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9 Laundry Lifesavers to Save You Money and Time

Make laundry a little more bearable. These household secrets will have you tackling stains and delicate fabrics easily, and for less.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
Woman doing laundry

A messy spill or "hand wash only" tag doesn't have to be a pain. Learn what common household items can be used to save your clothes and  your money.

Money-Saving Secrets

1. DIY Detergent Pods
Pods help anyone in your household use just the right amount of detergent to get the job done, which saves money, your clothes, and oversudsing your machine. How to make your own: Grate a bar of pure soap (such as Ivory) until you have 1/2 cup grated soap. (Or you can purchase soap flakes.)

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In a glass mixing bowl, combine the grated soap, 1½ cups washing soda, and 2 tablespoons Epsom salts. Mix in 3 tablespoons 3% hydrogen peroxide and ¼ cup vinegar. Scoop the mixture by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. You should have enough for 24. Give the piles-to-become-pods a little spritz of water to set, and allow to dry (about 12 hours). Once dry, store the pods in an airtight container. Like your laundry to smell fresh? You can add 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil when you add the peroxide and vinegar.

Amazing Stain Removers

2. Blood Stains Meat Their Match
Don’t give up on that bloodstain! Head to the kitchen for unseasoned meat tenderizer—it’s amazing for treating even set-in bloodstains. Make a paste by mixing a tablespoon or two (more for larger stains) in a bowl with enough water to make a thick paste. Spread it on the stain and allow it to sit for an hour before rinsing with cold water and washing in the laundry.
                                                    
3. Win the Wine Stain War
Blot a wine stain with a mixture of 1 part dishwashing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. If this doesn’t work, apply a paste made from water and cream of tartar and let it sit. One more tactic especially for tough reds: Douse the stain with vodka—the red pigment in wine is dissolvable in higher-proof alcohol.

4. Try this On-the-Go Solution
Need a legit reason to stash some pink packets in your purse or pocket? Applying artificial sweetener to a grease stain will absorb the oil, making washing easier once you get home.

5. Save the Day with Cornstarch
Grease stains on delicates (including silk and suede) can set off your panic button. But you can stay calm and confident with cornstarch. Just lay the garment flat, cover the stain with this simple ingredient, and set it aside it to do its absorbing work for 24 hours. Dump the spent cornstarch into the trash, and repeat with fresh cornstarch if there is still stain-removing work to do.

6. Crack Open a Can for Grease Monkeys
Have a car enthusiast in your household? Add a can of cola to the washing machine, along with detergent, to remove oil and grease stains from their clothes.

Dealing with Delicates

7. A New Spin for Delicates
Do you tend to avoid clothes with “hand wash only” tags when shopping? Here’s a game-changer: Wash delicates with ease in a salad spinner. Fill the spinner halfway with cool water. Add a delicate detergent, put on the spinner’s lid, and agitate. Next come your delicate clothing items. Soak them for a few minutes, then again place the lid on and give them a few spins. Remove the lid, lift out the inner strainer with the clothing, then pour out the dirty water. Replace with fresh water and spin your clothing again to rinse. Remove the rinse water, and spin one more time to help dry.

8. Clean Suede with Stale Bread
The stiff yet gentle texture gives just enough pressure to rub off stains. To contain any crumbs, hover over a trash can as you rub the slice of bread over the spot in a circular motion.

9. Magic for More Than Muffins
Cleaning real or fake fur can be tricky. To get rid of dirt and dinge, treat your fur accents to a little dance with cornmeal. Add the items you want to refresh to a sealable bag with a cup or two of cornmeal. Then simply seal and shake. Brush off any leftover cornmeal in the fur when you remove the item from the bag. Trash the bag and remaining cornmeal.

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