Checking the care label before washing your garments will save you headaches, but here’s some general guidelines to keep it simple:
Use hot water to wash linens and towels, white clothing and gym clothes (regardless of the colour). Hot water is best at removing heavy soil and grime from your clothing. However, it can make your clothes wrinkle and shrink, so don’t use it with coloured clothes as they could fade!
Most people use warm water for their laundry. It doesn’t have the power of hot water to remove heavy stains, but cleans well and reduces the possibility of fading, wrinkling and shrinking. It is good for most washable fabrics (nylon, polyester, rayon).
Cold water is good to clean dark and bright coloured clothes, and delicate items. It prevents your clothes from fading, but it’s less efficient for removing stains. If you have heavy stains, you should pre-treat them before washing, wash the load longer or even soaking the item for a few hours in cold water and detergent to ensure a better cleaning.
If you need help decoding laundry symbols: check our basic guide here:
If you don’t want to deal with your laundry chores, why don’t you try our Laundry Service? We’ll care for your clothes, washing, drying and folding everything nicely into a wrapped packaged for you!
I have always thought that washing machines have a black hole inside that abducts socks, leaving behind their soul mates and leaving me with lots of lonely socks. I have been trying to look for handy ways to keep them together in the wash, but I have to admit that sometimes they find a way out!
Safety pins are part of our daily work here at LaundryRepublic: we pin our laundry tags on garment care labels to keep track of the items throughout the cleaning process. So I have applied the same method for my socks. I keep a little box with good quality safety pins near a smaller and separate laundry basket where I put only dirty socks (to avoid losing them before even washing!), and pin each pair of socks together at the ankles. Once they come out from the dryer, I keep them in the drawer with the safety pin, until I put them on again and I just put the safety pins back in the box! Good quality safety pins don’t rust and it’s a very simple and efficient way to not lose any socks.
Instead of safety pins, you could use binder clips or rubber bands, which can be very handy before you separate the pair of socks by colour to identify which socks belongs where. I have also found something called sock rings: little plastic rings with teeth in them to put your socks in and hold them together. However, those are a bit more expensive, and easier to get lost.
Even when you try hard, some couples are simply not meant to be together. So I have pulled together the ideas of some very creative people who have created an orphanage for lonely socks. Check out our new board on Pinterest for these inspiring ideas. They will look great in the laundry room!
Starching shirts and blouses helps them to last longer and gives them a nice, crisp finish. At LR, we apply a light starch to shirts as standard, but did you know that you can quickly and easily recreate this yourself by making your own spray starch at home?
Dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch into a pint of cold water, stirring until it develops a milky colour. Put the solution into a clean spray bottle and label it clearly. Then shake well and spray onto your clothes before you iron them. You could even add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil to lightly fragrance your shirts at the same time!
At LaundryRepublic, our customers can set preferences for how they would like their dry cleaning and laundry to be done. For example, some customers prefer their shirts to be returned folded because they travel for business. They come packed like brand new shirts, ready to wear after a long journey.
Here’s a little industry secret: you can produce your own perfectly-folded shirts every time by making your own shirt folder using nothing more than some cardboard and tape.
Our friends at Instructables have produced a simple walk-through guide, here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Shirt-Folder/
And of course if you’d prefer us to fold your shirts for you, you can set your account preferences here: https://www.laundryrepublic.com/preferences.html, or by clicking on the ‘My preferences’ option in the menu in the top right of your screen when logged in to your LR account
It’s not just your clothes that need regular cleaning – your washing machine too will work better and keep your clothes fresher if it’s cleaned at least once a year. The dirt and grime that comes off your clothes can build up in the machine and eventually affect its performance, so here’s some advice (c.f. our friends at Lifehacker) on how to keep it clean and hygienic.
First, clean the removable parts of the machine (like the fabric softener and bleach dispensers) before replacing them. Clean around the rim of the tub and other hard-to-reach places with a toothbrush.
Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a litre of warm water. Soak a clean cloth or sponge with the solution and wipe down the inside of the washing machine drum.
Next, pour 250ml of white vinegar into the detergent tray and run the machine on the longest, hottest cycle available (the vinegar will help to disinfect the washing machine). If possible, pause the cycle with the drum full and leave to sit for an hour (you can use this time to clean the outside of the washing machine).
After an hour, allow the wash cycle to complete. Once the water has drained, wipe the inside surfaces of the tub again using a solution made of 50% white vinegar, 50% hot water. This will help to further loosen any residue left. Then run a rinse cycle and stand back and admire your beautifully refreshed washing machine!
Continuing in our series of tips to make your laundry easier in 2013, today’s post is about how to set up an efficient laundry room/station at home. If done properly, this can really save you hours and hours.
First, put a laundry hamper in your room or bathroom to make transporting your dirty washing to the laundry area easier. Next to your washing machine, have three different hampers or baskets to sort your laundry (see our previous blog post). Separate white garments from reds and other bright colours, and put garments that need special treatment in the third bin. Consider using a fourth one to separate towels and avoid getting fluff on the rest of the load.
Gather all your cleaning products in an easy-to-access location near the washing machine and dryer (ideally on a shelf or in a cabinet). Arrange them in the order you use them: stain removers first, followed by bleach and detergent, then fabric softener and distilled water for ironing at the end. You can also keep space on the shelf for clothing-care items like sewing supplies, lint remover, or shoe polish.
Keep the ironing board within reach and have a drying rack on hand for air drying non-tumble dry items and for hanging items immediately as they come out of the dryer to minimise wrinkling.
Of course, the most efficient way to do your laundry is to give it to our skilled team! We’ll collect it, and then wash, dry and neatly fold your laundry into a wrapped parcel, which we’ll deliver back to your home. For more info visit our website http://www.laundryrepublic.com/ or give us a call on 020 7193 3130.
At LR we know how much fun a week in the mountains can be – beautiful views, great snow, and of course the all-important apres-ski. And we know how important it is to look your best while you’re on the slopes, which is why you need to know how to care for your ski gear.
Ski clothing requires extra care because of the specialised materials used in its construction. Not washing it correctly can result in damage and the loss of the waterproof qualities which are so essential. Always check the care label carefully before cleaning.
If the items are washable, use a cold, delicate cycle with a non-detergent cleaner. Then run another cold cycle, adding a wash-in water repellent to restore the waterproof membrane. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Rinse twice and tumble dry on a low cycle. Once dry, apply some more waterproofing spray and hang them ready for the next season!
If this all sounds a bit involved, let our expert team take care of it for you. We’re offering 20% off on ski jackets, ski trousers and salopettes until March 15th 2013. Simply enter the code SKI20 in the voucher code box when you place an order at LaundryRepublic.com.
In a previous post we talked about using a disposable razor to get rid of piling on your clothes. Here’s an alternative method, courtesy of our friends at Lifehacker, using another item you might find in your bathroom – a pumice stone!
Lightly run the pumice stone along the outside of the fabric of a jumper or cardigan – the bobbles should gradually come off the surface of the garment, leaving it nice and smooth.
This method is very effective, but less suitable for finer materials like cashmere. For these you can use a velcro hair roller! They might not look very sexy when you’re wearing them, but they’re great for peeling off the bobbles that accumulate on the underarms of your clothes (not very sexy either!). Lay the garment on a flat surface, pull it taut and slowly move the roller in upwards movements along the fabric until all the fluff is gone.
A thick covering of snow has transformed London into a pristine winter wonderland, and Londoners have responded by doing their best impressions of polar explorers: gloves, hats, layers (don’t forget the layers), and snow boots. Councils have gritted the roads, and while this helps to minimise the disruption to the capital’s travel network, the salty slush it creates can wreak havoc on your nice pair of leather or suede boots.
If this happens to you, first brush off any remaining salt residue with a toothbrush. Then soak a rag in a solution of 250ml water and a tablespoon of white vinegar, wring it out so that it is damp, and wipe it across the marks several times. As ever, it’s a good idea to check it won’t mark the material first by testing it on an unseen area.
Allow the boots to air dry completely. You can also steam the boots over a pan of boiling water while brushing the fabric with the toothbrush (being careful not to scold yourself with the hot steam). When dry, apply a specialist leather or suede protector cream to the boots to protect them against further damage.
Hope you had a lovely Christmas time! After a bit of a rush since our break, we’re back! Thanks to a query from overseas I have prepared our first stain removal tip of 2013: underarm stains.
Underarm stains are one of the toughest stains to remove because the salts and acids from sweat combine with chemicals in the deodorant and actually change the structure of the fabric. For future reference, deodorants that don’t contain aluminium should help to prevent this from occurring, as this compound is what causes the yellow marks.
To remove sweat stains we would usually recommend the use of solutions made of baking soda and white vinegar, but you might want to try other cleaning agents such as household ammonia, which is alkaline and will help to break up the minerals. Create a solution of equal parts ammonia and water and dab it on the stain (do this in a well-ventilated area). Let it sit for an hour and wash at a cool temperature. You could even try meat tenderizer – its natural enzymes are really good at removing tough biological stains (also blood and urine), but don’t use it on natural fabrics like wool or silk. Dampen the stained area with water and apply half teaspoon of meat tenderizer using your fingers. Let it work for an hour, then wash at a cool temperature. If the shirts are coloured, test these methods first on an unseen area to prevent fading.
For white shirts, you could also try aspirin: crush and dissolve two aspirin pills into 100 ml of warm water and soak the stained area in the solution for 2 – 4 hours, then wash thoroughly. Do not use chlorine bleach, as it reacts with the protein in sweat and will actually darken the stain. Letting the garments air dry will help to bleach natural fibres like cotton and linen; but be aware that sunlight may damage polyesters.
Image source: http://bit.ly/152st7s