Parent Tip of the Week: How to Refresh Your Laundry

Parent Tip of the Week: How to Refresh Your Laundry

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What comes to mind when you think of soap scum?

A bath tub that needs to be cleaned? Dingy shower doors? Maybe a sink that has been neglected? Each of these, areas in and around your home. But what about items in your home? Fabrics, even?

A while back, I started searching for a solution for our scratchy bath towels. I thought we simply had poor quality towels. And, the fact that we have very hard water probably didn’t help. I was surprised and skeptical when I learned that built up laundry soap might actually be the culprit, and that vinegar could be the answer.

The instructions I found simply said to replace regular laundry detergent with a cup of white distilled vinegar mixed with very hot water and to wash the load on the hot water setting.

Figuring that it couldn’t hurt, I gave it a try. I was shocked by the results! Even though I used no soap, the utility sink was filled with suds on the rinse cycle. So many suds in fact that I washed the load two more times and then put the towels into the dryer. When they came out I was impressed with the results. No, it wasn’t like I suddenly had luxury bath towels. However, my Big Box store brand towels were much softer and fluffier – refreshed. They were better than they were when they were new.

I am now a believer that too much of a good thing (laundry soap) can be bad. I’ve learned that the instructions on many laundry soap containers recommend using up to ten times the amount of soap that’s actually needed. No wonder soap tends to build up, then.

Occasionally I refresh our other laundry with vinegar in the washing machine, too. The vinegar doesn’t leave a smell in your laundry (it smells like nothing), and leaves clothes much softer and less stiff. The only down side that I’ve really noticed is that vinegar is no good at removing stains. Other than that, I like the idea of getting the soap residue out of our laundry. Plus, a bottle of vinegar is way less expensive than any laundry soap I’ve ever seen.

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