lemon juice

The Fantastic Four in the Laundry Room

Baking Soda

Baking soda is harmless to the environment and has mild alkali qualities that help it dissolve grease and dirt. Baking soda can be especially helpful in areas served by hard water: Adding baking soda to a washing machine’s rinse cycle will result in clothes that are better rinsed, softer and more stain resistant.  Add 1/2 cup baking soda to top-loading machines or 1/4 cup for front-loading machines along with the usual amount of detergent to give the detergent a boost. Baking soda can help increase bleach’s whitening power so much that you’ll be able to use less bleach.

 

Vinegar

Like baking soda, vinegar can serve a lot of different purposes in the laundry room. When using vinegar in the laundry, use distilled white vinegar, which generally can be found in gallon jugs near the baking or laundry aisles in the grocery store.  A mixture of half water and half vinegar makes a good stain pretreatment.  Spray a little onto the stain a few minutes before washing and then wash as usual.

Vinegarcan also add a kick to regular laundry detergents. To soften a standard load of wash, add 1/2 cup vinegar during your machine’s last rinse cycle. In addition to softening, vinegar added at this time will help reduce lint buildup, and it tends to help pet owners with hair buildup on their fabrics.

 

Salt

Salt can also be a good stain remover, especially when the stain is still fresh. Salt can also help maintain and restore bright colors, reduce yellowing, and eliminate mildew in fabrics.

 

Lemon Juice

But among the Fantastic Four, lemon juice really takes the leading role for laundry tasks. Add 1/2 cup of it to a regular load of laundry during the wash cycle, and it will make the whole load smell fresher. Add it to a load of whites, and the whites become whiter. Combine lemon juice with cream of tartar and you have a very powerful stain remover.

 

 

Rust Removal

If you’re like many of us (especially many of us with children), perhaps you’ve found a few things that were left out in the rain and snow when they shouldn’t have been. Not to worry — you can clean off any lightly rusted items in an earth-friendly way by using some of the items in our Fantastic Four cleaning kit (baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and salt).

 

General cleaning

First, mix equal parts salt and cream of tartar, moistened with enough water to make a paste. Use this paste on metal outdoor furniture, for example, or rusted metal parts on an outdoor grill. Apply the paste with a soft cotton cloth and set the item in the sun to dry. Wipe off and repeat if necessary. Afterward, rinse clean. You can also try making this paste using lemon juice and salt, rather than cream of tartar. Be sure to keep the amount of lemon juice or water you use consistent with making a paste thick enough to not slide off any vertical surfaces.