Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mildew, whites & campfires

A few years ago, I stayed at my older sis's house in Virginia. We had 3 weeks of fun with our kids, each of us having one at the time. However, when I was packing to go home, I couldn't seem to find my girl's little striped shirt. We looked all over and finally found it in the bottom of the hamper under some damp towels. I have no clue how long it was there. But, it was long enough for it to become covered in black spots - mildew!! Yuck! It smelled so bad!

I tried hand washing out the stains with regular laundry detergent (probably Tide, since that's what my family uses) with no luck. They did not let up even one bit. So, I air dried it (putting it in the dryer would set the stain FOR-EV-ERRRR—thanks, Sandlot, for making that word so much more meaningful), tied it in a plastic sack and brought it home where I had the tools and time to do some damage.

Mildew Line of Attack. So, the first thing I did was rub in laundry detergent to the stain and let it soak for a day. And then I did it another day. Nothing - no change at all. I couldn't use bleach because it would ruin the rainbow-colored stripes and cute little appliqué turtle. My mum-in-law suggested I try Oxi-Clean. After soaking the shirt in OxiClean for about 4 days (switching out the water each day), the stain was gone and the colors were just as bright as ever! OxiClean for the win!

White whites. After the mildew experience, I decided OxiClean was worth the money. I now use it in place of bleach to whiten my whites. In this current house, we have the world's hardest water. Our whites were tinted beyond the usual dingy grey. They had a copper tone to them and were visibly not white any longer. So, one night, I put 1/2 a scoop of OxiClean into the washing machine, set the water level to extra small and the temperature to hot and filled the machine full of whites. I let them agitate and get all mixed in for about 5 minutes and turned the machine off. The following afternoon, I turned the machine on, allowing it to fill with water the rest of the way, added detergent, set it for a second rinse and let it go to town. The verdict? Ridiculously white whites. And since I'm so obsessed with all this crizzap, I wash my whites like this every time. They get whiter and whiter! It's so fun!...well, to me anyway.

Campfire smell. While most men would prefer to wear this scent on a daily basis, I can't stand it!! My husband has gone camping with the Boy Scouts several times this summer. Each time, he returns with the grimiest, smelliest clothes. To remove the campfire smell, I set the washing machine to the smallest load size and fill with hot water. Then, I dump in too much vinegar because I feel so much disgust and hate for that nasty smell that is trying to take over my detergent-scented basement. I let it agitate for a few minutes to mix it all up and then turn the machine off to soak over night. The next day, I drain most of the water & vinegar by moving the control knob to "spin" just because I have this idea in my head that the vinegar may get in the way of my detergent working best. However, that could just be an OCD thing, so take it for what it's worth. Then, I refill the machine with hot water to the appropriate water level, add detergent and let it do it's thang. When the cycle is complete, I pull each article out, one by one, sniff, hug, beam and proudly ask my husband, "Whose clothes don't smell like campfire?!" "Mine..." he shouts with joy and pride! Well, that's how I like to hear it anyway. *Note: OxiClean also works great for removing smoke smells. Surprise, surprise.

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  1. Great post! I came over from Jillee's blog and I have hard water too, so I am glad to hear your Oxiclean soaking trick works! I also seem to always have lingering smells that don't come out since getting an HE front loader, so I am going to try the vinegar thing too. I have tried it but only with a cup or so. How much do you think you used? BTW, I use 1/2 - 1 C. vinegar in place of fabric softener and it works great.

    1. Natalie, if you use vinegar as a fabric softener, what do you do for a nice clean smell to your laundry? Very interesting!

    2. I use vinegar for fabric softener as well. My laundry detergent is scented enough to leave a light fragrance. When I used homemade soap, though, the clothes had no scent, which was fine because I knew odors weren't being masked. Vinegar doesn't leave the same soft feeling as commercial liquid softeners, though. While commercial softeners coat fabrics with chemicals to lubricate and reduce static, vinegar removes soap residue, gradually brightens fabrics and reduces static. It's just up to personal preference.

  2. Okay, I love oxi clean, but haven't had results as spectacular as yours. I, too, have the dingiest whites on the planet! I've tried the liquid bluing and it doesn't seem to do a thing. I have an HE front loader washer, so wonder how to make this method work for me. Any thoughts?

  3. Hey Team Jensen - I like my clothes to just not smell - that is clean to me! I don't tolerate chemical scents well and am not a big scent person in general, so I don't worry about adding scents, but I have heard some add essential oil.