Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 5 Smarter Ways to Use Your Washing Machine

    We reveal our wise-washing laundry day tips.We reveal our wise-washing laundry day tips.

    Sure, you've been doing laundry for years -- but are you doing it correctly? Try these strategies for perfectly clean clothes (and a happy machine!) every time.

    Related: Your Mattress's Dirty Little Secret

    1. Reduce your load size.
    Cramming the tub isn't a shortcut -- clothes need to move to get clean! Adjust the water level (newer models automatically do this) and drying time, and if your washer and dryer have different capacities, go for the smaller volume.

    2. Use the presoak cycle.
    This setting agitates the contents and may dispense detergent before starting the main cycle, so extra-dirty loads get cleaner without going through twice.

    Related: How to Fix the Worst Laundry Mistakes

    3. Add bleach yourself.
    Don't have a timed bleach dispenser, but want its extra cleaning power? Add chlorine bleach (as long as it's safe for your fabrics) to the load five minutes after the cycle starts (earlier, and it will kill stain-fighting enzymes in the detergent).

    4.

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  • How to Banish 6 Easter and Passover Stains

    Fend off chocolate smudges, egg dye spills, and more.Fend off chocolate smudges, egg dye spills, and more.

    If an Easter egg hunt leaves your son's new khakis grass-stained or a glass of Manishewitz spills on your best tablecloth, don't let it spoil the festivities. With these techniques, you'll forget the stains and keep the happy memories, instead.

    Related: 10 Surprising Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher

    1. Easter Egg Dye
    On countertops that wind up just as colorful as the eggs hidden in the backyard, use an all-purpose cleaner that contains bleach to erase the stains.

    2. Chocolate Candy
    Wait -- don't touch! Scraping chocolate from clothing while it's melty can push the stain further into the fabric. Allow the chocolate to dry and harden, then scrape off the pieces and treat with a stain remover. Wash in warm water with an all-fabric-safe bleach, or Clorox's Smart Seek Bleach, which is safe to use on most printed and patterned whites.

    Related: How to Fix the Worst Laundry Mistakes

    3. Gravy
    If you missed the plate when serving the brisket, scrape off the

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  • Buying New Carpeting? Check Your Vacuum First

    Don't splurge on new carpeting before reading this.Don't splurge on new carpeting before reading this.

    Luxurious, super-soft carpeting has recently become popular, but it comes with one huge caveat: Your vacuum cleaner might not be able to clean it. That's right, after you shell out thousands for new carpeting, you might also need to fork over more money for a new vacuum. Let me explain why.

    Related: 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Vacuuming

    What to Know
    These new carpets are made with longer fibers (and more of them) than traditional carpets. This makes them soft underfoot, but also more challenging to clean. For a vacuum cleaner to glide easily on a carpet, air must flow into the nozzle and through the machine. Block the air flow and the vacuum seals itself to the carpet and is hard to push. And, unfortunately, that's what many consumers have discovered when their new carpeting is installed.

    Related: Your Mattress's Dirty Little Secret

    Before you buy, check the websites of carpet brands you're considering, like Mohawk and Shaw, to see which vacuum cleaner models are

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  • 3 New Stainbusters You Need to Try

    Stock your shelves with these powerful laundry-day staples.Stock your shelves with these powerful laundry-day staples.

    These new problem-solving cleaners definitely deserve a space near your washing machine.

    Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Washing Machine Work Harder

    1. Tide Ultra Stain Release
    It has more muscle than Tide Original. A scrubber cap works wonders on tough stains like lipstick and crayon. ($14 for 48 loads' worth, tide.com)

    Related: Are You Using Too Much Detergent?

    2. Gain Flings
    These detergent pods make clothes smell as good as they look -- with Febreze odor kickers, plus 50% more scent than the liquid. ($15 for 57 packs, ilovegain.com)

    Related: 7 "Rules" for Cleaning Clothes You Should Always Break

    3. Clorox Smart Seek Bleach
    Win-win! The strength of chlorine bleach in a formula that's safe to use on most printed and patterned whites. ($2.29 for 55 oz., clorox.com)

    More from Good Housekeeping:

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  • How to Fix 4 Major Laundry Mistakes

    Our experts have seen it all. Here are their solutions for your worst laundry-day mishaps.Our experts have seen it all. Here are their solutions for your worst laundry-day mishaps.

    Don't fret over a stained blouse -- these laundry blunders might be easier to fix than you think.

    PROBLEM #1: The colors from one item bled into another.
    THE FIX: Wash the stained item again, by itself, in warm water with detergent and color-safe bleach, or try washing it with Good Houskeeping Research Institute pick Carbona Color Run Remover ($3, carbona.com), which safely eliminates dye transfer.

    Related: 4 Tools Every Laundry Room Needs

    PROBLEM #2: There are bits of tissue everywhere.
    THE FIX: Before taking out the load, rewash it with a dose of fabric softener added to the final rinse. Pull off whatever you can by hand, then tumble-dry the load (the dryer's lint filter will capture much of the stuff). Use a dry scrub sponge to remove any remaining stubborn specks.

    Related: 7 "Rules" for Cleaning Clothes You Should Always Break

    PROBLEM #3: You smell (or see) mildew.
    THE FIX: If your clothes have a sour smell (or, worse, black spots) from having been left in the

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  • 7 Tips for an Easier Trip to the Laundromat

    Remember these tasks to avoid time-sucking, clothes-ruining missteps on laundry day.Remember these tasks to avoid time-sucking, clothes-ruining missteps on laundry day.

    Carting your wardrobe out of your house on laundry day isn't exactly fun. But with our rules, the chore will certainly become a bit easier.

    1. Check the machine before you load in your clothes.
    Remove any items that the person before you left behind. An extra sock isn't a big deal, but a rogue tube of lipstick could ruin your favorite blouse.

    Related: 10 Tips to Your Fastest Laundry Day EVER

    2. Sniff for leftover bleach.
    If the previous patron used bleach in her load, you'll know by smelling the bleach dispenser or cup. This two-second move could save your dark clothes.

    3. Dispel any odors.
    Mildew and grime are common in laundromat washers, and since so many people use them, you never know what your clothes might smell like at the end of the rinse cycle. Add distilled white vinegar to a Downy ball and toss it in with your load. It will help eliminate residual stink from others' washes (and any odors in your clothes, too.)

    Related: Are You Using Too Much

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  • Speed Clean Your Patio in 5 Easy Steps

    Get your outdoor space ready for warmer weather.Get your outdoor space ready for warmer weather.

    Winter's over! Here's how to freshen your outdoor space for the warmer days and nights ahead.

    Related: The Best Outdoor Furniture Cleaners

    1. Plastic Chairs
    Sponge them off with a solution of a squirt of liquid dish soap in a bowl of warm water; rinse with a hose. Attack extra-grimy spots with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($9 for eight, Amazon.com) or Goo Gone Patio Furniture Cleaner ($5, Bed, Bath and Beyond).

    2. Outdoor Cushions
    Check care labels to see if covers can be machine-washed. If not, spot-clean with a dish-liquid-and-water solution, as with plastic chairs. Note: Some new outdoor fabrics can simply be hosed off.

    Related: Wow Guests With These 11 DIY Outdoor Centerpieces

    3. Wood Decking
    Zap mold, mildew, and discoloration with 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner ($22, Ace Hardware). First, test a small spot; then apply, wait, and hose off!

    4. Patio Pavers
    Erase leaf stains from concrete, brick, or stone with a rust remover like Whink Rust Oxy ($7, hardware

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  • 11 Signs You're Totally Obsessed with Crafting

    Time to own up to your addiction to glitter and glue.Time to own up to your addiction to glitter and glue.

    1. Your solution to every organizing problem is "Put it in a mason jar with spray-painted chevron detail. Obviously."

    2. In fact, that's your answer to a lot of questions: "How should I serve my famous summer sangria?" "Where should I place these fresh-cut flowers?" "Why can't I find the perfect-sized candle holder?"

    Related: This Craft Room Is to Die For

    3. Your dentist mentions that you need to floss more, and you scoff. You made, like, ten embroidery floss friendship bracelets for your Etsy shop just yesterday.

    4. You find yourself fishing perfectly reusable ribbons and bows out of the trash bin at your daughter's birthday party.

    5. You say "you know, they're doing great things with faux flowers these days" when your husband surprises you with roses.

    Related: 8 Inventive Ways to Use Mason Jars

    6. Your emergency contact list includes your husband, your mother, and Michaels. Because there's a good chance they might find you there.

    7. Your friends only need to

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  • How to Remove 4 Common Makeup Stains on Your Clothes

    That lipstick on your collar is no match for our stain-busting techniques.That lipstick on your collar is no match for our stain-busting techniques.

    We've been there: You're rushing through your morning routine (every day!) and you walk out the door with liquid eyeliner on your sleeve or concealer rubbed off on your shirt collar. Next time it happens to you, consult this handy how-to-fix list.

    Related: What To Do If You Spill Coffee On Yourself

    1. Concealer, blush, eye liner, eyeshadow, and mascara
    Removing pesky stains from your everyday makeup routine is totally straightforward: Treat the stain with a prewash stain remover, and launder as usual.

    2. Face oils
    When your argan oil drips onto your blouse, blot any excess, and treat with a prewash stain remover. You can also try rubbing the spot with a waterless hand cleaner (like Goop hand cleaner) to help break up the stain. Then, launder using the hottest water safe for the fabric.

    Related: 3 New Stainbusters You Need to Try

    3. Nail polish
    The great thing about nail polish? It's designed to be removed! Place the fabric stain-side down on a paper towel and

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  • 5 Insect Repellents to Keep Bugs at Bay

    These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.

    These picks are safe for kids, pets, and the planet when used properly.

    1. Allethrin Lamps
    Allethrin lamps (like ThermaCELL, $30, and OFF!, $10) use a butane cartridge or flame, respectively, to activate the chemical repellent.

    Pros: Typically, 93% to 99% of mosquitoes and sand flies steer clear of a 15-foot area for up to four hours on each refill mat. Lamps are attractive and unobtrusive.

    Cons: Refills cost $5 to $6. Keep an eye on the flame version, especially around children and pets.

    Related: 9 DIY Projects to Light a Backyard Party

    2. Geraniol Candles
    Geraniol candles (like those from Koolatron, $10) disperse a plant-derived repelling scent.

    Pros: Five times better than citronella, it repels more than 80% of mosquitoes and 70% of sand flies for up to 10 feet. A one-pound candle lasts 50 hours.

    Cons: With candles, the open flame poses a risk. While most people find the smell pleasant, some won't like it.

    Related: The Best Patio

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