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The Laundry Blues

Does anyone love doing laundry? It’s often a thankless, monotonous task that Better Homes and Gardens says is one of the top 10 most hated household chores. All of the sorting (if you take the time to sort), different loads, drying, folding and putting away is time-consuming. The only thing worse is when your detergent doesn’t do the job you expected. You pull your clothes out of the dryer only to see a seemingly harmless spot of marinara has turned into a stain that has ruined your favorite t-shirt. 

You can try washing it again, but since it’s had a spin in your hot dryer, it’s likely set for good. The only thing to do now is to consider a better detergent. Sure, no single detergent can remove every spot or stain, but if you’re noticing your clothes aren’t bright but dingy, or if you’re seeing stains when your detergent should have removed them, it may be time for an upgrade.

Citric Extracts in The Laundry Room

Most traditional laundry detergents contain harsh ingredients that can cause everything from skin irritation to asthma. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) grades cleaning products on a numeric scale, with an A being least toxic and an F being the most toxic. Out of 486 laundry products evaluated, the EWG gave only 50 of them an A grade. More than 340 laundry products received a D or an F. If you do the math, that equates to only 10 percent of laundry products assessed are considered non-toxic and a whopping 70 percent are deemed toxic.

Here’s the thing: laundry detergent doesn’t have to be toxic to be effective. In fact, citric acid, a naturally-occurring ingredient found in citrus fruits, has been found to be as effective or more effective than the harsher chemicals used in traditional detergent. Citric extracts do more than remove dirt and grime, it softens your hard water to make the detergent work better. It also lowers the pH level and penetrates the cell walls of bacteria to kill germs. So, not only are you getting a more powerful clean, you’re doing it more safely with the power of citric extracts.

Boost Any Laundry Load with Citric Extract 

Not convinced or ready to make the switch to a “better for you” laundry detergent? Maybe you just bought a giant box of traditional detergent but want to experiment with some citric extract. Try a citric extract laundry booster powder. You can add a few capfuls to any laundry load to increase the effectiveness of your detergent. No matter the detergent you use, the booster will help it work harder, binding to grease and dirt ions to tear them apart, tying up and dissolving hard minerals in your water that inhibit cleaning, and lowering the pH levels to kill germs.

The citric extracts effectively remove spots you thought would ruin your clothes and brightens colors so your laundry never looks dingy. You also get the added bonus of appliance protection. You see, hard water does more than lessen the effectiveness of your laundry detergent. It causes hard water mineral build-up in your washing machine. If you look inside your washing machine or dishwasher and see grayish, cloudy spots or residue, that’s due to hard water. You may also see the same effect on your glasses and dishes.

Only a few states in our nation don’t have hard water. Remarkably, 85 percent of the U.S. has hard water, with much of our country having “very hard” or “extremely hard” water. Hard water is simply minerals that get absorbed into our aquifers as rainwater passes through the earth. Magnesium, calcium, iron and limestone are among the most common minerals found in our water supply. While hard water hasn’t been found to be harmful to humans, it can cause damage to plumbing and appliances, build-up on contacted surfaces like glass and tile, and decrease the effectiveness of cleaners.

Other Tips for The Cleanest Laundry

Besides using citric extracts in your laundry room, there are several more things you can do to get the cleanest, brightest laundry.

Prep Your Laundry

We can probably all agree that Martha Stewart knows a thing or two about keeping a proper home. Her top recommendation for keeping your laundry in tip-top shape? Ready your clothes first

Think of what happens in a washing machine and dryer. Clothes are not only getting wet and sudsy, but they are also continually rubbing against each other. The friction helps remove dirt and stains, but it also wears down the fabric over time. To reduce unnecessary friction and damage, she advises zipping zippers, removing any pins or buckles, close snaps and hooks, and secure Velcro. Note: she says to keep the buttons unbuttoned to reduce stress on the buttonholes. 

Be sure to empty pockets (nothing is worse than a burst pen or melted lipstick) and turn them inside out, unroll socks and cuffs, and tie strings so they don’t tangle. If your items are delicate, use a mesh bag made for such items or turn them inside out to prevent pilling. 

Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but if you want to protect your clothes and save money, it’s worth the prep work.  

Check for Spots

If you see a spot, pretreat it before you wash. The best way to prevent a spot from becoming a stain is to treat it as soon as you can. The longer the spot sits on the fabric, the greater the chance it will become a stain that is harder to remove. You can use a stain remover or simply dab a little of your detergent (citric extract-based works great) onto the spot and let it sit before you gently rub the stain with a soft toothbrush. 

Sort by Color

We know: sorting laundry isn’t fun. But, if you really want to keep your laundry from looking dingy, you need to sort lights from darks. The dark laundry often bleeds colors into the water, causing your whites and lights to absorb some of that color. Instead of white, you’ll get an off-white or grayish color over time. If you sort whites and lights from darker colors (particularly blues and reds), your lighter colors will remain brighter for much longer, saving you money in the long run from having to replace those items. Finally, turn your colored items inside out to reduce the friction on the outer side that causes colors to fade.

Wash Towels Separately

We don’t recommend washing towels with your other laundry. Towels are thick, bulky and can be abrasive to more delicate fabrics. Clothes can get tangled and twisted in them, too, stretching the fabric and breaking down the material. Instead, wash your towels separately in warm water with citric extract booster to brighten them and remove any mildew. It’s best to wash your towels at least once a week to keep them fresh and absorbent.

Once you get into the habit of caring for your laundry, you’ll see your clothes and linens look better and last longer. Use the power of citric extracts to make your job easier without exposing you to toxic chemicals. Want to know the best, safest laundry products to bring into your home? Check out the EPA’s Safer Choice website to search for products that meet or exceed the agency’s strict guidelines for safety and efficacy.