Clothing Care Tips: Protect Your Investment

 
Elegant Clothing Can Last for Decades If You Care for It Properly
My silk Sulka dressing gown was purchased on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue at their shop in the 1980s. It has always been protected from moths and bright sunlight, and thus is in excellent condition. Learn to enhance the longevity of your precious clothing. Here are some tips from our friend, eminent tailor Monsieur François:

 CLOTHING CARE TIPS

Implementing some of the following procedures will go a long way in helping you protect and extend the life of your garments: 

Dry clean your garments sparingly. Frequent cleanings can actually cause your garments to prematurely wear because of the solvents and heat that are used in the dry cleaning process. Consider dry cleaning only when necessary or, at the end of the season before storing. After cleaning, garments should be removed from the plastic bags and aired. 

Limit the use of fabric softeners. They contain additives that stick to your clothing to make them feel softer. Unfortunately, frequent usage of these softeners will also compromise the fabric’s absorbency and make them less breathable. 

Use padded or shaped hangers as they are more gentle on your garments than wire ones. Uncoated wire hangers may also rust and stain your clothes.

 Avoid hanging your coats and jackets on racks or hooks, which may cause the neck areas to stretch out of shape. 

Give your wool garments a day’s rest between wearings, allowing them to shed wrinkles and return to their original shape. 

Fold knitted garments instead of hanging them, to prevent distortion or stretching. 

Brush your garments regularly and thoroughly to refresh  them, removing any soil, hair, etc. Use a slightly damp sponge or cloth on knits and finer fabrics. 

Always read the label on your garment for specific washing-instructions. 

Allow deodorants and antiperspirants to thoroughly dry before you dress. Also, consider using dress-shields to your garments to protect them against excessive perspiration, which can weaken certain fabrics. 

All garments should be either laundered or dry cleaned prior to storage. This step is not only essential, but will prevent attracting moths. 

Never store your jackets or garments in plastic bags. They create limited air flow which may trap moisture and cause mildew to form. Plastic bags may even cause leathers and suedes to dry out. Use canvas or cloth bags instead. 

Select a storage area carefully, avoiding those with high temperatures and/or high humidity. 

To revive your clothes when you have removed them from storage: first air out the garments thoroughly and then either brush them and/or lightly pass a garment steamer over them to remove any wrinkles or creases and to perk them up. Air the clothes thoroughly after these procedures, and before putting them into your closet.

~~Monsieur François (the late Frank Blaeser), Townline Tailors of Vancouver, British Columbia

 

Luxury-Line

M-J Clothes-Line, Luxury-Line

The Clothes-Line: Drying Clothing and Towels in the Sun Is One of Life’s Low-Cost Luxuries

Line-drying your clothes in the sun is one of life’s low-cost luxuries. Your clothes and towels will last longer than if they had been dried in a machine, which gradually weakens their constitution.

Here on the internet at my main website, Elegant Survival, I have been promoting outdoor line-drying since 2006.

©M-J de Mesterton 2014

 

 

 

 

Drying Clothes Naturally

Clothes and Towels Sunbathing on the Clothesline

Washing and Drying Your Shirts

A well-made shirt can cost $100.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothes-pins or pegs. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and England that are more than twenty years old, and in perfect condition.

An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibres that a machine robs from your clothes. You’d be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they’re easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains. I sometimes use hydrogen peroxide and/or vinegar.) The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.

Giving your precious shirts to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up bad images for you? Too bad, because it is one of life’s simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun–some of the best people do it. Believe me, it’s not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008-2012

Preserving Your Clothing

Clothes dryers are energy-wasters, and will ruin your clothes as well, through fibre-loss and shrinkage. Hand-washing and line-drying your shirts will extend their lives. I use Zote soap and a small microfibre cloth to rub dirt out of cuffs and collars. Underarms need special attention, too. The reason for using a microfibre cloth instead of a brush is that it is more gentle on the fabric, but is strong enough to grab what I like to call “café crud” from cuffs. You don’t need a fancy contraption for clothes-drying; a nylon line from a variety store, and a packet of wooden clothes-pins or pegs for three dollars or a couple of pounds will do just fine.

When travelling, pack a small piece of Octagon, Zote or similar bar of laundry soap for hand-washing dainties and shirts in your quarters. The shower is a nice place to hang them; they will likely dry overnight, and probably not need ironing.  You might pack a couple of clothes-pegs as well.

The sun acts as  a fabric brightener, and your clothes will have a clean, fresh scent if treated to a sun-bath.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2009-2012

Elegant Dressing

See examples of how to dress elegantly, by the writer who brought Classic, Elegant Dressing to you in 2006.  In her latest Elegant Dressing blog, M-J de Mesterton gives explanations of style, instructive photographs, and recommendations for accessories, directing tasteful readers to currently-available, elegant clothes.

 

Protecting Your Clothes from Moths

M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

Don’t wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say “Toodles” to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

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Caring for Your Precious Shirts

Washing and Drying Your Shirts

A well-made shirt can cost $500.00 or more. That is an investment to protect. Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Ideally, one would hang shirts on a clothesline, upside down, with clothespins. This keeps pinch-marks off the important areas of your shirts. The sun will dry them in no time. Alternatively, one could hang them indoors, perhaps out-of-sight behind the the shower curtain, on hangers. A sturdy spring-rod, placed inside the shower area for the purpose of hanging clothes to dry will not interfere with your existing shower-rod. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt, which will die an angry death before its time. My husband and I have shirts from France and England that are twenty years old, and in perfect condition.

An electric, energy-consuming dryer is an enemy to high-quality clothing. In fact, dryers shrink clothes and wear them out quickly; lint is composed of fibers that a machine robs from your clothes. You’d be surprised at how swiftly shirts dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, they’re easy to iron. In cases of stubborn collar and cuff soil, when hand-scrubbing fails, you can still wash your white shirts in hot water, soap, and a little bleach if necessary, as long as they are rinsed well, and then hung to dry. (Bleach alternative may be a better choice, if you can get it to work on stubborn stains.) Bleach is to be used only after stain-removal steps like soaking in Zote soap or Octagon (shirtmaker Alexander Kabbaz recommends Octagon for hand-washing his works of art) have been attempted without success. Always use as little bleach as possible, diluted before adding to wash-water, and only on white shirts. Bleach has a corrosive effect on your shirt’s fibers. The sun will do some natural bleaching of white cotton. Save costly energy and prolong the life of your shirts by hand-washing and sun-drying them.

Giving your precious shirts to a dry-cleaner or other laundry service is wasteful. They crush buttons and machine-dry the poor things. Do clothes hanging on a line outdoors conjure up bad images for you? Too bad, because it is one of life’s simple luxuries to be able to dry a beautiful, well-made shirt in the sun–some of the best people do it. Believe me, it’s not remotely infradig to care for your own shirts. After all, who cares for them more than you do?

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, May 2008

M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

 Don’t wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes or fill burlap pouches with it, and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say “Toodles” to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

 Don’t wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes or fill burlap pouches with it, and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say “Toodles” to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

>M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

>

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

 Don’t wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes or fill burlap pouches with it, and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say “Toodles” to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

How to Iron a Man’s Shirt

Ironing a Man’s Shirt

My Swedish grandmother taught me how to iron men’s shirts. Like Scandinavians of all social strata, she adored being at the ironing board. I don’t know how other people do it, but here is our system:
Flattening and folding the yoke (found under the collar at the back of shirt) at its bottom seam, iron it. You can iron-out the resultant crease later, when ironing the whole of the back.Iron the underside of the collar, then its topside, then iron a crease at the seam where it meets the shirt.
Iron the insides and outsides of the cuffs, before doing the two sleeves. Then you are ready to execute the easy parts: the two front sides and the back.
Hint: keep a spray bottle of water nearby to mist the shirt’s stubborn wrinkles, even if you have a steam iron. Spraying with water is generally safer than using the shot-of-steam feature on your iron. If do you use steam, empty the iron, refill it, and test-run for rusty water which can be difficult to remove once it is on the shirt. Do not use the highest temperature setting: crispy brown edges are for tortes, not chemises!
Besides the great feeling of accomplishment one gets finishing each shirt, it saves money which one may have spent having a cleaning outfit doing the work. There is dignity in ironing; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
UPDATE: The very best iron that I have ever owned is this one from Panasonic. I have owned irons from Germany that cost three times as much, and each one ruined my silk clothes by dripping on them. This one is totally reliable, and costs about $30.00 US. I choose the the Japanese over the Germans here, and if given the same choice in cars, I would do the same.
Washing Your Shirts
Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Wet the grimy, sweaty and stained spots and rub them with a bar of Zote Soap (in the absence of Zote, a bar of Octagon will do). Soak them overnight in a small tub of water, then agitate and rinse by hand, preferably. Hang to dry. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. My husband has been treating his shirts this way for decades, and some of them have lasted for twenty years. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt’s fibers. You’d be surprised at how swiftly they dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, shirts are easy to iron. Sending your expensive or custom-made shirts to the cleaners may seem luxurious, but will sound an early death-knell for them. Getting up-close and personal with your shirts will ensure that they enjoy the good, long life that their maker intended.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton; August, 2007

Washing and Drying Clothes without Electricity

Washing and Drying Clothes without Electricity, et Cetera

Posted at 10:58 AM on June 11, 2009

M-J's Clothes-Washing Operation (photo copyright Elegant Survival 2009)

M-J's Clothes-Washing Operation (Photo Copyright Elegant Survival 2009)

M-J’s Clothes-Washing Routine

We don’t have a washer or dryer. That’s by choice. I have plenty of water, two sinks and two buckets. When I say “plenty”, I mean it is available, but I don’t waste it. The beauty of washing and rinsing in buckets is that one can dump the “grey water” out in the garden. Plants don’t mind soap or vinegar, in fact, vinegar and salt, as I like to say, are fertilizers. I have the luxury of a washbasin and a rinse-bucket. Note that the silver one matches the sink, while a white basin would look swell in a porcelain one.

This isn’t “roughing it”. I once lived without running water for over a year, with just wood-stoves for cooking and heating. I took sauna (pronounced “sow-nah”, not “sawna”) regularly, though. Then there was the time I lived in a tee-pee for two weeks in 25* weather. I am used to building my own fires for cooking and heat, making my own bread the old-fashioned way, washing clothes by hand and hanging them on the line to dry. Those things are muscle-building, and who needs a fancy “health-club” when saving electricity and doing things yourself keep a gal in shape? I don’t watch television; we cut the cable last year, as described in Household Hints. No problem–as a radio-nut,  I have a lot of them, all operable with batteries, including a short-wave.

One of my favorite themes here and on the Elegant Survival News blog is getting by without electricity. For now, I use a computer, and someday, when the power-grids fail because of ridiculous energy-restrictions, I am going to adapt to the new situation with my usual vigor.

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2009

Wash-Water Additives, Laundry Boosters

Borax

Vinegar

Salt

Baking Soda

Hydrogen Peroxide (for white items with stubborn stains)

Sometimes I use a combination of the above additives, depending upon the stains at hand.

For wringing clothes, I sometimes use The Absorber, available at auto-supply stores.

The Clothes Line, an Elegant Survival Original, Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006

The Clothes Line, an Elegant Survival Original, Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2006

When it is raining, I use a wooden laundry-rack instead of hanging clothes outside. If you live in an apartment, plastic hangers on an extra shower-rod, placed in the middle of the area above the tub, works well, too, with adequate ventilation.


Elegant Survival Household Tips

New Additions, November 29th, 2007:
Microwave Safety
Always cook with glass dishes when using a microwave oven. Even if your crockery was made after the lead-poisoning alert, it could still be produced by a manufacturer whose products have slipped past the inspections/standards process. Pyrex and Corningware are safe, as are inexpensive glass dishes and cups made by Arcoroc of France. I have one glass mug in which I reheat my coffee.
Speaking of Coffee…
I’ve found that Douwe Egberts is my favourite brand of coffee in Europe, and I am also very fond of their Senseo pods which are used in the eponymous brewing system. I liked it so well that I bought them for two of my friends. However, the pods can be punitively expensive if one wants to have five or six cups a day of Senseo coffee. In my Utopian vision of a perfect world, that is what I would do. But, I’m loath to be so self-indulgent, and only use the Senseo brewer when I have guests. For daily coffee in the U.S., I recommend Yuban. You can purchase a two-and-a quarter pound can of Yuban Original Colombian Coffee for about $5.00 US. It smells heavenly–even more so than Chock-Full-O’Nuts in New York claims to do. I like to percolate it in a stainless steel coffee pot. It tastes wonderful, for those who don’t like their coffee beans blackened beyond recognition Starbucks-style. Speaking of coffees available in the U.S.A., I subscribed to Gevalia Swedish coffees for twelve years until I sensed that their quality had gone down–that was just before I discovered the Senseo system. If you use powdered, non-dairy creamers, avoid Coffee-Mate. It contains aluminum (see my health section). Brands that don’t are offered at Sam’s and Wal*Mart; anywhere else, you only have to read the ingredients and see that your choice doesn’t include aluminates (popular flow-agents) of any kind.
Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ironing a Man’s Shirt
My Swedish grandmother taught me how to iron men’s shirts. Like Scandinavians of all social strata, she adored being at the ironing board. I don’t know how other people do it, but here is our system:
Flattening and folding the yoke (found under the collar at the back of shirt) at its bottom seam, iron it. You can iron-out the resultant crease later, when ironing the whole of the back.Iron the underside of the collar, then its topside, then iron a crease at the seam where it meets the shirt.
Iron the insides and outsides of the cuffs, before doing the two sleeves. Then you are ready to execute the easy parts: the two front sides and the back.
Hint: keep a spray bottle of water nearby to mist the shirt’s stubborn wrinkles, even if you have a steam iron. Spraying with water is generally safer than using the shot-of-steam feature on your iron. If do you use steam, empty the iron, refill it, and test-run for rusty water which can be difficult to remove once it is on the shirt. Do not use the highest temperature setting: crispy brown edges are for tortes, not chemises!
Besides the great feeling of accomplishment one gets finishing each shirt, it saves money which one may have spent having a cleaning outfit doing the work. There is dignity in ironing; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
UPDATE: The very best iron that I have ever owned is this one from Panasonic. I have owned irons from Germany that cost three times as much, and each one ruined my silk clothes by dripping on them. This one is totally reliable, and costs about $30.00 US. I choose the the Japanese over the Germans here, and if given the same choice in cars, I would do the same.
Washing Your Shirts
Your shirts will last much longer if they are washed by hand and hung to dry. Don’t use so much detergent that it takes a rinsing marathon to remove it. “A little dab’ll do ya”, as the old Brylcreem jingle said. Wet the grimy, sweaty and stained spots and rub them with a bar of Zote Soap (in the absence of Zote, a bar of Octagon will do). Soak them overnight in a small tub of water, then agitate and rinse by hand, preferably. Hang to dry. If you don’t want to get hanger-marks on the shoulders, just put wash-cloths under them, over the ends of your hanger. My husband has been treating his shirts this way for decades, and some of them have lasted for twenty years. The worst thing to do, even if you wash your shirts in cold water in the gentle cycle, is to dry them in a machine–doing so will quickly degrade your shirt’s fibers. You’d be surprised at how swiftly they dry naturally, and when they are just a wee bit damp, shirts are easy to iron. Sending your expensive or custom-made shirts to the cleaners may seem luxurious, but will sound an early death-knell for them. Getting up-close and personal with your shirts will ensure that they enjoy the good, long life that their maker intended.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton; August, 2007

Because Swiffer-type cloths are expensive, and not re-usable after a certain point, I now use large microfiber cloths for dusting furniture and floors. They pick up just as much dust and hair as the aforementioned product. Large microfiber cloths are available in bulk at Sam’s Club, in blue, yellow, chartreuse and orange. At our last purchase, they were 15 USD for 25 of them. They’re soft and washable. Here is what I devised today for dusting floors and cars–it leaves those disposable electrostatic gadgets in the dust:

M-Jeanne’s Home-Made Microfiber Dust-Mop

Take three large microfiber cloths and lay them on top of each other, at varying angles. Center your stack of cloths over the end of an old broom/mop stick, and then, a couple of inches from the end of stick, strap them on with a tightly-pulled, heavy-duty plastic cinch (available at Sam’s and office-supply stores–alternatively, you may use a rubber band). Invert this and run it around your floor, under furniture, or over your car. Clean the mop by shaking it outdoors. You could even use a lint-brush on the cloth, then when you have enough dirty ones, wash them together in the machine. Repeat construction process after they are dry, using a fresh cinch (I use multipurpose ties/cinchos by Thomas Betts). Attach the Cloths to the Broomstick; Invert and Use Dust-Mop

Microfibre Dust-Mop and Photos Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2007

Update: I have found that a microfibre rag will adhere to a sponge-mop. Tie the ends and you will be ready to clean and polish a smooth floor with very little moisture. Fill a one-litre spray bottle with water, leaving room to add a third-cup of white vinegar and one teaspoon of lavender oil. Shake it. This is my preferred cleaning fluid. Mist the floor with it, and go over it with the dry microfibre mop until it is dry and shiny. This cleaning mist can be used on sinks and fixtures, mirrors, microwave ovens, jugs, anything that needs cleaning and shining about the house. It is also a deodorant. The scent of the lavender overpowers that of the vinegar. Careful–this method of cleaning is so easy that you may be cleaning as a hobby if you don’t temper your enthusiasm!

M-J’s Miscellaneous Hints

Keep newly-polished silver free of tarnish by storing it with a piece of aluminum foil (one of the safer uses for aluminum).

Omit the fabric-softener when washing and drying towels. It leaves a coating which reduces their absorbency. I prefer a sun-dried white cotton towel, which is excellent for an invigorating rub. Lightweight cotton towels for the kitchen and bath can all be washed in a solution of detergent and a little bleach. They dry much faster than coloured velour ones, and lend a look of sparkling cleanliness. Lightweight, white cotton towels may be bought in bulk at wholesale stores like Sam’s Club in the U.S.

To keep rarely-used garlic fresh, peel it and store it in a jar in the freezer.

Use salt in your wash-water to help remove stains.

To rid old books of odors, dust the pages with talcum powder, and let them sit for a day. Brush out the powder.

To make cake rise higher, add a half-teaspoon of white vinegar to the batter.

Use old-fashioned wooden clothespins to close bread and chip-bags. They’re cute, easier to manipulate than twist-ties, and are cheaper than chip-clips.

To remove red and burgundy wines from tablecloths after dinner parties, wash them immediately afterwards in the machine, with the laundry detergent of your choice, in hot water with the addition of a half-cup of white vinegar and perhaps some table salt. This routine has always worked for me.

Conserving Candle Wax
I have noticed a jump in candle-prices. Many candles are unusable before their wax disappears. Then, you may have a considerable amount of unused candle wax which could go to waste. I save old candle wax, scented or plain, and when I have enough of it, I melt it in an old pan and pour it into a container into which I have put a standing wick. Then I have a new candle. The wicks can be purchased at crafts stores.
Keep defunct candles in a plastic bag until you have enough to melt. A plain metal pot is best, and I recommend melting wax together from similarly colored candles. Shown are stubs from beeswax tapers and a yellow pillar candle. Old wicks and metal anchors for them are not a problem; just use a metal ladle to transfer hot wax, omitting the debris. Caution: don’t melt used candles in a microwave oven–there will likely be a metal wick or anchor in it.