Laundry aids come in a variety of forms and have many different purposes; from removing rust stains to making yellow fabrics look white again. If you’ve ever looked down a stores laundry isle you may have seen many of these laundry products. You might never have given a second thought about using them or weren’t sure exactly how to use them. The following laundry treatments can help restore clothes that appear dull and dingy and old before their time.
1. Bluings. Bluings are designed to counteract the natural yellowing of fabrics. They contain a blue dye that is taken up by fabrics in the wash or rinse.
2. Detergent Boosters. Available in powdered or liquid form, detergent boosters are especially effective in hard water for enhancing the cleaning power of the detergent. Liquid boosters can also be used for pre-treating stains. Baking soda is actually a natural detergent booster.
3. Enzyme Presoak Stain Removers. Enzyme pre-soaks come in powdered form and are very effective in removing protein stains like baby formula, blood, bodily fluids, dairy products and eggs. That’s because enzymes are proteins, and the general rule of stain removal is that “like dissolves like.” Enzymes break down the stains which can then be easily lifted out of the fabric with the aid of the detergent.
4. Prewash Soil and Stain Removers. These products come in a variety of forms and are effective at removing heavy soiling and stains, especially on polyester fibers. They penetrate the fiber of the fabric and help break up the stain, allowing it to disperse in the wash water.
5. Color Removers. Color removers can help remove rust spots from clothes washed in water that contains iron and manganese. They can also help remove dye stains that were transferred from colored items to the whites they were washed with.
6. All-Fabric (Oxygen) Bleach. This kind of bleach is an alternative to liquid chlorine bleach for maintaining whiteness and brightness on most fabrics. The oxidizing agent, hydrogen peroxide, provides a gentler bleaching action than chlorine. This makes it safe for most washable colored fabrics unless otherwise directed by a fabric care label. This color-safe bleach is available in liquid or powdered forms. It’s also most effective when used on a regular basis.
7. Water Softeners. Hard water has a high concentration of magnesium and calcium. These minerals tend to reduce the effectiveness of laundry detergents and may also leave behind a residue that causes fabrics to feel stiff and harsh. Water-softening products work by deactivating these minerals. You can choose from powered or liquid water softeners.
Laundry aids can extend the life of our clothes and even make our clothes look like new again. At least we have alternatives besides the old standby, liquid chlorine bleach.