How do I make my clothes soft? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 04-04-2006, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are giving up the dryer for at least a month. But here's the prob: when we hang the clothes and stuff outside, they get hard. Usually, I toss them in the dryer for ten minutes to soften them up (works somewhat) but now I don't want to do that. We don't use fabric softener, and I don't want to. So, for anybody that doesn't use a dryer, how do you get your clothes to a reasonable level of softness?

Thanks bunches!
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#2 of 12 Old 04-04-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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I haven't tried this myself, but I've been told that throwing them in the dryer for five minutes before hanging works better than throwing them in afterward - at least that's for five minutes instead of ten

I find that if I give each item a snap (shake it really hard, like snapping someone with a towel) before hanging, it helps a little. Not completely, but a little

Something rings a bell in the back of my mind about throwing in some vinegar in the rinse cycle, too. Kind of makes sense, as vinegar works as a hair conditioner, too.
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#3 of 12 Old 04-04-2006, 09:29 PM
 
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I've heard of the vinegar thing too. I am going to be faced with giving up my dryer here in a few months and will have to deal with this again.

Another thing I hate is how my stretched clothes don't get that time to shrink back up in the dryer and fit properly again like they do in the dryer.
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#4 of 12 Old 04-04-2006, 09:43 PM
 
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I've been told that hanging them in the early morning or in the evening is better for soft clothes, because they don't dry as fast. But, we just got used to the stiffness, and don't really even notice it now!
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#5 of 12 Old 04-06-2006, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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IME, drying AFTER rather than before helps more with the softness (you dry them for a few minutes, hang them up, then they get stiff! lol)

I noticed this last time I hung up clothes that giving them more space between clothes seemed to help (or maybe it didn't, because I also hung them up late afternoon, so maybe that was it?)
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#6 of 12 Old 04-08-2006, 06:26 PM
 
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I don't hang my clothes (yet). But I did switch from fabric softner to vinegar and my clothes and towels are still nice and soft. I can barely tell a difference at all.
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#7 of 12 Old 04-09-2006, 11:31 PM
 
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Snap them before you put them up. The larger the item, the harder you'll have to shake it to make it work. Prefolds and hand towels are easy to do, for example, while sheets and blankets are pretty much impossible (if you can run them for 5 min in the drier before hangin them, though, that should help).

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#8 of 12 Old 04-12-2006, 05:44 AM
 
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I have not had a dryer for over 12 years. You get used to the feel, really you do. And you get to love the way the sheets and towels smell after being hung in the sun, so fresh and wonderful. On a sunny day it is great to hang out pillows and blankets to air out. Makes them nice and fluffy.
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#9 of 12 Old 04-12-2006, 11:30 AM
 
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5 min in the dryer on low - heat releases the wrinkles.

Hang while warm.

"Snap" - to dewrinkle just before hanging.

For avoiding stiff clothes, wash and hang inside out, when you turn them right side out and "snap' them again, they should feel fairly soft.

For towels I have some rubber donut thingies I got at ecobaby. I put them in socks and run in dryer - no heat - helps soften them up. Never thought it was really necessary to use w/clothes.

My family doesn't complain...so
I guess some of it is getting used to it.

HTH
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#10 of 12 Old 04-12-2006, 05:07 PM
 
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Ok...so here's my question. I would love to line dry, but am hesitant to do so because I'm very sensitive to smells. I love the smell of fresh air when you open up the windows, but can't stand the smell of it on the clothes if they've been hung out to dry. ESPECIALLY when folks are mowing the lawn (I live in town) b/c of the smell of the grass and in some cases the exhaust from their lawn mower. Suggestions here?
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#11 of 12 Old 04-14-2006, 09:33 AM
 
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detergent is what makes clothes "hard" the more detergent you use the more fabric softener you need. i have very hard water and it's very hard to get the detergent to rinse out all the way. my clothes were not coming clean at all in the wash and were super static-y when they came out of the drier.

this is what i finally found that worked:

in each load add one cup baking soda and half the amount of detergent the package says to use to the wash water, in the rinse cycle (when you would add the fabric softener) add 3/4 cup white vinegar (you can make your own if you don't like using white vinegar, it's cheap)

this makes nice soft, clean, static free clothes.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#12 of 12 Old 04-14-2006, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamered_mom
Ok...so here's my question. I would love to line dry, but am hesitant to do so because I'm very sensitive to smells. I love the smell of fresh air when you open up the windows, but can't stand the smell of it on the clothes if they've been hung out to dry. ESPECIALLY when folks are mowing the lawn (I live in town) b/c of the smell of the grass and in some cases the exhaust from their lawn mower. Suggestions here?
hang them in the basement?

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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