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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stain Fighting

Many a beautiful garment has been marred by a stubborn stain- we moms know that better than anyone else! To avoid ruining clothes and needing to buy new, keep in mind these few tips.

Stain Fighting

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Ben Franklin must have written that adage with stains in mind.
Avoiding Stains
  • Bibs and Smocks. When Eating messy foods like tomato sauce, chocolate, beets, and wine, put on a bib or a smock, or tuck a napkin into your collar.
  • Consider Underwear or Diapers. Remember that stains don't confine themselves to the areas typically covered in bibs. Sleeves and pants stain as well! Consider stripping the kid (or even yourself if its just you at home) down to underwear or diaper; skin is more forgiving with stains than clothes.
  • Designate Paint Clothes. When stripping isn't an option, set aside one outfit (previously damaged is better) to use whenever doing messy things, like eating staining foods, or painting.
  • Be Careful. Easier said than done, but deserved a mention anyhow.

Cheap Stain Removers

Hydrogen Peroxide. Removes blood from clothing. Pour a bit on to dirtied clothes; it will start bubbling on all the blood. After 10 minutes, stick on a cold cycle in the wash.
Baking Soda. Adding baking soda to your wash will help brighten your whites. 
Lemon Juice/Vinegar. Saturate stains in either of these, then wash in your machine.
Rubbing Alcohol. Saturate or blot ink stains with rubbing alcohol and then wash.
Nail Polish Remover. This will remove pen ink stains
Borax/Water Paste. A paste made from these two and rubbed on to your clothes before washing in the machine will do wonders for your stains. 
Dish Soap. Rub into oil stains before washing.
Bleach. Use only on white, natural fabrics, and make sure to wear your paint clothes, as bleach will stain the clothes you're wearing if it splashes.
Line Drying in Sun. I've put out stained cloth diapers in the sun; by the time they were dry, they were pure white again. Pouring lemon juice on the stain before letting dry will boost the sun's stain removal power. 
Permanent Black Marker. On black outfits, if all else fails, color on the light colored stain with a permanent black marker. It'll hide the stain completely.
Homemade Spray and Wash. Recipe coming Friday.

Stain Removal Tips

Hot Water- Wash oil and fruit juice based stains in hot washes. Alternatively, pour boiling water on them into a wash basin so you don't need to do a partial load on hot. 
Cold Water- Protein based stains need to be washed on cold, as hot water sets these stains.
Line Dry- Once your clothes go in the dryer, your stain will be set forever and you can kiss those clothes good bye. Always line dry your clothes if you suspect that they might have any stains, so you'll be able to treat those stains in the future.

How do you fight stains frugally?
This is part of the Cutting Clothing Costs series.
Part 1- Stain Fighting
Part 2- Launder Correctly to Save Your Wardrobe
Part 3- Sew to Save Your Clothes
Part 4- Forget Ironing (Coming soon!)



Linking up to Thrifty Tip Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, and Works for Me Wednesdays.

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