Laundry How To's

BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment

BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment

BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment

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Laundry How Tos

Do you know how, when and why to wash your clothing for the best results to keep them looking their best and getting your hard earned money value out of them?

I have the BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment to help you know what temperature to wash your clothing in, what materials to put in the dryer and even how often to wash it!

And what do all those symbols mean on the tags anyway?  I have the answers to those mysteries.

It’s very helpful to have the How-To’s of WHEN, WHAT and HOW, and I address it all below.


BEST Laundry Tips for Appearance and Investment


Make a schedule of when to do your laundry

  1. Keep your dirty laundry in one place – such as a pre-determined laundry basket – not the entire floor, hint, hint.
  2. An idea is to have large safety pins to attach socks together just before putting them into the hamper and then when taking them out of the dryer, take off the safety pin, fold and voila! Paired and happy together.
  • If it is older children/teens/adults  are in the home, then each with their own basket and doing their own laundry works best.
  • If a family with young children, a couple of centrally located hampers or baskets for everyone to toss their laundry into, is easiest to see when laundry might need to be done before the scheduled time.
  • Gather any dirty laundry that didn’t happen to make it into the laundry basket, such as towels and such that are still on the floor in the bathroom, towels and dish cloths in the kitchen, etc.
  • Remember that wet washcloths and towels need to be hung over a rack, door handle, edge of hamper, whatever, to allow them to dry so they cannot mildew or mold.  Any wet item can also ruin other clothing if left wet and sitting on certain fabrics, hours, or extended amounts of time.

     3. Now that you have gathered all the dirty clothing together, including towels, dish clothes, and anything else needed, let’s sort them into piles.
FIRST  and VITAL!  Check ALL pockets for crayons, pens, lip gloss (oohh that’s a messy one), tissue (terrible to clean out), toys, rocks (very hard on the washer and dryer) anything that is not like the others and does not belong in the wash.

Separate into:

  • Whites
  • Dark colors
  • Light colors
  • Gentles/delicate


When you begin the actual washing process, you will have choices of water level, from extra small or small, to large or extra large; all depending on the type of washing machine you have.

The water level needs to be equal to the load of laundry you put in.

  • This is critical – to all kids and teens who think they are done quicker by stuffing 400 lbs of fabric into the washer and turning it on so they have ‘done their laundry faster’, understand that this is a misdemeanor in 38 states and 68 countries.  So Do NOT attempt this.  It is WRONG and you will be caught because your clothes will still be smelly. And it breaks the machine too.
  • Why you ask? I’ll tell you.  Because the clothes need plenty of room in the water to bathe and become clean.  Now if they only have 1/4 of a teaspoon of water for a pair of pants, or a shirt to call their very own; getting clean is NOT going to happen.  So only 1/2 or less of the washer can be clothing  – and that’s NOT packed in either!


TIP:  Just because your washer is a 20 lb capacity be careful; twenty pounds of rocks is much different than 20 pounds of feathers . Use common sense and don’t over load the washer.

Next – choose the regular or delicate cycle on the machine; and there maybe more choices also.  Regular is generally acceptable, except as noted below*


There are symbols on the tag for a reason

  1. Look inside the clothing and find the little do-hickey that either sticks out at the top of at the side seam, you need to read it, which may require some time to find the language of your choice. 
  2. Now, see if it recommends to wash in cold, warm or hot. 
  3. Also they now have little symbols that you have to decipher.  Quite complicated, but that’s modernization for you. We must find humor in every day life, right!?
  4. Here is a little video I found that explains the codes

Here’s a chart to help you out too, click HERE to print it out if you’d like
Fabric Care Symbols2
***Disclaimer – These codes and information are great helps, but also use common sense.  Don’t wash pink or red socks with white items.  But you do not need to wash everything separate as might be noted on the little tags.   Also if an item is to be dry cleaned, ask the cleaner or check on-line with the manufacturer to see if it is something that might be washed in cold water and laid flat to dry; saving you money. It also gets the clothing cleaner in some instances – again disclaimer I am giving my own opinion and am not responsible for any damage or issues with clothing that has been washed, dry cleaned, will be laundered or will not be cleaned now until it can walk around on its own because I suggested maybe it could possibly be washed in cold versus the dry cleaner.  Just sayin….


A bit of maintenance is important:

  • Undo any buttons on the shirt.  The agitation and extra weight from the water may cause the button holes to tear
  • Pre-treat collars  of men’s and boys shirts, particularly
  • Spot clean ANY place/thing/stuff/gunk and do NOT wait or hesitate, it will only get worse, that I can assure you, we are at war with dirt – no disclaimer
  • I found a pretty comprehensive stain removal chart, click HERE.  There are many types of spot removers also- liquid spray, bar, solid; just using one is the key here.


TIP:  One cup of white vinegar in every batch of laundry along with Borax lifts stains and odor 



In my ‘research’ (disclaimer of simply surfing the net and asking at the expensive jean store so this is not my personal counsel) here is the advice I found in caring for jeans

  •     A few sources did say not to wash jeans for like 6 months of use to ‘save them’ —- I say eeewww and not on my watch! They can be worn a few times IF they are not smelly and icky and you wipe them off where dirt and such show.
  •     Turn then inside out and wash up to 4 at a time in cold water; you want lots of water for those babies to swim in. And on the delicate cycle is a must
  •     Always wash with other jeans to prevent bleeding onto other colors and to help maintain the original color also
  •     Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of regular salt to the water before adding in the jean to help set the dye and hold the color.  Another reason you need to have lots of water for those jeans to float around in.
  •    After washing, if your jeans have lost a bit of their fit, place them in the dryer for half a cycle on the LOWEST setting, still inside out.  Then take them out, hang them by the legs (not the waist band) from a pants hanger on a shower rod or somewhere high enough up.
  •    When taking jeans from the washer it is recommended not to place them in the dryer, but to leave them inside out, hang them by the legs (not the waist hand) from a pants hanger and allow them to dry.  This reduces wrinkles in the fabric (I wonder if this would work for me…hhhmmm).  If they are stiff when they are dry, simply toss them into the dryer, on low heat for 5 minutes to help the fabric fibers to relax.



  • If washable, wash in cold and lay flat on a clean dry bath towel to dry so it can maintain it’s proper shape


*Dedicates, Undergarments and Bras

  • Use stain remover as needed
  • Place hosiery/nylons/tights in the mesh bags with a zipper.  They are about $1 at the store and great to have a bunch on hand
  • Place each bra in a separate mesh zippered bag.  Fasten the hooks first to prevent twisting and snagging.
  • Place slips, camisoles and other dedicates in mesh zippered bags
  • The reason to place these type of items in the bags is to keep the hooks, etc, from tangling and tearing, causing any damage to items in the wash
  • Swim Suits can be laundered in the mesh bags or by hand – depending on the manufacturers little tag’s instructions

Hand Wash

  1. If something is ornate or extremely delicate than you really should hand wash.
  2. Fill your sink with warm or cool water, according to directions and pour in a tiny bit of laundry soap.  Squish with hand to distribute.
  3. Place the fabric into the water and allow the clothing to soak for for a few minutes.
  4. Gently squeeze the sudsy water through your hands and around the fabric for a few minutes.
  5. Now let out the water and run fresh water over the fabric gently moving the fabric from side to side until the suds are gone and it appears the item is completely rinsed.
  6. Place on a clean towel, laying it out as flat as possible. 
  7. Roll the towel up and squeeze gently.
  8. Unroll and use another towel if needed.  If it is fairly dry, lay out flat to dry on a clean towel

Baby Clothing

  • Use very gentle laundry detergent such as Dreft for the first 6 months or so as a baby’s skin is extremely sensitive


  • Wash sheets in hot water once a week
  • Once every 6-12 months, or as needed/directed by manufacturer, take bed blankets to laundry mat and use the large industrial machines, or to the dry cleaners if they have regular washing machines and it will cost about the same as a self-serve.  It will save a lot of wear and tear on your machine.


When loading sheets into the washer DO NOT wrap the sheets around the agitator . Fold them back and forth like an accordion and place them one by one, side by side in the washer.

SAFETY:  Use caution and care to keep detergents and especially the liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children.  Also, the washer and dryer doors shut so little ones cannot accidentally fall or climb in.

 Now, if I haven’t given you enough play-by-play or instructions of how to do laundry, click HERE

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2016
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

Easy Way To Clean Your Walls!

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?


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Easy Way To Clean Your Walls!

Do You Know To Clean Your Walls? It’s a Lost Art!

Did your mom or dad ever teach you to clean your walls? I grew up washing the walls of our home every spring and fall.  My kids grew up doing the same.

Did you know you learn this, what is now becoming a lost art?  

WHY would you wash your walls?

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

Walls collect finger prints, grime, dust and dirt – even smoke, but they are often overlooked.  However, when the walls are clean, you will feel like your house was redone! Ok…maybe not quite, but you will be amazed at the clean smell, how bright it looks and the difference in the overall feel of the home.

It’s not difficult at all, and to make it even easier, I have the BEST TRICK E.V.E.R to make it simple and fast!


At the end of this post many amazing readers share their tips and I answer questions, so make sure to stay till the end:)

To begin, you will need these basic supplies: 

A floor mop with a detachable washable pad(s), and I really like using this one HERE

WHAT you are probably saying to yourself?  Has Carrie lost her mind? A MOP on your WALL?  


Consider how easily you can sweep,  mop, wipe down your wall, using a great sweeper-mop type tool!

I found this one that I really like because:

  • it’s really sturdy
  • LOVE the side attachments and how it clamps down tightly and holds in the pads/cloths
  • it swivels to allow you to get into tight areas around your ceiling as I will show you
  • the pads that come with this are really high quality and washable!
  • the extension pole, or rod, makes it possible for a short person to reach any height, or for you to get to most vaulted ceilings with a reasonable sized ladder


Pine-Sol          makes your whole house smell amazing!

Ammonia        great for disinfecting and getting rid of odors as you clean


Mr. Magic Eraser          I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these!  I use them ALL the time.  I’d marry them….but you know, lol 

Cleaning Cloths   These are microfiber, thick and should last through lots of cleaning


Walls are a big part of deep, or general cleaning. 

  • It is best if you first move all of the furniture away from the walls in the room that you are cleaning to have full access from ceiling to floor.
  • Take down pictures and have the walls completely bare.
  • First dust the walls before you clean them with a water solution.  This avoids streaks and a ‘mud’ effect. 
Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?


Another idea is to use a sweeper like this for the job.  Simply use your own cloth and push into the holes or slots already formed into the top of the sweeper.

You can use a Cleaning Cloth just as if it were a Sweeper or Swiffer replacement in the floor mop and put the edges, 

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

to clean your walls.  I’ll explain mo how to do this to make your cleaning EASIER!Do You Know ow To Clean Your Walls?

And use as you would the other mop to clean your walls.  

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

To clean walls using a floor sweeper or mop , and a Cleaning Cloth that has been rinsed with the cleaner of your choice,

Such as Pine-Sol  (1/4 cup Pine-Sol to 1 gal of water or to your preference)


Ammonia.  (1 cup of Ammonia to 1 gallon of water or to your preference)


Now, we are going to clean EVERY BIT of the wall area easily and effectively, so you don’t waste your time!

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

Take off the Cleaning Cloth and rinse periodically as needed, making sure you have a clean cloth to work with as you clean you walls, this is really important.

To do this correctly:

Begin at the top edge of one wall and bring the mop/sweeper down towards you; either the full length of the wall, or half way, whatever is easier for you.

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?


1- Clean half way down until a portion of the wall is clean. 

2- Then do the bottom half.

3- Move to the next section and repeat.

Continue either process


All the way around the room, taking care not to miss any areas.

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

With the extension rod, or pole, you can reach and clean those high areas too.

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

While you are it, don’t forget the ceilings:)  If you have an extension pole or rod.  Use extreme caution if you are using a ladder of any type.

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

Next Step

After the walls are finished, working with a clean cloth, wash off the light switches and the electrical plugs with the

Ammonia or Pine-Sol solution that you have chosen to use.  

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

Clean well all the door jams, doors and any other stationary parts, as they catch lots of finger prints and dirt.

Trick For Cleaning Your Walls

Do You Know How To Clean Your Walls?

For black scuffs on your walls Mr. Magic Erasers  work really well – however it can take the gloss out of your glossy and semi gloss paint on your wall.

Meaning you can see every spot you have cleaned. You may want to avoid using these on walls that are not white. Test on an inconspicuous spot to see how a Mr. Magic Erasers will work on your paint before using on a main area as this is not the case on all paint.  You will love the feel and the smell of your home once you are finished the walls!


Do you know how to clean your baseboards? I’ll show you how HERE

You can find MORE tips and useful ideas like this in my Lost Art of Homemaking Series   or my Lost Art of Self Reliance 

My AWESOME readers have shared their tips with us and you will find them below – do NOT miss them:) 



Tips –

The product ratio is recommended by PineSol to use 1/4 cup of Pine Sol to 1 Gallon of water. Recommended by HowStuffWorks the recipe is: Mix 1⁄2 cup vinegar, 1 cup clear ammonia, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon warm water. Caution: Wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area when using this powerful solution. (


*Be sure to begin at the bottom and work towards the top to avoid drips


Mary shares:  In our family we use a cleaning mixture of baking soda, ammonia and vinegar added to a gallon of the hottest water your hands can handle, although using rubber gloves is advised because ammonia can be harsh on sensitive skin. This mixture all but cleans by itself, so be careful where you set your rag down. It is advisable so rinse the walls after washing and you will notice they are even more clean if you do rinse. this is safe for painted surfaces, and some of us have tried it on other surfaces as well. Try it on patio furniture, tires, kids play equipment kitchen cupboards, the possibilities are endless although I would not use it on wall paper, wood furniture or laminate surfaces. The precise measurements can be found on arm & hammer baking soda and bo peep ammonia. Try it, you will be AMAZED!!! Oh, it leaves such a fresh, clean smell to your home, you will look forward to spring cleaning! 🙂


Angela Shares: I keep a bag of “CLEAN” mismatched or damaged socks, at all times and use these for both cleaning furniture and as a generic Swiffer® Sweeper® Floor Mop. I take a few of them and layer them over each other so I get a nice thick cleaning pad, which takes off more gunk off the walls without having to go over the same thing twice. I have a bag in the laundry room that I just toss socks with holes or are fading in their color or got too small.  FOR FURNITURE I take two socks and put them on my hand like I am making a sock puppet and then spray my furniture polish on to the socks instead of on the furniture because I feel it gives it a deeper and a buffed shine.


Sara asked me: Any tips for dealing with textured walls? I think the builder was going for “orange peel” but ended up with “rub your skin on this wall and bleed.” It tends to destroy paper products and tear towels after prolonged use. 🙁

My answer: Those heavy textured walls are really difficult I know we used to have them when our kids were young and getting crayon out of them was really a chore…the easiest solution would be an air compressor to blow out all the dirt and a power washer to clean the walls. But, since that would really be a mess, here’s some tips for you: Use the brush attachment on your vacuum and clean the walls getting in all the cracks and crevices really good to get the dust so you don’t have mud when you wash. Then get two buckets. One with clean water and one with warm water with a little bit of all-purpose cleaner or even mild dish soap. Now, put on an old cotton sock on your hand. This will clean without leaving bits and pieces on the wall like a sponge will. Now dip into the soapy bucket and begin at the BOTTOM of the wall and give it a good wash; working towards the top. If you want, or need, get in there with a soft bristled scrub brush, tooth brush or even finger nail brush if there are some tough areas. The reason you want to start at the bottom is because of the drips from this type of cleaning; this just makes life so much easier and the drips are easily caught. USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS. Now, after the washing, comes the rinsing. Rinse out your sock really well and repeat the process, but with clean water, again with the bottom of the wall first, working towards the top. AGAIN, USING EVEN STOKES OF YOUR CLOTH, BEGIN AT THE BOTTOM AND GO TO THE TOP TO PREVENT STREAKS.


Linda asked:  I live in an old house with real wood paneling at least 50 years old. What is the best way to clean them? The ceilings are paneled as well. I want them to gleam!

I replied:   I haven’t had to work with wood paneling in quite a few years, since I was a young teenage actually, so I can’t say I’m an expert in any fashion. I searched a bit and I think I found you a really credible website with some terrific information that should help you in several ways in dealing with wood paneling. The link I found is: I hope this helps


Christine asked: How often would you suggest wall cleaning?

I replied:  A good guide is spring and fall. Weekly or at least twice a month, if you have kids, or a lot of people coming in and out, I like to use the magic erasers (make sure to test in a non-conspicuous area and follow manufacturers instructions), a pail of water with a bit of vinegar in it and wipe the high traffic areas and get all the finger prints, marks and goo off to keep it nice and clean appearing. Even if I can’t paint often, or have ‘NICE, Expensive’ things in my home, if it’s clean – or pretty clean, lol, (it’s good to be able to feel like you live in a home, you don’t want a museum atmosphere, that’s for sure) I find I’m more comfortable and so are those who come to visit. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2017

Recognize A Blessing And Be A Blessing Today

Easy DIY Home Maintenance

Basic Home Repair and Maintenance

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Home MaintenanceDo you know how to do minor repairs on your apartment or home?

These Basic Home Repair and Maintenance tips, tricks and tutorial ideas will really help you save money.


Because fixing a repair or mending job when it’s small is much easier, rather than waiting till it’s a larger  renovation or problem since it will save you a lot of money and time.

I have several areas of the home or apartment covered below to help you keep your place nice and more comfortable to live in – and safer too.

One apartment we lived in the outside wall faced an open field.  We had a particularly harsh winter and the ice formed about 1″ thick on the inside wall…bbbrrrr, it still makes me shiver. Let’s start with those windows and doors/


Drafty Windows and Doors

  • A simple and inexpensive quick fix is to use self adhesive foam weather stripping. It can be rolled around the frame of the door. 
  • Choose the smallest size that will seal; too large and the door will not close.
  • Calking cord or rope caulk is a great option for windows to go around the edges to seal out the air from coming in.
  • Clear plastic film is a another option for windows.  Simply stretch the film over the window and it mounts to the window frame.  Then use a hair dryer to stretch and seal the film over the window, preventing escaping air.


I remember as a kid thinking my grandparents had a monster in their bathroom because their toilet ran, and ran, and ran

Toilet Tank That Keeps Refilling On Its Own

  • First try loosing, tightening or untangling the chain. Any of these issues could prevent the flapper from sealing tightly and allowing water to leak out the flush valve.
  • If that doesn’t work, try slightly bending the tube connected to the float ball.
  • If none of these work, you can replace the flapper and valve inside the toilet yourself.  My mother-in-law fixed her’s; so can YOU!



I’ve never had running water smell like rotten-eggs, but we do have Sulphur Springs located near a larger city we drive by frequently, and boy does it smell.  If I had that in my house all the time, you can bet I’d be dumping hydrogen peroxide down the drain and calling someone asap!

Rotten-Egg Smell When You Run The Water

  • It could be caused by bacteria in the drain.  First try pouring a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution down your drain.
  • Generally if the rotten-egg smell only happens when hot water is running after the peroxide, the water heater is the culprit and you need a plumber.
  • If the rotten-egg smell occurs when hot and cold water is running after the peroxide, it is a good idea to call your water supplier and health department.
  • I found this neat link with uses for hydrogen peroxide also – click HERE


We have these in almost every room in our home, they work really well.

Ceiling Fans

To use them most efficiently to heat and cool –

  • In the summer have them rotating so the air is being pushed down
  • In the winter have the air being drawn up



In a little old house we rented many years ago, I could smell smoke.   I kept insisting there was a fire and dragging Stan around the house.  Finally, we could see a bit of smoke coming from old wiring.  We were so blessed the house didn’t burn down!

Correctly Test Smoke Detectors

  • Pushing the bottom only shows they still make noise
  • Light, then blow out a couple of matches.  Hold them under the smoke detector to see if it goes off.
  • Be sure to replace the batteries twice a year.  I read that: smoke detectors are installed in 58 percent of homes that have fatal fires, but they are working in only 37 percent of those fires.  WOW


Squeaky doors are the loudest when you get the baby/kids to sleep, or trying to sneak a bit of chocolate to have all by yourself!

Have Squeaky Doors  – Here’s How to Fix it in only 10 minutes! click HERE  


Heating and Air Conditioning

Replace the filters monthly.  This will save you money as well as allow the units to function more efficiently too.   Vents and Fans Vacuum the duct-work, fans and coils on –

  • The refrigerator and kitchen exhaust fan
  • Ceiling Fans and Bathroom Fans
  • Dryer Vent (this can also prevent a fire as lint can build up)


I managed to royally plug up the disposal, twice!  Once I put peach peels down when canning peaches. The second when shelling a bunch of eggs.  Do not do either of those things, trust me….

Garbage Disposal

  • These jam and usually at the most opportune times.   It can be from too many egg shells, fibrous peels such as peaches or celery or a utensil.
  • When the disposal jams it stops working and kinds hums or buzzes.
  1. First shut off the power.
  2. Then look into the disposal chamber with a flashlight to see what the problem is – do NOT put your hand in the unit.
  3. If you can see the problem, pull it out with a pair of pliers.
  4. If you can’t clear any debris away with a wooden spoon or other device.
  5. Then with as much pressure as possible, try to turn the rotor in either direction; remove the blockage with pliers.
  6. You will most likely need to push the reset button on the bottom of the diposer, or trip/flip the circuit breaker associated with the disposer to make it work again.
  7. If not, clear away any debris with a wooden spoon or tongs and insert a wooden broom handle into the disposer.
  8. Using as much pressure as possible, try to turn the rotor in either direction.
  9. *If you cannot make it work, call a professional, do not risk your safety.


This seemed to always happen when Stan was out of town and the kids had been playing with the flashlights that were not supposed to be moved making it easy for me to light the furnace – yeah….

Furnace Pilot Light

  • This is another one of those things that seems to go out at the most inconvenient of times; usually when there is a storm or high wind.
  • Before this happens, familiarize yourself with the instructions on the relighting instructions printed on the front of the heater.  If it does not have these instructions, you will need to call a professional to come and light the pilot light for you.
  • Tip:  Keep a box of long-stemmed fireplace matches handy to use for this purpose.  It makes lighting the pilot light much easier.


I hope these Basic Home Repair and Maintenance tips, tricks and helps will get you motivated to fix the little things around your house and then move on to tackle the other jobs that need doing too.  It will give you a greater sense of pride in the place you live.


Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2015, 2018

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today