A subscriber asks

Hi !! How often should I change my sheets? Asks Laura Hughes

Aggie says: – “As often or as seldom as you like.  But, I would normally say once a week.

Mouldy shower curtain?

Don’t give up on it and chuck it out.

Machine-wash on a wool cycle with some towels and rehang in position straight from the machine.

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Goo on your iron’s soleplate?

While it’s warm, rub with a nylon scourer and a little non-gel toothpaste. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. And next time you’re ironing a T-shirt with a motif that might stick, turn it inside out.

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What type of laundry detergent to use?

Non-bio is best for general laundry and items that need to be washed at a higher temperature such as sheets and towels.

Bio contains enzymes that digest food and fat stains, and works best at 40C (anything higher kills the enzyme). Great for kids’ clothes. Don’t use on silk or wool as it can weaken the fibres.

Some people reckon that bio detergents can irritate skin, but there is no hard evidence to suggest this is true – it’s thought that it’s more likely to be the perfume in the detergent. If someone in your household has eczema, try adding an extra rinse or two to the cycle.

Laundry balls In my experience, if your items are stained, the balls are pretty useless at removing them.

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A subscriber asks – The clothes are wet and full of mould

Hi Aggie, I hope you can help me. I found a bag of my summer clothes in my loft that were leaning against a stone wall. The clothes are wet and full of mould. Can you advise how I can remove the mould? Will it be killed by the washing machine? Many thanks in advance. Kathryn Douglas

Hi Kathryn
Sorry for the delay in replying. If you’ve not already done so, anything that can normally be put in the washing machine should go in there, and the mould spores will be removed.
However I’m pretty sure that the mould stains won’t come out.  The only thing that will remove those is a bleach-based product.  And you should only use bleach on whites as if used on coloureds they will remove the colour.
If I were you I\d probably chuck the whole bag out and look at getting the loft waterproofed.
Wish you well,
Aggie

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How to look after your pillows

tatyanaBuzmakova_Krasnova (CC0), Pixabay

When did you last wash your pillows? You can be sure that a fair proportion of a pillow’s weight is made up of skin scales, dandruff, sweat, saliva and goodness knows what else!

While the sun’s shining, get those pillows (two at a time) in the washing machine (check the care label first) and out on the line.

Feather-filled pillows need to dry quickly, otherwise if they hang about damp for a few days the feathers will develop mould and your good work will be undone. If the rain’s back on, stick in the tumble dryer with a few white tennis balls to stop the filling clumping.

And always better to cover them with pillow protectors to protect from soiling. You’ll sleep a lot sounder now…

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Smelly washing machine?

The reason is because we’re all washing too often at low temperatures or always using the quick cycle.

Bacteria, which produce gases that give off a bad smell, will survive a 30 degree wash, so when the water drains away, the bacteria are left behind to build up and grow in number inside the machine, hence the nasty niffs (and eventually black mould on the seal).

The answer?

Do a ‘maintenance wash’: throw a cup of clear vinegar into the empty drum and run the machine on the hottest wash.

Thereafter, make sure you do a 60 degree wash once a week, particularly for towels and cotton sheets. Sweet smells guaranteed from now on.

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Fluff up your towels

Towels go hard usually because people use too much fabric conditioner.

What happens is that over time the surplus never gets rinsed properly, and starts to build up…which ends up making the dried towels stiff – ironic, isn’t it?

The best thing to do is to stop the machine before the final rinse and add a cup of clear vinegar to the drum. No, you won’t have the lingering waft of eau de fish and chips!

Trade secret: a vinegar rinse is what keeps hotel towels soft.

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Washing line woes?

I love hanging washing but occasionally a passing bird will leave a deposit on my freshly laundered sheets.

As long as the items are white or colourfast (and not nylon), immerse in a solution of hydrogen peroxide, available from the chemist (one part 20-vol peroxide to six parts cold water) for up to 30 minutes, then wash in the machine as normal.

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How to use biological washing detergent

A 40-degree wash is perfect for sheets, pyjamas and towels (any higher and the enzyme in the detergent that does all the good work on the bacteria produced by the body becomes inactive).

Any lower and your items may not be cleaned properly, particularly if the bacteria load is heavy (such as on towels and underwear).

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