One of the ways that we have cut back on our budget is by eliminating dry cleaning. We used to have my hubby’s work shirts dry cleaned every week. It was really nice to not have to worry about washing and ironing his shirts for work everyday.
But, dry cleaning, especially for dress shirts, is an unnecessary expense when you can easily wash and iron your own clothes at home. And now that I know more about the chemicals used in dry cleaning, I would still choose to launder his shirts at home, even if we had room in the budget for dry cleaning.
Dry cleaning uses a chemical called Tetrachloroethene (it also goes by tetrachloroethylene, perchloroethylene, or PCE) and is most commonly known as PERC.1 You can be exposed to PERC simply by bringing dry cleaned clothes into your home because the clothing can off-gas the chemical into the air, and even, though less likely, through your skin by wearing the dry cleaned clothes on your body. PERC is labeled as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency1 and must be handled as hazardous waste.2 Not something that I want in my home or for my husband to be wearing.
So, I have been washing and ironing Jer’s works shirts for him. (That’s love!) I used to use store bought spray starch, because he liked the feel of the stiff starched dry cleaned shirts. But then when I ran out, I just didn’t buy any more. Just recently, as part of my homemade kick, I thought about making my own spray starch and found lots of recipes online. I mixed up a batch and used it to iron his shirts, and am really pleased the the results.
Homemade Spray Starch
2 cups cold water
1 Tbsp corn starch
Yep! It really is that easy. Mix it together and then put it in a spray bottle and shake it up until the cornstarch is dissolved. Make sure you shake it each time before you iron too. If you want it to be even more “starchy” you can add more cornstarch. I would be a little afraid of residue on my clothing though. This spray really does make ironing easier, especially when the shirts have been sitting in a laundry basket for a week (blush). And his shirts look nice and crisp without being overly stiff. Also, when I iron his shirts all at the same time for the week (which doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but is ultimately my goal) the shirts stay looking nice and freshly ironed even after hanging in the closet for a few days.
Plus, could it be any cheaper?! Basically the cost of a Tablespoon of corn starch – for my box of corn starch was about 4 cents. Compared to the $2 can from the store that you often can’t even use all of it because the nozzle gets plugged – you can’t beat that! And no can to throw in the landfill when you’re done.
If you use homemade spray starch along with homemade laundry detergent, you are well on your way to a frugally green laundry routine!
Happy ironing! (If that’s even possible) 🙂