Down and Dirty

Posted by Brette in Home and Decorating | Life | Organizing

Photo courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Laundry stains are something I spend far too much time on. Yes, there are the usual kid stains, but I also manage to spill everything all over myself, all the time. Whatever I am eating, cooking, working on, or touching invariably ends up on my clothes.  I am also guilty of putting away clothes I wore briefly, only to take them out months later and find those yellow stains on them. I have developed a huge stain fighting arsenal to deal with it all.

Cold water and soap: This is the best way to get out blood, chocolate, and tomatoes, as long as you work on the stain as soon as it happens. You have to do this by hand and scrub hard and continue to rinse and scrub until it disappears.

Alcohol, soap, and cold water: This will get out ink stains, but is another process you need to do by hand over the sink, continuing to reapply and scrub until it comes out.

StainStick: This is now called Resolve, but is the same product. It’s a gel stick that you rub on stains when you take the clothes off. It helps prevent them from setting in so they will come out in the wash. I take this with us whenever we travel and keep one next to the laundry hamper. It really cuts down on stain removal work.

Shout: This is my first line defense against stains. It never ruins clothes so it’s always safe to try first. I spray it on and let it set for half an hour, then wash the stained clothes.

Shout gel: This is a more concentrated Shout which also will not ruin clothes. I also let this sit for a while before washing.

Biz: This is a powdered color safe booster you are supposed to add to the wash, but I make it into a paste and put it on tough stains. I let this get almost dry then wash. Sometimes it can bleach out clothes, so it’s always best to test it first.

OxyClean spray: This is also good on tough stains and I like that it comes in a spray bottle.

OxyClean powder: I buy this in a tub and make it into a paste to apply to tough stains. I let it get almost dry before washing. This has also ruined some items, so always test it first.

Chlorox Bleach pen: I use this only on whites and only on stains I can’t get out any other way. It allows you to apply bleach directly to one single spot without getting it everywhere. I usually apply, then immediately rinse with cold water so the bleach does not spread.

Grandma’s Secret Stain Remover: My mother-in-law bought this for me and it sometimes works when other stainlifters will not. It comes in a tiny little squeeze bottle and can be hard to use, but I’ve had success with it.

DL Hand Automotive Hand Cleaner: This looks a little out of place on the list, but it works! This is a pink no-water needed hand cleaner that cleans grease. It’s marketed to mechanics. My husband and father-in-law used to repair office furniture and used this to clean grease off their hands. It is spectacular for tough, greasy stains. Rub it on. Let it sit a while, then wash.

Chlorox 2: This is my newest stainfighter and it got stains out of a shirt that nothing else on this list could touch. I was ready to throw the shirt out and had a free sample packet of this so I decided to try it. It’s a thick liquid, so I poured a little on and let it sit for about half an hour and then washed it. It was magic.

Some other tips about stain-fighting:

  • If at all possible, work on the stains before sending the clothes through the wash. The dryer seems to set tough stains in.
  • Sometimes if you scrub at a stain with a toothbrush this will help to remove it.
  • If you have a piece of clothing with a lot of stains, instead of targeting each one separately, try soaking the garment in a tub with Oxyclean or Biz. I use about a cup of powder to a gallon of water and let it soak.
  • Always check your stained item after you pull it out of the washer and before you put it in the dryer. As mentioned earlier, the dryer will set it and you won’t have as good a chance to get it out.
  • Washing your clothes in cold water will help prevent stains from setting as well.
  • Avoid detergent stains on clothes by always starting the washer, putting in the soap, then putting in the clothes. If you pour detergent over the clothes, sometimes it will stain them.

Do you have any stain-fighting tips?

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