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1. Body oils rub onto shirt collars and attract dirt, leaving them grimy and worse for wear. Reverse the damage by grabbing your shampoo and a clean paintbrush and paint a line over the soiled collar before washing.
2. Soaking clothes overnight in a tub of water really helps loosen dirt and grime and can be especially effective when your clothes have that dingy-all-over look.
3. To keep brights their brightest and blacks from fading, turn garments inside out and choose the coolest temperature setting that will get them clean.
4. For stubborn food stains, such as coffee, soy sauce, or mustard, blot the troubled area with foam shaving cream and allow it to sit for half an hour. Repeat the process and if the stain remains, try leaving the cream in overnight.
5. If you've just washed a stained garment, examine the results before tossing it in the dryer. If the stain didn't come out, the dryer's heat will set it and make it even harder to deal with. Your chances of success are greater if you remove the item while it's damp.
6. Your best chance of salvaging a stained garment after it's been in the dryer is to soak it for thirty minutes in a solution that's equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to wash it immediately afterward.
7. Adding a quarter cup of baking soda to a wash will take care of stale, musty odors common during the summer months and give your machine a fragrant boost to boot.
8. When conquering dried bloodstains, dampen the damaged garment with hydrogen peroxide, then rinse with cold water. If possible, set your washing machine's temperature for cold as well.
9. When battling mildew and soap scum-stained shower curtains, don't hesitate to drop them in the washing machine. For cloth as well as heavier vinyl and plastic curtains, use ordinary laundry soap and the recommended amount of bleach per load.
10. Whether you're washing by machine or hand, vinegar is a must-have in any laundry room. A cup of vinegar is an effective fabric softener in the rinse cycle, adding a little bit to a hand wash will keep clothes from staying sudsy.
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