Laundry. It's a part of life. Whether we enjoy doing it or not, it's a necessity if we want to feel clean, look nice and smell fresh. But what's the best way to wash, and how often should we wash items like towels, sheets, pajamas and even sneakers?
A good rule of thumb is to change sheets once a week. Pillowcases however, may need to be changed more often, depending on if there are drool or make-up stains. If sheets or pillowcases become soiled, please change them immediately. Be mindful of your pillowcase. If you drool while you sleep, you'll need to change your pillowcase more often. Bacteria can build-up on pillowcases and lead to acne and other skin issues.
Towels should be changed at least every three days. Please allow towels to completely dry after each use before reusing. Towels quickly accumulate dead skin cells and moisture from your shower, and can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast. If you are using towels at the gym, where you may become particularly sweaty, please wash them after each use. Hand towels and washcloths should be washed every one to three days. Hand towels get used a lot and are often reused before they have a chance to dry out. Bacteria can grow quickly because of this, so don't let your hand towels sit out too long. Note: never put damp towels in the hamper. Let them dry out prior to prevent bacterial growth.
If you wear PJ pants or shorts without underwear, treat them like underwear and change them daily. Also consider if you sweat while you sleep or if you're sick, because then you'll want to wash your PJs more often. If you put on tanning lotion or have a recent spray tan, wash your PJs after one wear. As gross as this sounds, do a visual and smell check after each wear. If you see something or smell something on the PJs, it's time to put them in the wash. Otherwise, I'd recommend washing the PJs after no more than three wears. Some other points to consider: if you shower at night, your PJs will be fresher than if you shower in the morning.
Wash sheets with other sheets and towels with other towels. However, don't mix white towels with brightly colored towels, due to the risk of color bleeding. Always follow the instructions on the garment, sheet and towel labels. Wash using the item's recommended water temperature, wash cycle and dryer temperature (if permitted to put in the dyer). Silk PJs are delicate and should be hand-washed. Flannel PJs should be washed inside out. Hot water will kill the most germs, so if your item allows hot water, don't skimp on that. My favorite laundry detergent to use for towels, sheets and PJs is Arm & Hammer Plus OxiClean Odor Blasters. This detergent has built-in ingredients to ensure your garments, sheets and towels are not only clean, but also odor-free!
LAUNDRY STRIPPING: Click here to watch Cheryl explain laundry stripping live on "Houston Life" on KPRC-TV.
First, check the label on the sneakers to ensure they may be machine washed. Remove shoe insoles and shoe laces. Put sneakers in a microfiber or mesh laundry bag (like what you use when washing lingerie). Put shoelaces in a separate bag. Use cold water (to avoid shrinking and damage) and wash on a delicate cycle with a slow spin or no spin. To avoid 'extra shoe banging' around in the washing machine, add a few old bath towels of similar color.
Wash with a gentle detergent. For extra stinky shoes, you can add a little bit of distilled white vinegar. Don't use any bleach - this can damage the shoes. Instead, you may use a toothbrush to gently brush any stains with soapy water, prior to placing it in the washing machine. Air dry in the sun if possible. You may stuff the sneakers with rags or paper towels to help absorb moisture and maintain the sneaker's shape.
A brief insight on washing the insoles of shoes:
Always wash shoe insoles separately (unless the label states otherwise). Insoles can soak up a lot of moisture, which makes them difficult to dry. If insoles are not machine washable, hand wash by gently brushing them with soapy water. Use a sponge to soak up excess water. After cleaning, sprinkle the insoles with Arm & Hammer baking soda to soak up any leftover moisture and to deodorize. Once they are dry, wipe off excess baking soda and place back in sneakers.
ADDITIONAL WASHING TIPS
WATER TEMPERATURE: Most clothes (like knits and jeans) can be washed in warm water, as warm water offers great cleaning without the dreaded shrinking or fading. However, delicates and clothes that may bleed (bright and dark colors) must be washed in cold water. I recommend using cold water as often as possible, as it is great for saving money on your utilities and helping the environment by saving energy. If you wash with cold water, you may need to pre-treat heavily stained garments and let the garments soak prior to washing.
HEAVILY SOILED GARMENTS: Hot water (typically 130F and above) is best at removing heavy soil and germs. However, it can damage, shrink and fade some fabrics, so always read the garment's label before washing. Warm water is usually around 90F.
LINEN: Linen, like cotton, is an eco-friendly fabric that is breathable, durable and soft. Linen is a lightweight, strong fabric made from a flax plant. This type of fabric has a tendency to shrink when it comes in contact with hot water. Hot water can also weaken the fibers. Cold water will not remove all the dirt/body oils. The key is to wash linens in lukewarm water. Do not mix colored linens and white linens. Do not put them in the dryer (this could cause more shrinking). Lay flat to dry.