The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Laundry Time Savers


Laundry No TimeForget about the good old days, when Monday was Laundry Day, ironing was an art form, and Grandma starched the sheets. Today, we're lucky to find time to fit meals in, let alone dedicating hours to caring for our clothes.

If you're like most people, your fabric care is done on an "as needed" basis — battling spills, smells, and wrinkles as you prepare to face tomorrow. Thankfully, innovations in fabric care products are keeping pace with our hectic lives. Today's fabric care products are fast . . . effective . . . convenient . . . and can help solve a multitude of problems.

The first step is to learn all about these timesaving products. Then, the only other thing you need to do is find the time to use them!

In-dryer Kits

My Interview is tomorrow and the cleaner is closed.

Sound familiar? This is the perfect time to use an in-dryer kit for special care or "dry clean only" fabrics. This is one of those "I wish I'd thought of that!" ideas: you use the product — in your own clothes dryer — to freshen a wide variety of "dry clean only" garments. It's the ideal solution when you don't have time to get to the dry cleaner! Or, to simply extend the time between dry cleaner visits.

Here's the news. These in-dryer kits help get rid of wrinkles . . . help clean away odors like stale tobacco smoke and perspiration . . . and go a step further by helping to remove many light stains. The products are convenient, economical, and easy to use. You'll have clothes that are clean and fresh in about 30 minutes, which means you can look your best at a moment's notice!

Attention Sparkle Fans!
These kits work well on special care garments that have beads, sequins, and other trims.

Do it right, here's how:

  •  Always read and follow the product label instructions before using. Check to be sure that the product is suitable for use on your fabric.
    • Got Stains?
      • Use the stain removal system or cloth and follow the kit directions to pretreat any visible soils or stains before putting clothes in the dryer.
      • Check for colorfastness before using the stain removal system or cloth.
      • If you have large spills, heavy/ground-in collar and cuff soil, or set-in or other tough stains, you may need to use a commercial dry cleaner.
  • Button or zip the garments.
  • Prepare for the dryer
    • For kits with a dryer bag: Place the clothes and one dryer-activated cloth in the bag, but don't overstuff it. Seal the bag and toss it in the dryer.
    • For kits without a dryer bag: Place the clothes and the dryer-activated cloth in the dryer according to package instructions.
  • Set the recommended heat and time setting (follow the package instructions).
  • When the cycle is done, remove garments from the dryer (they may feel slightly damp); shake them out to remove any remaining moisture and wrinkles; and hang to dry.
  • If needed, touch up garments with an iron.
    • For silk and rayon — use a low temperature setting and iron inside-out.
    • For wool, mohair, cashmere, camel, and Alpaca — use medium heat with steam.

Wrinkle-releasing Sprays

I barely have time to eat breakfast. How am I supposed to find time to iron?

That ironing board makes a great closet, doesn't it? It seems that the only action some ironing boards get is as a catch-all for cast off clothes. After all . . . who has time to iron?

From a daily schedule standpoint, wrinkle-releasing sprays just might be the best thing to hit home fabric care in decades.

They relax and smooth fabrics to help remove wrinkles — without an iron. For today's casual looks, the end result is ideal. And if used with an iron, you'll discover that your clothes have never looked crisper!

Do it right, here's how:

  • Always read and follow the product label directions before using.
  • Spray in a sweeping motion until the garment is slightly damp.
  • Tug and smooth away wrinkles.
  • Hang to dry.

Tips from the Experts:

  • Wrinkle removers are suitable for washable and dry cleanable fabrics. Read the labels. Some products should not be used on fabrics that may water spot.
  • Use these products for home fabrics like slipcovers and curtains.

Goodbye, Wrinkles!

Some laundry detergents and fabric conditioners now have built-in, wrinkle-releasing properties, too. Check the label!

When You Do Need to Iron . . .

  • Starches, fabric finishes, and sizings add body to fabrics and make ironing easier.
  • Spray-on products are convenient to use when ironing or for quick touch-ups for collars, cuffs, and trims.

Fabric Refreshers

I cooked fajitas for dinner. Now my curtains have onion breath!

Sure, there's nothing like the smells of a homecooked meal — except when it's coming from your curtains or upholstery! And that's true for pet odors and cigarette smoke, too.

Not into Eau du Wet Golden Retriever? Here's where the new fabric refreshers come in. They don't just cover up odors — they actually neutralize them on hard-to-wash fabrics and soft surfaces, such as carpets, upholstery, curtains — even canvas shoes! So whether you've wrestled with a new pet . . . spent the evening in a smoky cigar bar . . . or created last night's cuisine extraordinaire — your home won't give away your secrets!

Do it right, here's how:

  • Always read and follow the product label directions before using.
  • Spray evenly on fabric until the fabric is slightly damp.
  • Let dry. As the fabric dries, the odors fade away!
  • For really smelly items or heavier fabrics, you may need to reapply.

Ahh! Use Fabric Refreshers on . . .

  • Hard-to-launder fabrics
  • Soft, household surfaces and fabrics, such as slipcovers and curtains
  • Carpets (after vacuuming)

Detergents and Fabric Softeners

"Uh-oh! This dull looking shirt was Bright Red when I bought it."

Oops! Sounds like it's time to check out detergents and fabric softeners with color protection. No one wants a wardrobe that fades away! Keep in mind that color protection products work best if you use them from the start with new garments. In other words, once the color's changed, it's difficult to restore it . . . but these products can help keep the original color from pulling a disappearing act.

Oh, you may want to hang onto that dull red shirt — it could make a great looking dust rag!

Do it right, here's how:

  • Always read and follow the product label directions before using.
  • For detergents with color protection, use in the regular wash cycle (read the label to check for recommended fabrics).
  • For fabric softeners with color protection, use in the washer (liquid) or dryer (sheets).

How Color Protection Works

In detergents . . .

  • Some products keep dirt and dyes from landing back on your clothes in the wash water. This helps keep whites white and colors bright!
  • Some products remove "pills" from cotton fabrics. Pills cause the fabric to look dull and faded — once they're gone, colors look brighter.

In fabric softeners . . .

  • Special ingredients pull dissolved minerals away from fabrics. This prevents a dull look.