Queen of Clean, Julie Dean: Laundry Tips

April 1, 2010

I am not a particularly well-rounded mama.   To borrow from my high schooler’s mastery-based grading system, there are parenting targets which I’m “meeting” or “exceeding” – clothing selection and arts and crafts, come to mind – and some which I’m “approaching” – juggling seven things at once, consistently fixing healthy meals, and some which I’m “just beginning” to tackle.  The entire concept of mastery-based grading is that the student will eventually be meeting or exceeding all targets, but for me, as a mama, I’m pretty sure this is never going to happen —there’s one goal in particular that I feel as though I may always be “just beginning,” and that parenting target is laundry. 

I could barely stay on top of my laundry when I was only clothing myself, but now that I’m dressing a family of five, the situation has become downright bleak.  For the most part, I can keep the three kids in unsoiled garments, but that is the absolute ceiling of my abilities.  I’m always running at least a dozen loads behind, my stain-fighting skills are non-existent, and if my only clothing gets to participate in the laundering cycle once every two weeks, I feel satisfied.  

I dream of a life in which I’m not a bad laundry mom, and in that life, I look a lot like mama vendor and gosling Julie Dean.  She is my personal Queen of Clean, and so for those of you who haven’t given up hope of meeting or exceeding your laundering learning target, I present Julie’s Words of Wisdom for Washing and Wearing: 

Meet the members of Julie’s stain-fighting team: 

Hydrogen Peroxide & Water (1:1)


Charlie’s Soap

Natural Stain Remover (recipe below)

Combine the following in a spray bottle and shake:      

¼ c glycerin (can be purchased at Greenstar in bulk)

¼ c dishwashing detergent, not soap (Julie uses Seventh Generation)

1 ½ c warm water

When it comes time to launch her attack, Julie has this to say:         

“I’ve read that stains should be treated within 24 hours.  That’s all well and good, but my life is just not conducive to that amount of attention to food as it appears on clothing!  So, I just give it my best shot to spray natural remover on the stain ASAP and let it set in the dirty clothes hamper until I can fit laundry into my world. This seems to work fine.

As for treating the stain, I scour all every article of the clothing for stains as I sort laundry into piles by color (dark, white, colored) and spray the stains with natural remover.  Next, I dunk the toothbrush in the peroxide/water solution and scrub for a good 5-10 passes.  Then, the item gets tossed into its respective pile to wait its turn for the washer.  Peroxide is a bleaching agent, but I’ve never had it bleach out color on clothing while it sits on a stain. That is partly due to the diluting, so don’t forget the water!

Once they are washed with the every-reliable and non-imposing Charlie’s soap, I am a big believer in air-drying most clothes. (I put underwear, non-wool socks, towels, dishcloths, PJs, jeans and play clothes in the dryer.)  There are a few reasons for the “top clothing” to avoid the dryer. One, is that clothing shrinks. Two, stains set with heat and your chances decrease significantly of getting them out a second time around. Three, the dryer fades the color faster.  I only have one child, but I manage with a standard-size drying rack and two metal bars hung in the laundry room. Most of the clothes dry on plastic hangers so they are ready for the closet when dry.

When all of my concerted laundering efforts fail, I cut up some old shirt or peruse the bargain bins at Mama Goose for some cute stained clothes with appealing appliqués, cut out the cuteness and sew it over the stains.  This may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s welcomed creative work for me, I usually have a threaded sewing machine handy, and I feel like I’m doing my part to re-recycle the poor, tired piece of clothing.  Plus, they may just be cute enough to sell back to Mama Goose! “

There you have it!  I may be a terrible laundry mom who has a habit of buying things at MG to avoid confronting her washing machine, but I got the hook-up!  (That’s funny, ‘cause like, you need hook-ups for washers and dryers, and also it’s an expression?  You know?) 

Anyway… next time you’re in the store, look for our little pink laundry hand-out… also researched by our queen of clean, Julie Dean.  Study it up, and I’m sure you’ll all be exceeding your laundry learning target in no time!

-Meryl at the Goose


2 Responses to “Queen of Clean, Julie Dean: Laundry Tips”

  1. Margie Rosten Says:

    I was a bad shoe mom and a bad tissue mom. I never had tissues with me and my poor kids never had the right size shoes until I finally discovered a wonderful kids’ shoe store and a non-judgmental shoe salesman.

  2. Kelly Says:

    I’m VERY impressed with Julie’s laundry regime. Spring is a great time for me to convince myself that I can do this too.

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