Julies Blog

Dusty soft toys

by Julie Finch-Scally

If your bedroom is like mine there are a large number of soft toys displayed. If your bedroom is also like mine, those soft toys are somewhat dusty. In fact last week I looked at the large penguin which should have been black over its head and down its back, and the fur was covered with so much dust it was starting to look white.

For a cleaner to have soft toys in such a bad condition was not a very good advertisement so I had to take the penguin outside and give it a bash with my hand. You have no idea how much dust flew up into the air. Even the penguin gave me that happier look when I put it back in its place.

Soft toys are great harbourers of dust. The smaller ones get dusty but don’t show it, where as the larger the toy the more the dust is noticeable. And as my penguin was large and black the white dust was extremely noticeable.

I find the easiest way to get soft toys clean is to shake and hit them with the heel of the hand or if possible pile them all in a large broken plastic box with a hole at one end into which the end of the vacuum hose can be placed and shake the box while the vacuum is running. You would be surprised at the amount of dust this removes from the toys. You will need a filter such as a section of an old stocking over the hose hole to stop small toys being sucked into the vacuum.

As most soft toys just sit and look pretty there is no need to wash them. If you have a child that uses a soft toy as a security blanket then that specific toy will need to be washed. It can be by hand or in the washing machine.

Which ever way you should choose to wash that toy, firstly place it in a bras bag. This stops the toy being flattened when being squeezed or spun to remove the excess water. It also helps stop the loss of small stuck on parts on the toy.

Whilst cleaning the toys give the area where they sit a wipe over with a damp cloth then wipe down with a dry tea towel or absorbent cloth. When the toys are clean they will have a dust free area to sit on.

You will never be able to stop dust building up on soft toys, but giving them a three monthly dust will help to keep them looking fresh and clean.


Drying washing inside

by Julie Finch-Scally

As a child I grew up in England. During winter it was impossible to dry washing outside. The amount of sunshine was limited and the washing was just as wet at the end of the day as it was when hung outside.

But when I was a child washing machines didn’t have a spin cycle and there was no option of using a clothes dryer, they hadn’t been invented for domestic use. This has all changed and now our washing comes out of the machine just damp and not wet or dripping.

Even though the washing is reasonably dry when removed from the spin cycle everything still needs a certain amount of warmth to completely dry it all. If there is no sun the clothes dryer is the obvious answer. But is it?

In the Northern Hemisphere during winter, many people hang their clothing over the central heating radiators. But there is only so much available space to hang things. There are such things as a clothes horse. This is a structure made out of coated metal or wood on which one can hang clothing. Placed in front of a fire or near a heater the clothes over a period of time will dry out.

The use of the clothes dryer is preferred because it is quicker. At the most an hour to an hour and a half and everything in the dryer is dry. But, have you ever noticed the condition of the articles when they come out of a clothes dryer? All crumpled and crushed. There is a reason for this, too much in the dryer at one time. But to spread the drying over two loads uses a lot of electricity and again takes time.

Very few people enjoy ironing these days. In fact most people I know avoid ironing all together. Removing crumpled clothes from the dryer ensures many of the items will have to be ironed. Items hung over a clothes horse don’t seem to get as creased and crumpled, but the time taken for everything to dry can sometimes take a couple of days.

I live in a town house where I have to dry my clothes on a verandah or inside and use a clothes horse. I make a point of using my clothes horse as if it were a washing line and hang everything with pegs. Folding items over the line make the article a double thickness thereby taking longer to dry out. Even socks and pants I hang up with pegs. It actually takes up less space. Because everything is a single thickness they dry quicker.

The other great thing about hanging clothing on the clothes horse with pegs is the lack of crinkles, so no ironing required. And that is the answer.

When it is cold and/or wet and clothes have to be dried inside, sometimes it is just as easy not to use a clothes dryer. It is how you hang the clothes on the clothes horse that helps. Peg everything as if it were on the washing line and you will find you will not only save electricity but the clothes will dry out overnight and be ready to put into drawers and wardrobes the next day.


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