Power Wash

Presoak to press, doing laundry is hard work. Clean up this dirty job with a pretty, well-organized space that puts everything you need right where you need it—at your fingertips.

Editor’s Note: No claim is made regarding the stain-removing or fabric-safety properties of these products or solutions. Caution: Many chemicals are poisonous and/or flammable. Observe warnings on all labels and use in a well-ventilated area. Do not breathe vapors and avoid contact with skin.

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Hanging & Drying Rack

Collapsible laundry drying racks offer a small-space solution for hanging a few lightweight clothes to air-dry or to put freshly pressed garments. Heavier-duty solutions include a free-standing laundry butler or garment rack. To dry clothing that stretches when wet, use a flat drying rack that folds up when not in use.

Inspiration

Laundry can be boring, so add fun distractions. Hang a chalkboard or pinboard to hold notes, verses, kid’s art or photos. To help pass the time include a tablet or laptop to check out the L:B website.

Labeled bins

Large labels make it easy for family members to spot where laundry goes.

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Solution Spot

Knowledge is key to removing stains before they set. Create DIY Stain Removal Tags using our downloadable designs. For easy access, gather completed tags on a ring to hang in your laundry room.

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Ultimate Stain Kit

When it comes to stains there isn’t a single solution. There are excellent stain removers on the market, but they can be pricey. Below are a few economical laundry options you can try at home. Before using, always test products on a hidden area of your fabric for colorfastness. Handle substances with care and keep out of reach of children. For all treatments, rinse fabric immediately after using.

AMMONIA: Use ¼ to ½ cup clear ammonia per load of wash to cut strong odors; use 1 cup per load in place of bleach. Mix equal parts grease-fighting dish detergent and ammonia (½ to 1 ounce each) to

2 cups of water for a spray-on grease-and-stain remover. Warning: Never mix ammonia with bleach or bleach-containing detergents or products.

BAKING SODA: Add ½ cup baking soda to liquid laundry detergent or during the rinse cycle to neutralize odors. Increase the whitening power of liquid chlorine bleach by using ½ cup (¼ cup for front load machines) to your usual amount of bleach. Courtesy of armandhammer.com.

BLEACH:

  • Powdered, all-fabric (sodiumperborate): Biz, Clorox2, Purex
  • Liquid, all-fabric: Snowy, Vivid
  • Liquid, chlorine (sodiumhypochlorite): Clorox, Purex

All-fabric bleaches are usually safe for colors and whites, but follow package instructions. Liquid chlorine bleach may damage some fibers, dyes, and finishes. Check care label for restrictions. To test for colorfastness, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with ¼ cup of water and place a drop or two on a hidden area. Do not use chlorine bleach on wool, silk or spandex fabrics. Do not mix bleach with other chemicals, store in metal containers or use with metal objects.

BLUING: White clothing looks white due to a blue tint added during manufacturing. Over time this washes out and whites look dingy. Use a bluing agent, such as Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing, made from fine blue iron powder and follow instructions.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE: Use a few drops of a 3-percent solution of hydrogen peroxide (sold as a mild antiseptic) to remove fresh bloodstains or wine stains. For stubborn grass stains, mix a teaspoon of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with 3 drops of ammonia. Use one part Dawn Dishwashing liquid to 2 parts 3-percent hydrogen peroxide for a general stain remover.

WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR: Combine ½ cup white distilled vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 32 ounces of water for a prewash stain-remover spray. Add 1 cup of vinegar to a bucket of very hot water and soak overnight white 100-percent cotton socks, diapers or T-shirts to brighten and remove yellow underarm stains or pour ½ cup in the final rinse cycle to brighten colors and soften fabrics. For mildew odor, soak items in a tub of hot water with 2 cups of vinegar, or run a load in the washer with the vinegar, letting it soak for several hours. Wash a second time with laundry products.

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The Essentials

1. OPEN SHELVING: Convenient access to laundry products. May not be best for families with safety concerns for young children, pets, etc. 

CLOSED SHELVING: Hides clutter and provides security. Doors can be fitted with safety locks to store chemicals and dangerous items.

2. WASH & DRY PRODUCTS: Wire baskets on a wipe-clean surface lets you easily maintain your laundry room’s cleanliness and simplicity. When needed, rinse the baskets and wipe down the shelves to remove dust and spills. Use baskets for dryer sheets and fabric softener, and for specialty laundry supplies, such as products for baby clothes, athletic gear, workout wear and/or lingerie. Put general purpose laundry soaps and products on open shelving so they are easy to grab. If drips are a concern, store bottles and jugs on a shelf tray.

3. STAIN REMOVERS: Streamline laundry chores by corralling all stain removers in one bin close to the washer. This might include laundry brushes, a toothbrush, cotton swabs, white cotton towels (for placing under stained clothing when cleaning them), stain removers, ammonia, vinegar, baking soda, powder or liquid bleach, color-safe bleach and homemade remedies in clearly marked bottles.

4. HANDY HELPERS: These are the little items you need to get the job done well. A stack of clean dishtowels, a sewing kit, a small bin with lingerie washing bags and safety pins for connecting pairs—socks and mittens—before laundering.

5. HANGERS: Repurpose a metal office file organizer to hold hangers by size and purpose. No grabbing for one and getting a tangled mess with this system.

6. STEAMED UP: A quality steamer removes wrinkles and creases, deodorizes and disinfects. Hand-held steamers may be less powerful than floor models, but save space.

7. SOAKING BUCKET: A good-size bucket can hold several white shirts or a plethora of dingy kid’s clothes while they soak in a stain-removing or brightening solution. Set the bucket in a kitchen or utility sink for longer soaks before adding the clothing to the laundry.

8. PRESSED: Save space and provide a safe, convenient spot to store an iron and an ironing board by installing a wall-mounted holder. Lint rollers stick to the wall without a holder.

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