sense of how easy it will be to remove. When we’re settled at home, I’ll revisit the stain and treat it if necessary. Our go to for this stage in the game is The Laundress’s Stain Solution. If we’re out for an extended period of time, or traveling, I’m a huge fan of their Wash & Stain Bar. With some water, the bar can be rubbed into the stain making a bit of a lather that can sit on the fabric until you’re ready for the soak. Ideally you’re doing this at home but on the go, it is a lifesaver in sticky situations.
Soak it up
Soak, soak, soak then soak some more.
Over the years I’ve tested different soaking regimens and found that easy stains (or relatively new stains) require an overnight or 24 hour soak in cold water with a capful of our favorite Signature Detergent. Stubborn or older stains I soak for up to a week. I typically pre-treat spots with the Stain Solution or Wash & Stain Bar, rubbing together the fabric and creating a lather by hand. After the garment is pre-treated, I will add it to the soak and turn it gently by hand to ensure the detergent is well mixed into the fibers.
Hang it out to Dry
Old-fashioned hang drying is not a thing of the past.
If you have even a small area of outdoor space, a clothing line can be a real treat. We use our dryer only for bulky items and play clothing. Machine drying can take a toll on your wardrobe over time and leads to “wash wear” or a slight pilling and fading of the fabric. While I love my indoor drying rack, there is nothing quite like hanging clothing and sheets out to dry. They take on an incredible freshness from the outdoors while the sun can work magic on stubborn odors. To keep little’s clothing and gear feeling fresh longer, we’ll use a quick spritz of Fabric Fresh Baby, another easy to carry essential in my purse.
Laundering can be surprisingly satisfying with the help of the right products and just a few go to remedies that combat the majority of our messes. Happy washing!