August 28, 2006

Stain Removal 101

I have not quite managed to wrestle myself out of the college mentality of letting the laundry pile up until you're out of clean underwear (and trust me ... I have a lot of underwear). My stains sit unattended for days sometimes. Much the way Tammi was noting hers do. I, however, have a much cheaper laundry solution ...

1) ALWAYS treat a stain from the "wrong" side. NEVER treat the stain on the side of the clothing where you got it (generally the outside on the "right" side of the fabric). Scrubbing from the stain side just pushes the stain farther into the fibers ... this is how you end up with the stain almost gone, but not quite.

2) Use ice. No joke - plain, simple, right out of the freezer ice cubes. I have used this technique to remove blue frosting and blood from light colored clothing. I am confident that it will work on most any stain that is water soluble. You may be a little screwed on grease or oil with this technique - I haven't tried it - but there are other simple solutions for those as well. In order to treat stains with ice, use the following steps:

-- run two ice cubes from your freezer under water, just to get them wet & better prepped to melt

-- place one ice cube flat on top of the stain (on the "right" side) using the largest flat surface the piece of ice has

-- gather up the fabric surrounding the stain and trap the previously placed ice cube in a little pocket so that the "wrong" side of the stain is now exposed

-- using circular motions, "scrub" out the stain with a corner or edge of the second ice cube. The first ice cube will provide a hard flat surface for you to scrub against. The ice will melt as you scrub so use a new corner/edge when one goes dull. Just keep going until the stain is gone.

A word of caution though - good lighting is important for this stain removal technique because stains often get harder to see as they lighten and the fabric darkens from being wet.

Over the years, using a variety of techniques, I've managed to get out almost every stain I've come across - including auto grease and gum. But once you put them in the dryer, you're almost assuredly screwed.

This concludes today's lesson in stain removal. Happy laundering!

Posted by Princess Cat at August 28, 2006 11:33 AM @ 11:33 AM in Random Much? // Permalink | TrackBack

I too swear by the ice. It's great for right away!!!

Posted by: Tammi at August 28, 2006 11:06 AM

Any mom can attest, blue frosting is usually a death sentence for clothes. I let my frosting stain sit for a good three days and it came right out with the ice.

Posted by: Princess Cat at August 28, 2006 11:12 AM

I'll have to try that. My boss swears by some commercial product, I think it's Shout in stick form. She said it's great because you don't have to wash it right away like the Shout spray. You just rub the stick stuff on, then you can throw it in the hamper for a week, but whenever you do get it in the wash it comes right out. She's got two kids and she says it has worked on everything.

Posted by: Laurie at August 28, 2006 11:20 AM

it's shout gel. It comes in a bottle with a brush top and it's awesome. You can brush the goo on right away or a week later, and then either way you can just let it sit. Works great, too. I haven't yet met a stain it didn't get out.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 28, 2006 12:58 PM

CalTechGirl - I tried the shout gel on the blue frosting before I tried anything else. I even let it sit to give it more time to work ... to no avail. The ice got the stain right out. I swear by it!

Posted by: Princess Cat at August 28, 2006 01:01 PM

hmmm... I don't suppose I've ever done blue frosting. But it does get out blue gatorade... Usually I throw it in the wash before assessing how well it worked, and then check before drying.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 28, 2006 04:57 PM

Hmm.... so you're saying you like ice in your underwear? ;)

Posted by: Ogre at September 1, 2006 11:17 AM