HOME CHECKLISTSummer brings picnics, barbecues, berry pie and stains.
Accidents will happen, usually when you're wearing summer whites. Be ready to give your clothes some first aid.
The laundry experts at Whirlpool's Institute of Fabric Science offer this advice for fighting stains while on the go this summer:
Remove excess food or soil using a smooth object, such as a spoon or the back of a butter knife.
Quickly, blot (don't rub) stain with a clean (preferably white) cloth and club soda.
For emergencies, get in the habit of packing a stain pen in your picnic basket, beach bag or carry-all to quickly and easily remove a stain. It is better to be prepared, say the experts.
When you get home, you can tackle the stain more effectively, say the experts. These tips will work on most washable fabrics (especially whites) to get out most spots:
Soak the garment in a solution of color-safe bleach and warm water prior to machine washing to retain the crisp white hue.
Treat the stain with a pre-treater (such as Oxi-Clean) or use an in-wash stain removal booster to remove the stain.
Wash the garment in the warmest water allowed by the care label.
Recheck the garment for stains before placing it in the dryer. Resoak and rewash if needed. Do not dry until the stain has been removed drying will set the stain.
The toughest stains aren't all food-related. According to the institute, the most difficult stains to remove are anti- perspirant, ballpoint ink, butter or cooking oils, ketchup and pasta sauce, collar or cuff rings, dirt or mud, fruit juice, grass, motor oil, mustard, sweat and red wine.
To help fight those stains and more, the institute offers a downloadable stain-removal guide that can be kept in the laundry room. The institute's website also offers a quick and easy "Stain Assist" tool; just choose your fabric, stain category and specific stain, and get on-the-spot advice for its removal.
You'll find both the guide and the Stain Assist tool at www.instituteoffabricscience.org.
Summer brings picnics, barbecues, berry pie and stains. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce chances of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.
Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.
It's not too late to get a few more veggies in the ground. Plant seeds for corn, lima beans, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash, and watermelon.
Want to grow a gargantuan pumpkin? Seeds for the biggest Halloween pumpkins are traditionally planted this week.
Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather; keep an eye on the zucchini.
In the flower garden, plant seeds for alyssum, celosia, marigold, periwinkle, sunflower and zinnias.
Cut back Shasta daisies after they flower to promote a second bloom in fall.
Trim off spent flowers on roses and other shrubs to keep them blooming through the summer.
Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Make sure to water well before fertilizing.