You will want to spot test all of the suggested stain remedies in this section, as their effectiveness will vary with the type of clothing. As the tips have been gathered from Moms across the country, we can't vouch that each one will be foolproof for you. So be sure to test a small area of fabric first! You might even want to print out and post the stain treatment list right on the wall next to your washing machine for quick reference.
Washing new clothes
Dealing with inevitable stains
Mom tip: "I use tons of baking soda on stains, to the point that I buy it in the 64-ounce size. I make it into a paste with water, apply it directly to stains, and then put the clothing through wash. It works wonders. It's cheap and goes a long, long way."
-- Angela Stevens, mom of four.
Mom tip: "My secret for getting stains out of kids' clothes is a great degreaser that you can find at any automotive department (I use Castrol super clean). The degreasers literally liquefy grease. I spray it on, throw the clothing in the wash, and it doesn't affect the fabric."
-- Melissa Fortenbery, mom of two.
Keep a stain remover stick:
Alcohol: Soak in cool water, then wash in warm, sudsy water.
Blood: Soak in cold water and then rub with soap until stain almost disappears, then wash.
Chocolate or grape juice: Pre-treat it with an enzyme product.
Coffee/tea: Sponge the stain with cool water.
Cosmetics: Use a dry cleaning solvent.
Crayons: Place the fabric on an ironing board, then cover the stain with waxed paper (waxed side down). Place a wet rag on top of the paper and iron on high heat.
Diapers (cloth): Empty any excess matter into the toilet and flush to rinse the diaper.
Dirt, mud and grease: Rub on carpet cleaner before washing.
Food coloring stains: Rub with toothpaste and rinse in cold water.
Formula and spit-up: Keep a spray bottle of water mixed with baking soda handy to prevent spit up from setting on clothing.
Grass: Rub with a solution of one part rubbing alcohol to two parts water on colorfast material.
Gum: Put clothing in the freezer or freeze the spot with an ice cube.
Juice: Rub the stain with cold water then soak in a quart of warm water with a tablespoon of ammonia and half a teaspoon of liquid detergent.
Juice, ketchup and drool: Apply baking soda to the spot.
Ink: Loosen stain with hairspray.
Ink (ballpoint): Apply lukewarm glycerin, blot, and flush with water.
Milk: Sprinkle on unflavored meat tenderizer, which breaks down the proteins, and rinse in cold water.
Nail polish: Sponge the stain with acetone-based nail polish remover and let it dry.
Paint: Flush latex paint with warm water.
Perspiration: Pre-treat by rubbing the area with baking soda.
Rust: Soak fabric in salt and lemon juice.
Salad dressing and oil-based sauces: Apply cornstarch to the spot to absorb grease.
Urine: Pre-soak clothing in one quart of warm water, half a teaspoon of mild liquid detergent, and one tablespoon of ammonia.
Wine: Soak a red wine stain with white wine and rinse with cool water.
Yellow stains: Spray oven cleaner on the spot and let it dry. Take care not to get any on your skin.
Yellowed white cottons or linens: Wash in hot water and twice as much detergent. Stop the cycle 15 minutes in and soak the clothing for 15 minutes. Start again and repeat the cycle.
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