Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"How to iron a shirt" from The Chicago Tribune

It's not that hard -- all you need is an iron and a damp shirt straight out of the washing machine.

Surely, there will come a moment in your life when the only thing that stands between you and whatever it is you covet (job interview/hot date/big meeting/you name it) is the wrinkled mess that is your only clean shirt. To assist, we called on Gwen Whiting, co-founder of The Laundress, (laundry accoutrements at thelaundress.com). She has a degree in textile science from Cornell University and was actually graded for ironing. — Barbara Mahany

Step #1

Check for grime on the bottom of the iron. Also, clear the ironing board of debris. If it’s really dusty, throw the cover in the wash.

Step #2
Skip the dryer, ironing straight from the washing machine. Not possible? Use a spray bottle of water to dampen. Heat: Crank iron to whatever temperature matches your shirt. Look for the itty-bitty words on the dial and on your shirt tag. For an oxford cloth shirt, use “cotton/linen.”

Step #3
It’s optional and builds up over time, so you should occasionally throw the shirt in the wash to remove build-up, even if you usually dry clean. Types: Starch is for natural fabrics; sizing for synthetic fabrics. Spray on before ironing begins.

Step #4

Collar: Pop it, and iron from the tips toward the middle. Iron the inside. Flip. Do the outside. Don’t turn down the collar until the rest of the shirt is ironed. Do NOT iron a crease into the collar. Cuffs: Starting on the inside, iron from bottom edge toward the sleeve. Flip cuff. Repeat. Also poke the tip of the iron into the pleat(s) just above the cuff.

Step #5

Sleeves: Hold up and tug taut the arm so you’ve got a crisp, straight fold from shoulder to cuff. Lay sleeve on the board, and in long sweeping strokes, iron in a straight solid crease. Do the back of the sleeve first because inevitably you’ll get creases, so save the front for last. Slide the armpit part of the sleeve over the tip of the ironing board, and iron flat the shoulder. Yoke: Staying in that position, hit the yoke, that double-layer strip that connects the collar to the shirt body. Swing the iron from shoulder to mid-back. Switch shoulders. Repeat.

Step #6

Front non-button side: In long strokes from collar down, start with the placket (the strip with all the button holes). Pocket: Iron from the bottom up.
Back: Iron below the yoke, from top to bottom.
Front button-side: Lastly, using the tip of the iron, weave in and around the buttons.
Done: Hang it up so you don’t have to do it again (wooden hanger preferred).

Article is originally posted here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We're on AOL's diylife.com!

Home Ec: Whiten Your Whites without Bleachby Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Keep your white laundry gleaming with these easy, all-natural methods.
White is a classic summer color -- but ironically, white is also the hardest color to wear, especially in the summer. Think about it: drippy ice cream cones, grilling (burgers, ketchup, mustard), picnics in the grass. And then there's the real villain for any white shirt: armpit sweat. Beyond stains, there's the dinge factor. You wash your whites over and over and they take on a shade of gray or yellow that's not pretty.

Here's the good news: it is possible to keep your whites their whitest -- and you don't necessarily have to use bleach to accomplish this.

1. Separate whites completely from any color.
You have to separate your whites from any and all colored laundry -- no exceptions. That means light-colored clothing, whites with a little pattern -- and even cream- and beige-colored clothing. These light dyes won't stain your whites in the way an errant red sock may turn a white load pink, but these lights add to the yellow or gray tint that can develop over time as you wash load upon load.

2. Don't overload your washer.
Stuffing your washer full is never a good idea when you're doing laundry -- but it's an extra bad idea for white loads. The clothes can't move around well during the wash load, the detergent doesn't filter efficiently, and you're likely to get detergent residue left behind, which creates a dingy look on fabrics over time. Fabrics also wear on each other when they're crammed inside a washer; this practice breaks down the fibers gradually.

3. Use a specialty detergent designed specifically for whites.
Any all-in-one detergent will clean your whites. But only a specialty whites detergents will keep your whites in better shape longer. This specialty detergent is worth the extra money. Whites detergents contain a small amount of oxygen bleach or bleach alternative (like optical brighteners) that give your white fabrics a bluish tint, so they appear whiter. My personal favorite is the Laundress Whites Detergent.

4. Use a laundry booster.
Think your white T-shirt doesn't have any stains? You might be wrong. Stains often disappear with water and reappear later. The sugar in stains (like squirts of grapefruit juice) later oxidizes in the air and turns yellow over time. Simply add a scoop of laundry booster to your wash load. Stains are very easy to spot on your crisp whites, so always use a booster with white loads. Laundry boosters are formulated to tackle and treat stains. (Laundry boosters also let you skip the pre-treating process.) OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover is a fantastic laundry booster that keeps your whites vibrantly white (and stain-free). If you're looking for a green alternative, try EcoStore's Pure Oxygen Whitener.

5. Skip fabric softener.
You really don't need fabric softener at all, according to experts. But if you prefer to use fabric softener, use it only every few washes -- or make your own all-natural fabric softener. Over time, chemical fabric softener builds up and causes a dingy appearance on whites.

6. Treat armpit stains.I learned this trick from Steve Boorstein, the Clothing Doctor. You can prevent armpit sweat stains (that create yellow spots on your white T-shirts over time) with a simple formula. Make a solution of water with a little detergent in a spray bottle. As soon as you take off your shirt, spritz the armpit area of your shirt with the solution before putting it in the hamper. This simple step helps rinse out the perspiration right away and extends the life of your shirts.

Tip: If you're on the go (as most of us are in the summer) keep an OxiClean Spray-A-Way in your bag for any surprise food, grass, or bike grease stains on your whites. Hit up the stain with this instant stain solution, then dab the stain with a water-soaked white cloth, like a paper towel.

See original posting here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We love this posting from www.beautysnob.com!

Beauty isn't all about the latest lipstick, lotion or lathering product. Sometimes it can be about product maintenance--literally--as well! Which is why I love the Laundress New York's collar and cuff bar designed for J.Crew. How do I know it works? I use it. Almost everyday. Completely nontoxic, biodegradable, dye and allergen free and animal cruelty free, keep shirt cuffs and collars looking, well, perfect with this ultra-gentle 3.5 oz stain bar formulated from 100 percent vegetable soap with natural borox. It fights stubborn stains and everyday grime and grease so well it'll easily become the laundry-shelf MVP!

$7, available at jcrew.com.
See original post here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This week's Ask The Laundress

I have been using your products exclusively now for some time and they are impressive, BUT, ever since I ditched my top loader Maytag for a Kenmore Elite frontloader, my clothes don't come out clean, esp. whites, no matter what I do. Presoak in the bleach alt. use hot H20, etc. Buying a new machine..should I go back to the old top loader? Any suggestions?
Thanks, Pat

Hi Patricia-
I don't believe cleaning your machine is the problem - those machines just do not clean as well as our old school Maytags. Yes, they are more efficient, but not really when you have to re-wash. They use less water, less swashing around...and at the end of the day don't work as well. We have a similiar machine. Our whirlpool is the same make as the Kenmore for sears. I use the whites, extra rinse etc. and the only thing I get is extra twisting of my items wrung in knots. I wish I had better advise or news for you. Real toughies presoak in a basin with hot water. Don't rely on the machine soak function because it isn't enough water.

Best and Happy Laundering,

Follow up Response:
Good Morning Gwen,

I have a bit of follow-up for you. Was expressing my washing woes with a friend who is also a "the laundress" follower and a professed clean freak. She invited me over, along with my dirtiest whites, to try a load in her new Electrolux Wave Touch machine. I spent all morning yesterday scrubbing down floors with my white cloths, and as it rained yesterday and I have 4 little dogs, they got a workout. Into the mix went the white towels I used for washing/drying the car. Had a load of really dirty stuff. Took it all to her house for a test. Used her steam cycle, the bleach alternative and whites detergent, and gave it a go. Figured I'd just dump the towels afterward because nothing could get this mess white again. I was floored and astounded! Absolutely pristine white white white! No stains, residual dirt, nothing. We both have water filtration systems in our homes, so the water is always soft. We both use your products, so that wasn't it. Always use hot water for white towels. As a research chemist, I just can't stop without a reason. Watching the movement of the drum, etc. felt the clothes were tumbled a bit differently, but think it was maybe the steam. I have read pros and cons about whether the steam really does anything, but definitely something worked. The cycle was 90 minutes, with a warm water rinse. I'm off today to shop for a new Electrolux machine. My friend loves hers, and I am certainly sold with the steam cycle. By the way, I often use more water on certain loads after the machine starts, by filling a large pitcher with water and pouring it directly into the soap dispenser, which flows right into the machine, something I'm sure you've already done. Anyway, keep up the good work, thanks for the reply, and happy laundering!



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