Ever since I posted about my white couches, my email has been flooded with people asking for my laundry tips. So, I’ll just post them for you all!
In an effort to live frugally, and because I have seven (nearly eight) kids to clothe, I have to be as economical as I can be. I am forever having stains to deal with from my kids, my husband works as a paramedic and often comes home with blood on his clothing, and with seven babies with acid reflux, spit up has just been a part of my life for the past 15 years.
Over the past 20 years, I have become a master at stains, but I will say that I have a huge bag of tricks and a variety of products that all come in handy at one time or another. I use all of these products at times, and sometimes I know it must be a combination of the different ones together that finally get the stain out.
To some extent, being a laundry ninja is a matter of concocting your own special potions as you move from one thing to another waiting to see what works. And I cannot stress enough, it is a matter of being patient!
But before I get ahead of myself, here are my 12 best tips to conquer laundry stains.
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1. First, you really must be patient
Many stains take time, sometimes a lot of time to come out. In fact, there was one time that a pair of pants took several months to come clean! I didn’t really mean to soak them for a couple of months, but it just so happened that I did, which is how I learned that sometimes it takes a loooooooooong time for stains to come out.
2. Catch the stain as soon as possible
The less time a stain has to set in, the better. Even just putting some water on a stain to keep it moist is more helpful than doing nothing.
3. Invest in some good supplies
I have all of these, and they are all things I couldn’t live without. Oftentimes I move from one product to the next, allowing the products to become cumulative and work together. If you really want to conquer laundry stains, you will want to get all of these products
4. I often start with the Oxi Clean gel first
I really think this gives the stain a good boost. If you worry about it affecting the color, always test a small spot first, but I have yet to have a problem with any of these products ruining anything.
5. After the Oxi Clean gel, I move to an Oxi Clean soak
Use a small tub or bucket. Throw in a healthy scoop or two of the Oxi powder depending on the severity of the stain, and begin covering it with HOT water. You only want enough water as you need to cover the stain. The goal here is for the Oxi soak to be as concentrated as possible. Agitate the water to be certain that the powder is dissolved.
If your stained item is something that shouldn’t be in hot water, only use hot water for as long as needed to dissolve the powder crystals, then you can switch to cold water. Or, just wait for the water to cool down to avoid diluting the solution more than is necessary. You really only need to soak the part with the stain.
If you are only treating the stained portion, you will need less water and therefore have a more concentrated solution.
6. Remember about the patience?
This is where the patience comes in. Check on your stained item after a few hours just to see if it is even budging. Be sure to agitate the water just to bring it back to life I like to say.
If after five or six hours you see no improvement, put in another scoop of the Oxi powder to make your solution more concentrated. Remember to agitate your water every few hours or so.
7. Check your progress
Is the stain becoming lighter at all? If so, just give it some more time. Maybe another 12 hours or so. If you see little to no improvement, move on to another stain remover, like this one.
Smear it around on the stain, and put it back in the Oxi Clean soak after allowing the stain remover to sit on the stain for 10 minutes out of the water.
Agitating the water is still an important part.
8. Continue with this same process
Continue with this same process, perhaps adding a new product every 24 hours or so and immersing back in the Oxi soak. Agitate the water a few times a day, and just be patient. At times I will have something soak for up to two weeks before it will come out.
9. Dealing with blood?
Hydrogen peroxide is a great place to start. Take whatever has blood on it and pour on some hydrogen peroxide when the item is dry. You will see it start to bubble up on the stain. Leave it for an hour or so. If needed, make your Oxi soak as before and continue through the pervious steps as needed. Oftentimes the hydrogen peroxide will take care of the stain all on its own.
10. Use the sun
Sometimes I can get a stain most of the way out after a couple of weeks, and then I will set it out in the sun to dry and the sun will remove the stain the rest of the way. Even if it is wintertime and you are only setting it in the sun through a window, this can still help.
The sun is awesome at removing stains.
11. Regular chlorine bleach is a good option
If you have something that you can use chlorine bleach on, this can still be a great option rather than going the Oxi clean soak route. If your life is like mine, however, the worst stains are never on anything white!
12. When it comes to being patient, try putting the stained clothing with various stain removers in it inside a plastic bag
This is part of what I discovered by accident in the first point. If you are to the point of throwing something out because you have given up, take the stained item that will already be wet from soaking in various laundry solutions and put it in a plastic bag…the kind you get at a store like Walgreens. Tie it up and walk away. Make sure it can get some air so it can’t be airtight, but tie it and just forget about it. Check on it every few days.
Really, you can leave it for as long as you want. You’re just going to throw it out anyway, and you’ve already paid for all the laundry products to be soaked up into it. Just leave it for awhile and see what happens. You never know!
Do you want to be a master of laundry stains? There really is something so empowering about knowing that you can buy white couches, stained clothing for your kids, or something else that you can find along the way because you’re not scared of a stain. When you’ve got a bag of tricks to conquer laundry stains, you’ve got nothing to fear!