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A Laundry List of Laundry Tips: 10 household items that can help in the laundry room


Add ½ cup during the rinse cycle to:

  • Soften fabrics without leaving a residue.
  • Help with separating pet hair and lint from fabrics in the dryer.
  • Add 2 cups to a gallon of water and soak fabric to:
  • Remove smoke and pet odors from fabric.
  • Remove light mildew stains from fabric.

Baking Soda

Add ½ cup to your laundry to:

  • Boost detergent and brighten whites.
  • Eliminate odors from loads of “soured” laundry.
  • Combine with water to make a paste. Use it to:
  • Treat stains.
  • Remove stains from washing machine, like sticky residue from a missed pack of gum.

Dawn Detergent (tested only with the original blue Dawn)

  • Apply to grease stains as soon as possible to break down grease. Launder as usual and air dry. Repeat if needed.
  • Pretreat formula stains on baby items.
  • Combine 1 part Dawn with 2 parts each of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for a stain fighting “goo” that rivals any store-bought solutions. Apply to stains, let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours before washing as usual.

Dishwashing Detergent Powder (tested with Cascade)

  • Wet fabric and sprinkle dishwashing powder over ketchup, mustard and barbecue sauce stains. Rub with a soft toothbrush before laundering.
  • Combine 1/2 Cup Clorox color safe bleach crystals and 1/2 Cup Cascade Dishwashing Crystals and dissolve in hot water. Soak your items in the “potion” overnight, then rinse well and wash as normal. If you see spots after washing, repeat the process. (Thanks to our friends at Wee Trade Consignment Sale in Jacksonville, FL for this great tip!)

Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Pour on blood stains and rinse with cold water, repeat as needed.
  • Soak white fabrics in hydrogen peroxide to remove yellow stains


  • Add 1/8 to ¼ cup to a load of laundry to get rid of oily, musty, or body odors in clothing.
  • Combine 1 part ammonia, 1 part dishwashing liquid and 1 part water to create a homemade laundry stain remover. Do NOT use bleach in a load of clothes where you have used this stain remover.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Apply to ink stains to help remove the ink.
  • Remove paint from fabric. Wet fabric with warm water. Generously apply rubbing alcohol to dried paint on fabric. Brush vigorously with a soft toothbrush until paint starts to disappear. Rinse with warm water and repeat.

Lemon Juice

  • Add ¼ to ½ cup to a load of whites to brighten fabric and remove dinginess.
  • Sprinkle directly on stains on white fabric, place in the sun to bleach out stains. Launder as usual.


  • Make a paste of salt and vinegar to remove rust stains from fabric. Apply the paste, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then stretch the fabric over a heatproof container and pour boiling water over it. Run through the rinse cycle in your washing machine and allow item to air dry. Repeat if needed.
  • Combine ice cream salt with 20-30 (or more, if desired) drops of your favorite higher-quality essential oil to create scented fabric softening crystals. Store in airtight container and add ¼ – ½ cup per load to create long-lasting freshness. (Great for consignment sale prep!)


  • Combine 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch with 3⅓ cups of cool water and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle to create your own laundry starch. Shake well before using. This makes a light-to-medium starch. Add more cornstarch for a heavier starch.
  • Grease stains? Sprinkle both sides of the fabric liberally with cornstarch and leave it alone for 10-15 minutes. Shake out the fabric and brush off any remaining cornstarch. Dab at any remaining stain with vinegar or Dawn detergent, then launder in hottest water recommend by the manufacturer. Air dry and repeat process with Dawn if necessary.

About the Author

Elizabeth Renfroe has a passion for all things consignment sale-related.  She enjoys coordinating the Children’s Market Sale at First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama.

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