PIN: Dealing with Stuffy Smelly Towels

I’ve got different sets of towels for different bathrooms. The sherbert colored towels were used by the kids and unfortunately, they sometimes got wet with swimming or used as clean up and not dried or cleaned properly. No matter how many times I’ve tried washing them, there is still a slight undercurrent smell to the towel that is unpleasant.

Note! Before proceeding make sure you have a clean washing machine!

The first method I used to remove the towel mildew smell required that I run the towels through the washer twice. The first time with Vinegar. The second time with Baking Soda. No detergent. With the hottest water.

DO NOT MIX THE BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR IN THE SAME LOAD!!! They will react and you will have a foaming mess on your hands.

After they went through a normal dry cycle set at the highest heat (see below), the towels had a neutral smell and the texture of the cloth was rather rough, not soft like you get when you use a softener in your washer. The hard case, a washcloth, still had the smell.

Lessons Learned: Running double loads is going to take time out of your day so be prepared. With two loads of wash for the same towels and a drying cycle this took me 3 hours. The first method might work for towels with a slight smell but will be ineffective against anything with a real, deep in the fibers, stench. This method IMO is over-rated hype as I didn’t find the towels fluffy, smelling good, or feeling soft.

Another method I had pinned has several options –using Vinegar (like I did above) OR Ammonia. It too uses the hottest water setting. It also recommends you set the dryer on the hottest setting (which I did for the above method). I’ll use that method this week and report back on this post as to the results.

BTW Ammonia is STRONG SMELLING and if it splashes into your eyes very dangerous. Be careful when using.

Future Application: I’ll try the Ammonia method but overall I found this method took too much time and really didn’t clear out the deep smell in the towels. I think these towels will just be moved to the garage for cleanups and than trashed.

PIN: Cleaning the Front Loading Washing Machine

What I decided last week is that I will pick something off my Pinterest Cleaning and Organization board to try every week. Most of them will be deep-clean projects or trying a method completely new to me. This is supposed to get me organized and excited about getting the house cleaner (hmmmmmm).

I’ve learned that some of the Pins on Pinterest are highly overrated. Some didn’t work for me, or worked only okay (with a better method available), or just didn’t melt my butter. I’ll report here on the blog (as I’m between DIY projects) and on my board what my experiences were.

GE front loading washer and dryer

The How to Clean your Front Loading Washer Machine Pin showed how to clean the gasket and the detergent tray. Cleaning the detergent tray made me feel good as it was pretty goopy. My teen kids now do their own laundry so they goop a bit pouring the detergent in. The gasket wasn’t that dirty because we installed a brand new one when we bought the machines off Craigslist, however, leaving the door open overnight (beware if you have small kids or pets!!) REALLY made a difference in the smell inside.

Be aware that cleaning your machine like this – running empty loads etc.. will take an hour along with the cleaning time. If you do the double, empty machine, load method that will take half a day. The first empty load is vinegar and the second empty load is with bleach; both loads are the hottest water you can use on your machines’ setting. Next time I clean the machine I’ll try this method and see if I see any difference.

Before doing either method read the manual for your washing machine!

Lessons’ Learned: After doing all the loads for the day, do a quick wipe to take out the moisture in the gasket seal and leave the door open to dry overnight. Really cuts down on the humidity smell inside the drum. Cleaning the detergent tray did make a huge visual difference.

Overall, after doing a couple of loads of laundry the next day I couldn’t really tell a difference in how the clothes smelled or felt. This may have been due to the fact my machine wasn’t all that dirty to begin with. If you have kids in sports, you may see a more dramatic difference.

Future Application: After a full day of laundry, I leave the door open to the washer and let it dry out overnight. I no longer have toddlers in the house and the pets are at the second house. It makes a huge difference in the humidity smell in the laundry room.

Definitely, a useful, routine maintenance to clean your machine but for my machine use, a once a month clean would be enough (consider more if you have a household into sports, construction, etc..).

Technique: Venetian Plaster, smooth vs. textured walls

When we did the Venetian Plaster in the laundry room it was over a textured wall. We attempted to smooth it out with plaster and sanding but it never got flat smooth all over. While we were happy with the end result, now that we’ve done the Venetian Plaster over a smooth wall (bathroom) the difference is quite astoinshing!

A sample of the color over a textured ceiling – color is flatter and without the mirror sheen:

base moulding conceals curtain rod in laundry room
Lowes Venetian Plaster Marmo

Over a smooth wall, the entire effect increases to that of the mirror sheen (not seen in these photos due to the flash of the camera but the gloss is as high as a mirror) that the product describes – depth and shading is more noticeable:

Lowes Venetian Plaster Aquamarina #67

The mirror sheen quality can be seen in this photo I took of the ceiling. Look in the walls and you can see the reflection across the top wall (it is reflecting the white of the crown moulding).

venetian plaster shows reflection on surface

Venetian Plaster isn’t really the right use for high traffic rooms, rooms with projecting corners, or where walls will have a high possibility of being touched or scratched. The surface mars very easily – for example, pressing a hand on the wall before it was top coated, resulted in a large dark smear that had to be buffed out. Scratches would also need to be filled and buffed with similar product in order to remove them.

After these experiences, I simply wouldn’t put the money into a faux effect like Venetian Plaster, Pearl, Suede, etc… unless you have a completely FLAT and SMOOTH wall. Financially, you will expend too much money on the paint unless the walls are smooth (either by re-plastering or sanding down) and you can’t get the end-effect that you want without it.

Be sure to check out the entire series on Venetian Plaster as I learned a lot over the course of different rooms.

Room: Laundry area ~ finished!

The original planning for the laundry room was in this blog post

What strikes me from looking at the before photos is the original room gave an institutional vibe that translated to “hurry and get the job done — and leave!!”:

  • The shelves and pantry were helpful in storing items, but they gave the room a claustophobic feeling.
  • The off-white color of the cabinetry did not help the room look “clean” or fresh.
  • The room looked like an after-thought; the unframed bulletin board contributed to that feeling.
  • The light from the ceiling fluorescent fixture, though serviceable, gave the feeling you were in a warehouse.

Here are the finished laundry room photos!
Color variations on walls are due to lighting, flash on camera etc…

Walls ~ While the Venetian Plaster was a huge pain in the neck, I LOVE the look as does hubby. I was really surprised at how much dimension it adds an otherwise blah room.

Wall Art ~ I looked at a lot of art for this room. Originally, I was considering some sepia toned, beach prints, but decided to try this photo, pop art of flowers. Boy, I was glad that I did! I brought the orange from the flowers and added it to the bulletin board’s frame with spray paint.

Lighting ~ I love, love, LOVE the new track lighting. Anything less then 6 lights on the system though would have been too few.

Furniture ~ The Baker Rack has worked out even better then I could ever imagine! Because it is located at the hall that opens into the garage, it’s a great place to put schoolbooks, gloves and shoes. Since we don’t have a mud-room this become really helpful during our recent bad weather.

I found this Bakers Rack on Craigslist, and liked the lattice, criss cross, pattern across the back. It was a putty colored – I spraypainted it white; I also changed the finals (top of the unit) to ones from my daughters four-poster bed (it was damaged years ago and I kept the pretty finials).

Appliances ~ LOVE my new front loaders… I found these 3 year old, GE machines on Craigslist for $750. Most likely I’ll be buying pedestals to raise their height, better concealing the plumbing behind.

Molding ~ Clothes rod was boxed in with framing to hide it when entering room. Just that little touch makes the room more elegant.  The molding to conceal the clothes rod and the more expensive shelf made of Aspen, all painted fresh white, as well as the larger base molding, again, gives the room added *zing* and a luxury look. This, again, surprised me as I didn’t think it would have as much impact as it did.

The ultimate proof that the remodel is a success is that I’ve been in there a lot keeping the laundry caught up and the room square away. 😀

Room Specs:

  • Total remodeling costs: $1,250
  • Replaced our older washer and dryer units with front loaders ($750 – 3 years old from Craigslist).
  • Venetian Plaster, Lowes, Marmo color 4 gallons at $38 per gallon.
  • Additional cost for sandpaper and for final, gloss coat material.
  • Molding color is Chef White from Valspar (Lowes) about 1 quart, had on hand.
  • Base Molding is 6″ tall, about 28 linear feet (about $40);
  • Additional costs for finishing nails and caulk.
  • New ceiling light ~ track lighting fixture from Lowes discount ($40);
  • New shelf unit made from Aspen with molding ($45);
  • Wall art over washer/dryer was from Gordmans with discount 20% off coupon ($38);
  • Bulletin board frame from Hobby Lobby’s 50% off sale discount (now painted orange) ($35);
  • Spraypainted Bakers Rack white and replaced knobs with ones on hand. (BR $25 + $16 paint).
  • Note: Repair of missing tile will be done in the future – we still need to find a compliment to what is already there.

Except for the floor tile patch (we still need to find some matching tile), the laundry room is now completed.