Everyone’s heard of the laundry tricks that can miraculously remove stains and restore old garments. Most of us are not good at these tricks and we often barely remember to stain-treat a shirt before washing it. But keeping our washers in good condition is a different story. Laundry additives can harm or help your washer, and even the longevity of your clothes. Today we’re here to talk about the top five laundry additives that improve the maintenance of your washer and clothes.
Borax is an alkaline mineral salt and natural scrubbing powder. It is used traditionally to make homemade soaps and it washes clean out of everything. On a molecular level, borax is sodium borate – a compound of sodium, boron, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules and forms naturally as crystals after the repeat evaporation of seasonal lakes.
It is a glass-safe scrubbing powder, and it’s also great to sprinkle into your laundry.
- Scrubbing Powder
- Borax crystals dissolve into tiny sharp molecules in water. When agitated with your laundry, it scrubs the fabric and the inner tub of the washing machine at the same time. Anything that has been building up in the fibers or on the enamel will be scrubbed without damaging the source material. Then the borax washes out clean in the rinse cycle.
- Sudsing Agent
- The small crystals also serve to agitate the soap in your washer. Detergent scrubs against borax like the pores in a sponge and it creates sudsing. That sudsing is the chemical cleaning action that dissolves dirt and grime on clothing – and on the inside of the washer. It also counteracts the anti-sudsing effect of hard-water minerals.
- Mold Killer
- Very conveniently, the sharp particles of borax in wash-water is also killer to tiny mold spores and growing colonies. Mildew and mold growth anywhere in your laundry system will be killed more quickly with borax in the mix.
White vinegar is one of the universal home cleaning solutions. It is acidic yet non-toxic, and it’s very affordable to keep a half-gallon in the cabinet for everything. It’s also a very powerful laundry additive, especially if you’ve been having trouble with scent, stiffness, or mold.
- Mineral Dissolver
- 90% of homes in America run hard water – which means they contain hard minerals like calcium and magnesium. So much that it leaves a white powdery scale on everything. This includes your washer, the inside of pipes, and your clothing fibers. Vinegar dissolves mineral scale, so the occasional cup of vinegar in a full or empty load of laundry is very beneficial to fight hard water.
- Bacteria Killer
- The acidic nature of vinegar is bad for bacteria. From body sweat to dirty jobs, washing your clothes with vinegar will help to sanitize the load and keep the washer clean.
- Mold Killer
- Vinegar’s acidic content also kills mold, which is a plant and natural growth. If you have a mildew problem with the washer, both wash with vinegar and run vinegar in your laundry loads.
- Odor Killer
- Most people think vinegar smells strongly, but that smell is gone by the end of the laundry cycle. It also takes other strong smells with it. Wash with vinegar to remove lingering odors in clothes or the washer.
3) Baking Soda
Baking soda is another mineral salt, sodium bicarbonate. This is made of sodium, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It can be found in natural crystals but it is now mostly manufactured by combining soda ash and carbon dioxide. Baking soda is alkaline, so it reacts with acids and neutralizes them. This is why it fizzles with vinegar and kills odors.
- Scrubbing Powder
- Baking soda alone is a natural dissolving salt, therefore a good scrubbing powder. It is non-toxic, thus safe to bake with, but is used in greater quantities as a cleaning agent.
- Odor Killer
- Most odors are actually acids – hence the sharp smell. because baking soda neutralizes acids, it is an extremely effective odor killer. This is why baking soda actually kills odors instead of just masking them.
Citric acid is a great cleaning product. Lemons and lemon juice are like vinegar, but we enjoy the smell. Lemon juice is a long-time favorite as a laundry additive.
- Stain Treatment
- Many stains can be treated with lemon juice. Lemons have a slightly bleaching and antiseptic quality. Lemon juice will lighten clothes and help to sanitize dirty laundry.
- Laundry Scenting
- If you don’t want your laundry to smell faintly of machinery, lemon juice is a great additive for faintly and naturally scenting clothes and lightly sanitizing the inside of the washing machine.
5) Essential Oils
Many people add essential oils to their laundry in one of several forms. Depending on how you choose to do this, it could be helpful or potentially harmful to the laundry or machine. Never simply add raw drops of essential oil to the empty washer bin or directly to the cloth. Remember that oil can be staining if applied directly.
- Scented Detergent
- You can use essential oils to scent plain or homemade detergent. Diffused into detergent, it is a great scenting agent and will not leave an oily stain or drips.
- Scented Dryer Balls
- Wool dryer balls are reusable replacements for dryer sheets. They both diffuse static and give your laundry an extra fluffing tumble. A few drops of essential oil into dryer balls can scent them and your laundry in the final phase.
- Myriad Natural Effects
- Some essential oils have additional benefits that may pass through when in use. Tea tree, for example, fights fungus, lemongrass kills other odor, and the natural mint scent contains menthol.
Taking care of your clothes and washer at the same time is the key to a long low-maintenance life. Fight back mold, sanitize heavy wash loads, and scent your clothing for a pleasant-smelling lifestyle all with just a few smart laundry additives. If you have any serious washing machine concerns or if the usual home remedies aren’t solving a lingering odor or performance issue, contact us for professional appliance repair services in your area.