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Laundry tips for getting rid of the grossest stains

Even if you find laundry day remotely therapeutic, those nasty, unexpected stains can make cleaning your family’s clothing and linens a drag. To keep you from throwing out those stained items (we know tossing them is easier than cleaning them!), we’ve got some easy stain-removing solutions for the toughest marks. From tenacious food stains to disgusting blood, vomit and urine stains, we’ve got you covered.

Chocolate stains

The key to removing chocolate stains is to be prepared to act fast when a dessert accident occurs. Allow any chocolate clumps to harden, and then scrape them off with the edge of a spoon. Apply a stain remover product or Dawn dish soap to the stained area and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes. Wash in cold water then hang up to dry to see if the stain has been removed. If the stain is still visible, repeat the above. Once the stain is gone, you can dry according to the fabric’s instructions.

Red wine stains

To remove a red wine stain, blot the stain with a paper towel to remove excess wine. Combine one teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one cup of hydrogen peroxide. Dip a clean sponge in the mixture and blot the wine stain. Rinse with cold water and repeat until stain disappears. Wash as usual.

Candle wax stains

When blowing out a candle, you can easily blow melted wax onto table linens or onto clothing. To remove wax, allow it to harden. You can speed the hardening process up by placing the material in the freezer or rub gently with ice cubes. Use a butter knife to scrape off hardened wax. Preheat iron to the lowest non-steam setting. Place a plain brown paper bag or brown craft paper under the stained fabric. Place another paper bag or craft paper over the top of the stain. Move the iron in circular motions over the stained area until you see a dark spot, which is the wax adhering to the paper. Replace the paper and iron again. Repeat as necessary until the stain disappears, and then launder as directed.

Period blood stains

When period blood leaks onto your undies or through to your clothing, treat the stains as soon as possible. Use a paper towel to blot excess blood from the clothing, taking care to not scrub the blood into the fabric. Run cold water over the stain to remove excess blood from the fibers. Mix one cup of salt with two quarts of cool water in a large bowl or in the sink. Place clothing in the mixture and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

Vomit stains and odor

The first step to successfully removing vomit stains and the offending odor is to immediately remove the solids and excess liquid. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and scrape vomit into a plastic bag. Tie up the bag and put it in the outside trash can. Rinse clothing or linens with cold water then generously apply an enzymatic cleaner to the vomit stained area. Let fabric sit with cleaner for an hour or more if the fabric is thick or multi-layered. Rinse fabric with cold water, and then apply a stain remover if the stain is still present. Follow directions on the stain remover. Once the stain is gone, launder as usual.

Urine stains and odor

Did your kiddo or pet pee on your attire, bed, furniture or carpet and you don’t have any urine-specific cleaning products? Urine stains and odor are notoriously difficult to remove, but a few ingredients you already have on hand will do the trick. In a bowl, stir together 1-1/4 cups of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Let any foam that forms subside, and then transfer mixture to a spray bottle. Spray very liberally on stains and let sit for at least an hour. Rinse clothing or linens with cold water and launder as usual. If urine was on your mattress, furniture or carpet, you may need to repeat. Use a clean towel to blot with water, and then fan or air dry.

Skid mark stains and odor

Before you give up on ever having clean underwear in your home, make sure you’re teaching your kids and reminding your mate how to properly wipe so they don’t soil their underpants. Until then, run the outside of the underwear under cold water to force the staining particles out of the underwear instead of back through the fabric. Apply an enzymatic cleaner and follow the directions on the product label. Launder as usual.

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