Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stain Fighting Arsenal

A few years ago I got a bachelors degree in Clothing and Textiles at BYU in Utah. One of the things we studied was fabric and it's characteristics. In the course of study I learned a lot about stain removal, and I can get almost any stain out. Here are my weapons.

Today I had a red Kool-aid incident. I was dumping a cup half full of Kool-Aid that one of the kids left out.  It went right into an ice cream scoop laying in the sink and the Kool-Aid arced up and came right back out of the sink and on to my new light blue blouse. What are the chances?? I changed my blouse and immediately headed to the laundry room. Awesome Orange to the rescue! This was recommended by a local drycleaner, and I get it at the dollar store!

Ring around the collar (or cuffs)? Fels-Naptha is one of the un-sung heroes of the stain fighting world. I wet the collar and soap and rub it until it is lathered up. Then I rub the collar against itself and toss it in the washer. I also use it on a lot of "mystery" stains. It works like magic.

Biz is another miracle worker. Tossing it in with a load of laundry doesn't seem to do much, it needs soaking time to do it's job. Do you have some baby clothes with formula stains? Soak over night in some Biz and you will be amazed! It works great on protein stains.
Blood stains come right out with Hydrogen-peroxide. I have even gotten old stains out, but it works best if used right away. I rinse the article in cold water and then pour on the Hydrogen-peroxide. It bubbles up as it eats the blood. Let it soak for a bit, re-apply if it doesn't get the stain completely out. I used this on my couch (one of the kids with a bloody nose...). The stain completely disappeared.

Soilove is an an amazing, multi-purpose cleaner. I use it to get out grease stains, grass stains and any time my other tricks haven't worked. I also use it in my mop water (just a tiny bit is all you need). It also works for cleaning jewelry and about anything else you can think of.

The other item in the picture above is a bleach pen. Sometimes there is a stain on something white, but you really don't want to bleach the whole item. A bleach pen works great for spot treatment (test in an inconspicuous place first!).

Have you ever had a stain from fruit or berries on your clothes? Boil some water, lay your stained item over a colander in the sink, hold the boiling water about a foot above, and pour over the stain. You will be able to watch the stain disappear before your eyes.

If you have an item to wash, but you are afraid the colors might run (red is the most unstable dye color) toss a "Color catcher" sheet in the wash with your load. These sheets can be found near all the other laundry products, and I have had really good luck with them.

Here are some general stain removal rules.
*Work on the stain immediately. Some stains become set with time and much harder to remove.
*If you are working on a stain DO NOT put your stained article in the dryer until you know the stain is gone (don't iron over a stain either). Heat sets some stains and makes them permanent.
*Give your stain removing product some time to work. Soaking and time are the simple answer to many stains.
*If one method doesn't work, rinse and try another method - one of these things will work on almost any stain. Now, go have some fun with your laundry!  :D


  1. Great advice! We must've had the same teacher! LOL!

    I use simple green for oily/greasy stains. It works, too! It's a de-greaser. just dab or spray it on.

  2. Thanks for some new products to try. I've never heard of Soilove, and have never tried Awesome Orange or Fels naptha.

    One "cleaning solution" that you didn't mention is rubbing alcohol. It works great on ink, some water colors and urine stains. The trick is to use it before ever touching the stain with water. (The ink will run, and you'll think everything is ruined. If you wish, treat again and wash item as usual.)

    Other items that are staples in my laundry room (besides the ones you've mentioned) are Murphy's original oil soap, Dawn dish detergent, and borax.

    (I was a home ec (ed) major, but didn't get to finish my last 3 semesters. sigh)


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