Friday, August 9, 2013

Laundry tips

I have some friends who rave about OxyClean. Our Costco had a big bin of it, and because of their generous return policy (any time, full price back), I bought a tub and brought it home.

It's supposed to help your own detergent work better, so I tossed a scoop in several loads of laundry. No improvement. It's also supposed to be amazing on spots, so I wet some and scrubbed it in. Nada.

Returned it.

Oil and Other Spots
Then my friend Liz told me her laundry secret: for those challenging spots, mix hydrogen peroxide with Dawn, and scrub it in with an old toothbrush. Magic. It may take more than one time, but it visibly lessens with each wash, and many times, it disappears the first time.

I am a master at dropping food down my front, leaving oil spots in the laundered shirts. This mixture removes the spots and lets me avoid throwing away otherwise perfectly good clothing.

I play ice hockey, and sometimes the stink just doesn't leave my stuff afterward. I had one red shirt that I wore under my jersey and really liked--and it came out of the dryer stinking like B.O. I rewashed it with no improvement. I soaked it in a baking soda-water mixture. That helped a bit.

Then I started washing my stinky stuff with either a cup of vinegar or a cup of washing soda. If I'm not mistaken, this makes the laundry a little more acidic or a little more basic. Either way, it really helps destinkify my hockey stuff. And I get to keep my favorite red shirt!

What's your favorite laundry tip?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Great options through libraries

In Alameda, we have the Alameda Free Library system. You do have to be a resident of the City of Alameda, and show one utility bill when you apply for a card. They have regular books, magazines, newspapers, manga and graphic novels (child, youth, and adult), VHS and DVD movies, and audio books on cassette, CD, MP3, and Playaway. Playaways are awesome because they require no iPod, cassette player, nor CD player: you just plug your headphones (or your FM transceiver, for the car) into the jack, supply a AAA battery, and go. It's solid state, so no moving parts, and remembers where you were in the audio book (but not the volume level, which is a pet peeve of mine). The Alameda Free Library also has multiple eBooks and audio books available online through the Overdrive system. (Note that many of the audio titles are not available to play on iPods, another pet peeve.) Alameda Free also has a tool lending service, but I haven't used it yet and don't know how well it works or what is available.

But we are also in the Alameda County library system. You can get a card online! This card not only allows you to check out books at the Alameda County branches, it also allows you to borrow passes to museums and aquariums in the area. This library system also offers electronic books through the NoveList site, but I'm not familiar with it yet.

Finally, if you can go into San Francisco in person, you can get a San Francisco Public Library card. They have two or three times the number of books available online (Kindle and other ebooks, and audio books). It's highly worthwhile to fill out the form ahead of time, to make the process faster. Since I'm not in San Francisco that regularly, I'll likely never check out an actual book there.

Three options for free library and library-related services. Wonderful!