Caring for Clothes

Started 11 years ago.
  1. As a chemist, I've developed my own "formulas" for clothing care. I'm slowly trying to find slightly healthier substitutes, but as a general rule, the most damaging components of detergent are the dyes and perfumes. The actual detergent parts are all pretty much the same and generally non-toxic. I have found the following 3 items to be essential in my clothing care arsenal: For odors & "safety": Odo-ban, which can be purchased from Sam's and the internet. This I use sparingly, as it is a bacteriacidal (kills bacteria) and can cause bacteria to develop resistance. It is hands-down, no doubt about it, the best odor remover I have ever seen (smelled?). It took non-neutered, male cat urine smell out of my couch - 8 years later, that couch is still in use in out main living area - no trace of urine smell. 1/4-1/2 cup of the concentrate in the laundry gets rid of the stinky sock smell that my husband's smelly feet generate. I have 2 small children and for the last 7 years we've gone through both stomach bugs and potty training. I like to add this to anything laundry load that has throw-up or poo on it; it at least make me feel like I'm doing something (not thatyou can actually stop a stomach bug from going around the family). Grease: I buy commercial degreaser from Sam's or Wal-Mart and dilute it about 1 part to 4-6 parts water (if you get 2 layers, you have too much water). Regular detergent doesn't do a great job of cleaning grease out of clothing; if you wash something enough time, it will, but it's less damaging to hit a grease spot with a concentrated solution than to wash a garment over and over again. Degreasers work by turning the fatty acids that make up grease into acid-salts, which then become water soluble. Most fibers and dyes (possibly all, but I haven't tried it on all) will not react with degreasers, which makes this very safe to use. Again, the dyes should be the worst thing chemically. Borax and washing soda work as degreasers. It should be noted however that Europe (who is usually ahead of the US in safety notifications) has required that materials containing Borax be labelled with a reproductive hazard warning, so just because it's "old-fashioned" or not a fancy new chemical, doesn't necessarily make it safe. For stains: I use a 1:1 mixture of ERA Plus (enzyme-based detergent) and Clorox 2 (or any other non-chlorine bleach), then dilute about 3 - 4 times with water (I try to get it thick enough so that it will stick on the garment, but thin enough that it won't clog up the spray bottle I have it in). To be honest, I don't know what's in either of these 2 products, but they work very well on almost every stain. It doesn't work on ink (very little does), but does work well on food & juice stains, grass & dirt, and blood (ERA plus works awesome on blood). It's a good general stain treatment that has not removed color from any of my clothes, nor has it degraded the fabric in the areas i have sprayed it. I also use both items straight from the bottle for tough stains. I have yet to find a commercial stain remover that works as well as this stain treatment, with the exception of "LA's Awesome", which you can buy at various Dollar stores - that stuff even takes out old formula stains.

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