Try these no-fail laundry techniques and homemade stain solutions next time the kids show up with a splattered sweatshirt.
Or dress. Or jeans.
First, be patient. Zapping a drip, drop, or splat without zapping the fabric itself requires a gentle touch and the patience to repeat a treatment until the blight is lifted.
Try these techniques then wash the garment as usual.
These stain busters can save you time and money when it comes to getting your favorite stained clothes clean.
Ammonia is one of the best back-to-the-basics clothing stain removers.
A caveat first: don't mix ammonia with bleach or other cleaners. The fumes that result are toxic.
Use ammonia to get out blood stains, grease stains, and oil-based paint stains. Combine equal amount of household ammonia and turpentine, and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for at least eight hours before washing the garment separately from other clothes.
An enzyme detergent helps remove protein-based stains, such as blood and chocolate, in fabrics.
About half of liquid detergents and a quarter of powder detergents now contain enzymes to break down stains that are otherwise difficult to remove.
Add one teaspoon of a detergent that contains enzymes to one cup of water.
Add one teaspoon of commercial dish-washing liquid to one cup of water. This solution works wonders on greasy stains in much the same way dish-washing liquid removes greasy stains from dishes.
It causes the stain to separate from the surface it is attached to.
Three-percent, undiluted hydrogen peroxide is a great alternative to bleach at a fraction of the price. It's also safe for the environment.
It simply breaks down into water and oxygen, while working hard as an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-mold and anti-mildew cleaner. And it's especially strong at removing tough blood stains.
Use three percent, undiluted hydrogen peroxide, dabbing or pouring it directly on the stain. Use a toothbrush to scrub it into the fabric and stain.
Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before throwing
into the washer.
This often-overlooked bar laundry soap that has been around for more than a century is highly effective on stubborn, oily stains, including lipstick, perspiration, chocolate and baby formula.
Shave thin slices from a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. Add one part of shavings to ten parts of water. Work into a paste and apply directly onto stained area. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Launder as usual.
WD-40, as you probably know, is most at home in garage-related jobs. Since its formulation as a water- and corrosion-preventer in the aerospace industry in 1953, WD-40 has been found to have many household uses as well.
These include as a grease, crayon, or lipstick stain remover. It works on virtually any fabric with the exception of silk. Use it full-strength, undiluted.
After treating stains, always wash clothes in the hottest water safe for the fabric, using chlorine bleach or color-safe bleach, depending on the label's instructions.
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About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.