DIY Clothes Drying Rack.

by Chris Gardner

My wife is short, and a high school teacher, so when we find school-appropriate clothes that actually fit, we keep ‘em as far from the dryer as possible. So, tired of having her wardrobe spread all over our living space while drying, I decided it was time for a drying rack. (Our back ‘patio’ has no space for a clothesline.) Problem is, commercially available drying racks may advertise 15 sq. ft of drying space, but that only works if you hang...

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25 Alternative Uses for Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets

by Chris Gardner

Uses for dryer sheets - alternative uses

Here are some great uses for dryer sheets once you're done with them. Instead of letting your fabric softener sheets pile up in a corner, try one of these alternative uses instead! 



1. Dusting: used dryer sheets can knock the dust off nearly any surface, including furniture, blinds, car interiors, baseboards/molding. Also works for sawdust and drywall compound.


Use dryer sheets as a mosquito repellant

2. Keep bugs away: Tuck some in your picnic basket or under lawn furniture to repel bees from your juicy flesh and encourage them back to the flowers, where they belong. You can also rub a sheet directly on your bare skin to discourage would- be buggers from leaving their mark.


Put dryer sheets in your drawers to keep clothes smelling "just-washed"

3. Keep your clothes fresh: tuck a few fabric-sheets in your drawers to keep that ‘just-washed’ smell happening for weeks. Throw one in your dirty clothes hamper to prevent any rampant, residual odors from escaping into your bedroom.


4. Scrub your showers. Here's another great use for dryer sheets: lightly wet a used dryer sheet, and scrub to remove soap build-up and mineral deposits.


5. Freshen your home: Place (or tape) a dryer sheet on your HVAC vents to scent the air circulating through your home. You can even place one alongside your filter in your central heating unit to distribute the scent. Also works on ceiling fans, and on the back of box/portable fans.


6. Reduce static cling: Pat your self with a sheet to combat static on your clothes, stockings, and even long hair! This is one of my favorite alternative uses for dryer sheets!



8. Clean your laundry room: When you finish drying a load, hold on to the dryer sheet, and wipe down the inside of your dryer’s drum, your lint trap, the outside of your washing machine and dryer, and scrub away any excess or spilt laundry detergent.


9. Scrub the bugs from your car: Summer drives often equal insect gut polka dots all over your auto’s body and windshield. Simply wet your car down, and use a dryer sheet to scrub away carnage with ease.


10. Wipe up hair: The cling of a dryer sheet is perfect to wipe up pet hair from your furniture, or even your own hair from your bathroom.


put dryer sheets in your shoes to keep them smelling good

11. In your shoes: Toss a dryer sheet in the toes of your shoes to minimize odors and prolong the just-purchased smell.


12. While traveling: Place a few dryer sheets in between items in your suitcase to keep both your clothes fresh and to prevent your items from picking up any mustiness from old luggage.


13. In your crafts: Use dryer sheets to add texture to cards, scrapbooks, etc. Also use for reinforcement in appliqué and quilting work.


14. For diapers: Keep your used dryer sheets in your diaper bag, and roll one up in the diaper to prevent odors before you have to chance to throw it away.


15. In the kitchen: Soak cookware with burnt or baked-on food in warm water, with a dryer sheet or two. Makes clean-up easier than you’d expect. Also works on cook tops and dingy cabinet doors.


Dryer sheets can be used to clean paint brushes

16. Clean paint brushes: Soak your used paintbrushes in warm water with a dryer sheet, and that pesky latex paint will come off in under a minute.


17. In books: placing a dryer sheet in new books or photo albums will keep them smelling fresh, and can combat the musty paper smell of used or old books. Also works as a killer bookmark.


18. In toilet paper: Roll up a dryer sheet in your toilet paper roll. Each time you spin, it releases a little freshness into your bathroom.


19. As you sleep: keep a fabric-softener sheet in your pillow case and under your mattress or mattress pad for sweet dreams of summer all year ‘round.


20. While sewing: use a dryer sheet to store your needles while threaded to keep them from tangling, for paper piecing while you quilt, and for backing for embroidery.


Dryer sheets can help keep out mice and other rodents

21. Repel rodents: Use dryer sheets to keep out mice, skunks, squirrels, rats, etc from your basement, garages, boats, campers, and clubhouses.


22. In your car: stash dryer sheets under your car seats and floor mats, and in your glove box and trunk for fresh scents as you travel.


23. At work: Hide dryer sheets in drawers, behind computers, and in cabinetry to keep your workspace fresh, and combat your co-workers awful perfume or stale cigarette scent.

24. In you vacuum cleaner: Place a dryer sheet in your vacuum bag or dust containment unit. As the hot air moves as you vacuum, you’ll bulk up your cleaning efforts. (Make sure this is in NO WAY a fire hazard)


25. In storage: tuck dryer sheets in your rarely used items such as luggage, camping gear, sports equipment, or specialty craft or kitchen items to prevent the inevitable smells of basements, attics, and garages.


[Dryer sheets are chemical products, so read the safety label on all your packaging. Using an ecologically alert product such as Method will guarantee safer results]

Love learning other uses for everyday items? Check out these alternative uses for olive oil...

25 Alternative uses for olive oil

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Would you have multiple laundry rooms?

by DIY Maven

Would you have multiple laundry rooms?

In the 80's laundry rooms moved up from basements to first floors. In the 90's they moved from first to second floors to be near bedrooms. Now the trend is to have multiple laundry rooms. And not just two but three. The third servicing walkout basements that lead to pools and guest areas.

So, this is the question, if you had the space and the cash, would you have multiple laundry rooms?

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How to Save Money on Laundry Day

by DIY Maven

How to Save Money on Laundry Day

Have you ever found yourself with a couple loads of washing to do but you only have enough supplies to do one of them? I have, and over the years I’ve come up with a few things to get the job done without having to drive to the store for detergent and such. Now, I use these ideas to save money.

First: Pre-Treat

When the Spray 'n Wash bottle starts shootin’ blanks, fill it with water to about three inches from it’s top. Fill the rest up with your favorite liquid detergent. Screw back on the trigger spray and gently invert the bottle to mix the detergent and water. After the first time I tried this, I couldn’t tell any difference between the performance of the store bought pre-treater and my homemade concoction.

The Wash Cycle

This one only applies to front load washing machines. Detergent manufacturers make something called ‘high efficiency detergent’ specifically for theses types of washing machines. It is generally less viscous and lower sudsing than the standard stuff. You don’t necessarily need to buy it. Just use your regular liquid detergent, but remember to only use a couple tablespoons or so–about half of what the instructions recommend–and, of course using half as much will save you twice as much. This tip isn’t actually mine; it came from the appliance dealer who sold me my front loader four years ago and an appliance repairman I know confirmed it.

Drying Time

If you use drier sheets, you don’t necessarily need to use a whole one. I rip mine in half, using only a half per load. Sure, if it’s a really large load, I still might use a whole one, but generally speaking, a half’ll do. And one of my sisters swears that you can use drier sheets twice with satisfactory results.

Investments for the Really Cost Conscious

If you’re in the market for a new washer, you might want to consider a front loading machine (also known as a horizontal-axis washer). It will use 1/3 to 2/3 less water than a top loading washer. And although front-loaders are generally more expensive than top-loaders, they’ll cost you less to operate over the life of the appliance. (Note: Consumer Reports rates the cheapest front-loader better than most top-loaders.) 

Another very cost effective investment would be to buy a pair of dryer balls. These are bumpy, tennis-ball-sized balls you throw in the dryer instead of dryer sheets. They’re one of those "As Seen On T.V." deals. I bought mine recently for $ 9.99 at Walgreens, but you can find them just about anywhere including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens 'n Things. The first time I tried these I purposely dried a very large load of clothes. I’d say they performed about the same as dryer sheets at reducing static cling and increasing softness, however, they did reduce drying time. For such a large load I usually have to add 15 minutes or more to the cycle, and in this case, I didn’t. Of course, as the balls are reusable (they come with a 2 year performance guarantee) they’re great for reducing waste and they’re a perfect alternative for those sensitive to chemicals and chemical smells.

Post Update: Since posting this how-to, another website has picked it up, attracting comments concerning dryer balls. Who knew they were so controversial? I’ll break it down for you: Some say they are hard on clothes. Since I’m new to them, I can’t attest to this one way or the other. Some say they make a racket in the dryer. Although you CAN hear them thump around in there, I wasn’t bothered in the least. Most people agree that they DO help dry your clothes faster, however suggestions have been made that a couple of tennis balls would produce the same outcome. And finally, there are some who have no complaints about them whatsoever. For further reviews, check this out.

'Jumping through hoops' courtesy of Nix Sidhe at flickr.

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Spring Cleaning Time!

by Badbadivy

It's March and in my household that means it's SPRING CLEANING time! Spring cleaning can be tackled in many different ways. It all depends on what sort of person you are. I'm the type of person that likes to dash around my house and clean it all in one day. Others like to tackle one room at a time, or clean for a certain period of time. Whatever you do, make a plan and stick with it! There's nothing worse than having a bunch of half-finished...

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