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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!


submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the November 23, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Getting together with friends and family is what the holidays are all about! Whether guests are coming for an overnight or extended stay these helpful tips will increase the pleasure of entertaining and reduce the stress and anxiety that can go along with it.

Bedding Down

If guest-room bedding, including comforters, quilts, blankets and mattress pads, haven’t been washed in the last three months, now’s the time to do it. Sunlight and dust can take their toll on these items. They may also be dusty and/or musty. Launder following the manufacturers’ instructions. Be aware that some blankets and comforters can be laundered at home. Others may require professional cleaning.

Clean Towels on Hand

Prepare and organize the linen closet so towels are guest-ready. Wash towels that have been stored for several months. If they have a musty smell, use a laundry product designed to eliminate ordors.

Once the towels are clean and dry, store them within easy reach of guests. Hand towels and face cloths can be rolled and stored in wicker baskets or layered on a shelf. Larger towels can be folded and stacked in the linen closet. Just be sure there are plenty of hooks or towel racks in the bathroom so guests will have a place to hang their towels while visiting. If hanging space is at a premium in the bathroom, consider installing towel bars on the back of the guest-room door.

Wrinkle-free Linens

Those extra sheets and blankets that have been tucked into the recesses of the linen closet are, at minimum, crushed and crumpled. Choose a laundry detergent that has built-in wrinkle releasing properties so once sheets and pillowcases are washed, they’ll keep that freshly-laundered look. Good drying practices will also help keep wrinkles from settling in. For example, avoid over-drying, and remove items from the dryer as soon as the cycle is finished. For easy storage, sort sheets and pillowcases into sets. Then fold and store them so the entire set is tucked inside one of its sheets.

Table linens that are folded and stacked flat have an affinity for wrinkles during storage. For tablecloths frequently used, consider hanging them on towel racks mounted to the back of the linen closet door. Tablecloths used only for special occasions can be folded lengthwise, hung on sturdy coat hangers and stored in an off-season closet or on a garment rack. They can either be stored in a garment bag or enclosed with an old sheet or similar cover to prevent dust accumulation.

When it’s time to use your linens, a quick treatment with a wrinkle-releasing spray will help smooth the fabric and remove wrinkles—without an iron. Just spray evenly until the item is slightly damp. Then tug and smooth away the wrinkles. Let the cloth hang until thoroughly dry. These same techniques can be used to treat most cloth napkins and table runners, too. Read and follow the product label directions.

Fabric Refreshers

Fabric refreshers are another popular product for busy hosts. They can cover up and neutralize odors on hard-to-wash fabrics and soft surfaces, such as carpets (after vacuuming), upholstery and curtains. Spray the product evenly on fabric until it’s slightly damp. As the fabric dries, the odors fade away. Read and follow the product label directions before using.

Enjoy the holidays by being prepared for guests.

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