Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cotton romance

Why me?! Why are my whites turning grey and smelling musty? My sheets smell musty, too! Why?! Could it be the homemade laundry detergent I've been using for over a year with no problems until recently? When I lived in my last apartment, my laundry was ALWAYS fresh-smelling right out of the wash. I've added more and more vinegar to each load, soaked overnight, tried both chlorine and non-chlorine bleach, and nothing has resolved the issue.

I finally broke the news to my mom-in-law, since she is the maker of the detergent. "I don't think the homemade detergent is working anymore. It must be building up in my clothes," I said. "My laundry feels strange - like there's a film on it - and it's smelling musty." "Do You have hard water," she asks? "Yes," I reply.

Turns out, my water is VERY hard! The laundry issues didn't begin until about a month after we moved into our new place. So, last night I sent Logan on an emergency run to Walmart to purchase Calgon, a laundry additive that is supposed to soften water in the washer. I added it immediately to my load of whites. Even during the rinse cycle, the water was murky and dirty! It must be working, I thought. It's cleaning out all the build-up in my clothes!

Well, they still smelled musty after the cycle was complete. So, I did some googling and found nothing new. I already knew Borax & vinegar were great at removing smells, but had no luck up to this point - but that's because my water was hard.

So, I re-started the wash with a capful of Calgon, 1/2 C Borax, and twice the homemade laundry soap that I normally add (since apparently you need more to clean with hard water). Then, in the first rinse cycle, I added 1 C white distilled vinegar. I also set the machine for a second rinse.

The verdict? They're more fresh but still not quite there. Hopefully I don't have to add ALL of those ingredients every time. I'll never give up! It's a complicated romance, my cotton and I.


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