Thursday, May 13, 2010

I’ve been fighting a war – against laundry stains

It appears that no one in our house, including myself, is able to keep their clothes clean.  My pregnant belly is just a huge stain catcher.  Add in a four-year-old and an almost two-year-old and you have a recipe for disaster.  Evidently being a stain catcher is contagious because in the last few weeks I have had to double check all of Steve’s clothes.  In his defense it is not always his fault.  He became Megan’s napkin the other night when we were out to dinner with his parent’s for Mother’s day.  He had a nice jelly handprint on his shoulder.  :) 

Here are some ways that I have been able to treat and remove most of our stains:

  • Pre-treat the stain as soon as possible.  I have had lots of success with a Spray ‘n Wash Stain Stick or Shout Advanced Gel.  I keep a stain stick upstairs so that we can try to remember to treat the stain when we change our clothes.  (I really like the Shout product because it is in a spray bottle and can really saturate the stain.  All you have to do is spray it on, rub it in, and let it sit and do it’s magic.)  I have successfully removed strawberry stains with the stain stick and grease spots with the spray gel.


  • Soak the clothing.  There are some things that my girls get on themselves that I just need to soak right away.  I actually keep a bottle of detergent upstairs.  When I need to soak something and laundry day is a few days off I just pour a little bit of detergent on the opposite side of the stain and rub it in.  I then just let the clothes soak in a bathroom sink for at least a day or until the next laundry day.  (I have double sinks in both of our upstairs bathrooms so it isn’t a huge inconvenience to lose a sink.)


  • Let the really dirty or just dingy looking clothes soak overnight.  My washer doesn’t have a soak cycle, so I created my own.  I sort the laundry that has been treated or that needs to soak.  The night before I am going to do the laundry I fill my washer with the water, the laundry detergent, and Tide Stain Release liquid.  When the washer is almost filled to the water level I selected I add the clothes.  I close the lid for about a minute so that all of the clothes can get pulled into the water with the agitator then I open the lid to stop the cycle and let them sit overnight.  The next morning I just close the lid and let the cycle finish.


  • If I have a small load of mixed colors I add a Shout Color Catcher to the load.  I have found that I can successfully wash lights and darks together without the colors bleeding onto each other if I use the color catcher. 


  • I always double check the clothes before moving them to the dryer.  I always give everything a double look to make sure that it looks clean before I move it over.  If I am unsure if something came out, like a grease stain, I just let the item dry on a drying rack.  That way the heat doesn’t set the stain or make it harder to remove on the next round of laundry.


If all else fails here is a sure-fire stain removal tip from a friend of ours who has spent 30+ years in the dry cleaning business.  “Get a pair of scissors and cut out the stain.”  :)

How about you - do you feel like you are always fighting a stain war?  Do you have any stain fighting products that have worked wonders on stains?  Do you have any special techniques that work for removing stains?  Feel free to share any tips that work for you.

**The products that I mentioned are all products that I have purchased and use per the package directions a regular basis.  I have not received any sort of compensation for reviewing or using these products.**


Anonymous said...

Hey Ann
I love your blog, thank you so much for all the work you put into it. I have found that Oxiclean works wonders, a coupons for it lately :-)I have even had it take out the dredded pit stains from white shirts.
Happy Washing!

Miriam said...

I never got along very well with Spray'n'Wash. I like Shout for most stuff, and sometimes OxyClean. A bar of Fels Naptha and elbow grease can work wonders, too :)

Betina said...

Take wet clothes and put them in direct sun. Works GREAT on grass stains, and recently I found it works good on the dreaded tomato stains that I never seem to be able to get out. Also, boiling hot water poured over a berry stain will usually take the stain out.