Real moms: Secret laundry room lifesavers

Nov 30, 2012 at 4:52 a.m. ET

Sometimes, your normal detergent just isn't enough. You've got to have a few tricks up your sleeve if you want to conquer the toughest of loads. These experienced moms know their way around the laundry room, and they're sharing their best tips and tricks with you.

woman hanging clothes to dry

Use vinegar

White vinegar is not just for cooking! It's a fantastic cleaning agent and has plenty of uses in each room of your home. As some moms are finding out, it even has a use in the laundry room. Replace your normal fabric softener with the same amount of white vinegar for soft, clean-smelling clothes. The vinegar neutralizes odors, reduces chemical build-ups in your clothes from detergents and cuts static, all at a much lower cost than any store-bought softener.

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Christina Lowe of San Diego loves to use vinegar to neutralize her firefighter husband's smelly gear, as well as get rid of other odors. "I use just a little white vinegar. It works great with any pee smell from dogs or kiddos!" she said.

Keep clothes brightisolated salt shaker

One way to keep your clothes from fading is to turn them all inside-out before putting them through the wash. If yours have already faded, though, all hope is not lost.

Melissa Ward, a stay-at-home mom of three from Groveport, Ohio, says adding a couple of pinches of salt to your detergent will brighten your clothes in just one wash.

“My grandma told me to try that, and I didn't believe her, but I gave it a try. I couldn't believe it when it actually worked!" she said.

Banish grease with dish soap

Grease stains are tough, but not impossible to get rid of. Connie Taylor, mommy of one baby girl from San Antonio, swears that applying dish soap directly to the grease stain will send it packing.

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"It has to be the blue, original Dawn dish soap, but it works every time," said Connie.

Save on dryer use

Your dryer is convenient, but you may not realize how much money it costs you to run it.

Brandi Keller is a mom of two from Washington who was tired of watching her electric bill climb with every load of laundry she put in her dryer.

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"To save money on the electric bill and cut down on dryer use in the winter, I use tension shower-curtain rods in my laundry room. I put clothes I'd normally hang on the line outside on hangers and hang them up to dry on the rods," said Brandi. "Our furnace is in the attic, so the heat comes down from the ceiling. Clothes dry in no time, and we save money on our bill!"

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