Category Archives: laundry

Looking for an Answer

A friend of mine, a quilter, was given a bunch of fabric recently. Unfortunately, the previous owner of the fabric was a heavy smoker. So, all the fabric reeks. She’s tried washing using baking soda and vinegar and still the smells persist. She doesn’t want to put it in the sun for fear it would fade unevenly.

If you know of a product or method that will remove smoke odors from fabric, please leave a comment below.

The MCS House Guest, Part 2

This is a continuation of a post started last week on preparing for the MCS house guest. As I said last week, this information is based upon my experiences and my health issues. Mileage may vary for others. Please check with your future visitor for their specific needs, they’ll be glad you asked!

This week I’m going to cover house cleaning and laundry issues, plus a bit more.

House cleaning can be a real issue since most of the brand name products are full of fragrances, VOCs, and who knows what else. I generally buy all such products at Whole Foods or a local health food store. Although, I confess to using a brand name toilet cleaner because it does such a good job. Might not be a good idea b/c I can definitely smell it, but still – I like clean toilets, too!

If you’re like most of us, cleaning your house is on the list of things you’re likely to do before someone comes to visit. And that’s ok. If you can, choose some less toxic, less fragrant products. But if not, it works for me if you clean a few days in advance. (But I can’t stress enough that this approach won’t work for all.) That will give the chemicals some time to clear the air.

If you want more on cleaning products, see these 2 posts:

What about your linens – especially for the bed where your guest is staying? You can reference this post I wrote earlier on my laundry recipe. BUT, if you’ve been using scented fabric softeners or dryer sheets and scented laundry detergent then those smells may not come out. I’ve read that it can take 20 – 30 washings. And I believe it. What are your alternatives? It’s rather awkward these days to hang sheets outside. That may work for towels, which is good because any fragrance left in the towels will transfer to the person using it! Another alternative for sheets is to talk to your visitor. I have sheets in every size and I am not above traveling with them!

What about your car, though? Hopefully you don’t have any type of “air freshener” in your car. Or if you take it to a car wash they don’t use one in your car. If so, a few days of open windows in the sunshine are in order. And hope that it works.

That’s all for now, I do have a couple of other things I’ve thought of. Plus, I’ve found as I go about my daily routine I think of other things. So, tune in next week for part 3.

As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome!

The MCS House Guest
The MCS House Guest Part 3


Dryer Balls!

Dryer Max Dryer Balls – They help eliminate static. They also claim to shorten drying time although I can’t really be sure about that. I got mine as a Christmas present. That was nice since I’m a rather reluctant shopper these days.

Here’s what they look like:

Dryer Max Dryer Balls
(Hey – a bonus – if you click on the image – it’s a PUZZLE! My time was 2:55!)

The price is reasonable and they’re available many places. Just google them. (Just be warned that if you go to their actual web site that they play a movie when you go there.)

What’s that? You say you found some fragrance free dryer sheets? Keep in mind that they come with a lot of chemicals too. All those sheets have been found to leave deposits on your lint screen. Less is best!


This came up in a conversation w/ a friend of mine. My hubby and I went away for Thanksgiving this year. Long story, but we packed up, including the cat, and spent a few days in Port Aransas. Sort of mini-vacation, or more likely an escape from all responsibility!

My friend remarked in an email: “I was surprised, and glad, that you can go away and stay in a different site outside of your own home. I didn’t’ know if that was possible? I was hoping that one day you two could come up here and I could do whatever possible to make it a good environment for you.”

And here was my response:

My number one concern is places that use “air fresheners”. The worst are the plug-ins b/c they continuously pump chemicals into the air. Next are candles b/c they put chemicals in the air whenever they burn. And last is “air freshener” sprays. Cleaners can be a problem too.

We’re hoping that the weather will cooperate and we’ll be able to open the windows and air out our place. We were able to do that in CA and it did help.

Next big problem is the bed linens. If they’ve been dry cleaned, or washed in smelly detergent or fabric softener, they’ll have to go. In CA, we asked them to remove the comforter from our room. We wound up borrowing a blanket and pillows. But there was still a lot of fragrant linens. This trip, since we’re going by car, we are actually packing all of our own linens – sheets, mattress pad, pillows, blankets. At that rate we’ll be covered.

If you want to make your home more friendly to the fragrance-impaired, the best thing you could do is to get rid of smelly detergents & fabric softeners. All makes a Free and Clear detergent which is what I use. If you have to have dryer sheets, buy the unscented kind. I don’t even use those anymore. But you should know that the odors will remain in fabrics for many, many washings.

As it turned out, we needed to remove only the comforter from the bed. We took a comforter and blanket of our own. Needed them both too since the weather decided to be cold. We also used our own pillows, just because we like them.

It always makes me feel good to know I have friends and family that are concerned and interested enough to want to work with me on this. If only all the people in my life could understand.

Laundry And Static

Last week I posted a tip about using tennis balls in your dryer to eliminate static. I found a couple of tennis balls in our house that were close to 20 years old and had been play toys for an indoor cat. They worked well and I didn’t notice any toxic smells with them.

But a comment to last week’s post told a different story. My guess is that the modern tennis ball has some more toxic ingredients in it. So, I tried Linda’s suggestion that static wasn’t really a problem with 100% cotton. Nearly every thing I wear is 100% cotton. This week I did laundry without any “static eliminator” and was pleased to learn that I really didn’t need one. No Static!

Tennis Balls And Laundry

I’ve been using crumpled aluminum balls in the dryer for a couple of years now. They work to eliminate static, but they do have drawbacks. You wind up finding aluminum balls in your pockets, pillow cases, etc. Plus small pieces of aluminum break off and get everywhere. And they are noisy.

I read recently that tennis balls could do the same thing. I found two that were abandoned by the cat. So I threw them in the dryer recently and the worked wonderfully! Even better than aluminum. And they haven’t turned up in a pocket yet! And yes, 2 tennis balls in the dryer are noisy, but not near as noisy as the aluminum balls!

My Laundry Recipe

Laundry products seem to be some of the most heavily scented products on the market. I have never been able to use scented laundry products. It was more than 10 years ago that I noticed I could not be outside near my neighbor’s dryer vents when their dryer was running.

For years, I used the unscented dryer sheets, although I’ve since learned there are not so chemicals in them either. Worse, they’re manufactured in the same place as the scented sheets, and stored there too. So, they still have fragrances. What’s a girl to do?

Here’s my recipe:

All Free & Clear

Baking soda – This actually helps get odors out of clothes. Be sure it dissolves completely or else you’ll wind up with white spots on your dark clothes. I run the cup full of baking soda under the water while the machine fills. We buy 12 pound bags of baking soda @ our local warehouse store. It comes with a measuring cup!

Vinegar – Helps remove some of the soap. Actually does the same function as all the fabric softeners but it doesn’t stink and it costs a lot less!

Aluminum Balls – I take sheets of regular aluminum foil about 6-8 inches long and crumple them up. Eventually they begin to disintegrate and will need to be replaced. They help to get rid of static cling. They’re noisy, but they don’t stink!

In the washer:

  • All Free & Clear
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup Vinegar (9% if you can get it) put into the rinse dispenser

In the dryer – 4-6 aluminum balls. Take sheets of aluminium foil, roughly 12×12 inches and crumble them into balls.