Many of our guests at the Troy-Bumpas Inn Bed & Breakfast compliment our lovely linens and wonder if there are any tricks to keeping them clean and long-lasting. Here are some tips that will help you become a laundry pro.
What’s the most common laundry error people make? It’s probably using too much detergent and hot water too often. Over-soaping is not advisable since it breaks down fibers. Likewise, constant use of hot water weakens fibers. Use hot water only when absolutely necessary to remove heavy soil.
- Always check linens for stains before washing. Shake out linens to be certain nothing is caught in the bundle of laundry.
- Pre-treat stains with a stain removal product appropriate for the particular stain. Read the product instructions to determine the correct water temperature to use when soaking linens before adding them to your washing machine. Remember that once laundered (especially in hot water) the stain is usually set.
- Do not overstuff the washing machine. An over-stuffed washer will not clean properly and can cause excessive abrasion and agitation.
- Use a mild laundry detergent that does not contain dyes, chlorine, or brightener. Always add detergent to the water or via a dispenser, not directly onto laundry. Less detergent is better unless laundry is very soiled.
- Avoid chlorine bleach. It breaks down the fibers and causes fading and discoloration. If you need to use bleach, use an oxygen-based bleach.
- Avoid fabric softener, especially on towels. Fabric softener coats fibers in oils, waxes, and fragrances and makes the fabric less absorbent. Instead, use ½ cup of baking soda in the wash to freshen, brighten, and soften.
- Most linens can be washed in warm water with a cold water rinse. Always check the care label.
- Use vinegar in the last rinse to release excess soap and soften fibers. Doing this does not leave a vinegary smell.
- Wash new towels separately to remove excess lint.
- Wash towels separately from sheets. The friction of towel fibers will break down fibers in sheets.
- Do not mix cotton with poly cotton linens as it will cause fabric damage.
- Always wash new dark color linens separately before adding to other laundry as the dye may run. You can set the dark colors by adding a tablespoon of salt to the first wash and rinse with a 1 cup of vinegar to set the dye. You won’t need detergent to set the dye.
- Before adding linens to the dryer, untangle them so that everything will dry evenly and have fewer wrinkles.
- Add laundry to the dryer after checking that all stains have been removed. If stains are not removed, re-apply stain remover and wash again. Once the stains hit the dryer, they probably will be set.
- Do not overstuff the dryer. Your laundry will dry more evenly.
- Avoid using the high heat setting, which will weaken the fibers, damage the fabric, increase shrinking, and shorten the life of your linens.
- Remove sheets before they are fully dried to prevent wrinkling. Smooth and fold promptly to avoid wrinkling.
- Always clean your dryer’s lint trap after each drying cycle. Lint buildup can cause house fires and will decrease the efficiency of your dryer!
Source: Adapted from information on Innstyle.com