When I was a young bride my grandmother loaned me her "Hints from Heloise" book. It was love at first reading. I hung on to it and regularly promised my grandma I'd return it (someday) and used many, many of its tips. I ended up giving it back to her just a few weeks before she died and never saw it again.
I would give anything to have it now, not only for the sweet memories but also for its practical, everyday, very reasonable tips. Many times it rescued me when I had no money but plenty of little problems to solve. I remember her tips for how to hang laundry allowing me to have line-dried clothes that actually looked good! I did this from March to November in Indiana. A considerable savings! I also used a cheap cleaning solution made with ammonia (very cheap) to scrub my floors. I remember being so pleased with the results on old, old tile floors. I recall getting mildew out of some clothing after searching the book for a solution. As I remember I used sour milk and sunshine--but that's been a long time ago!
Today I guess Martha Stewart would be considered the homemaker's guru if you wanted a solution. (However, she's a little pricier in her solutions.) About once a year I buy a Martha Stewart magazine and it's her issue that has practical how-to's in it. I always save that issue as a reference book in my library.
One year she had an article on how to get your white dress shirts (well, I think she said white clothing in general) very, very white. I tried it and it works! It can be a little frightening when you get the shirts out of the dryer and they are heavily wrinkled, but a good steam iron and spray starch and they are crisp again.
So.....here is a my version of how to get hubby's white dress shirts (make sure they are cotton!) beautifully white again. You will not believe how dirty the water will be as they are soaking and if you do it without mentioning it to him he will ask how you got them so white. (Well, some men won't notice, but they're the same ones that don't notice if they've shaved or if their shirt tail is in or out!:)
1) Heat two gallons of water over high heat, and bring it to a boil. (This is a lot of water so you might want to use two pans for lifting later.)
2) When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and let the pan(s) sit for about five minutes.
3) Have a dishpan or bucket of some kind in your sink and carefully pour the water into it.
4. Add 8 oz. of powdered oxygen bleach. DO NOT use chlorine bleach and don't do this while your pan is on the stove. It will bubble and foam. Be sure you stand back. Stir it with a wooden spoon to mix it all through and get it dissolved.
5. Add about 3 white shirts to the bucket of solution. Make sure they're completely immersed in it.
6. Let them soak. Stir every once in a while and keep them in the solution till the water is cool enough you can get the clothes out comfortably. (I usually do it in the morning and let them sit most of the day.)
7. Drain the solution off and rinse each shirt well with clear water.
8. Launder them as you usually would.
They will come out pretty wrinkled from the dryer. Just give them a good steam pressing and then press again using a spray starch.
Also, I made the mistake of putting a shirt in that was more polyester then cotton and it took up the dirty color of the water instead of releasing it! I have done shirts with a little polyester or another fabric and they do fine for me.
I use laundry time to pray over my family as I fold or hang up their laundry. I also love making my husband pleased with always having clean clothes in his closet and drawers. It makes him even happier if he sees me go the extra mile to make his clothes look their best, even if they aren't that new!
I cherish the books I have when women found their greatest joy in planning meals, shining windows, setting a pretty table, making a special meal or desserts, and washing her family's clothing. I read and reread my books where the homemaker wrote them with pride and encouraged other homemakers in their domestic role.
As a keeper at home I want to do a quality job. I want my family to have sweet memories of their mother making home a wonderful, wonderful place to be. I hope this will encourage you as you serve the Lord in the domain He chose for us!