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Tackle Laundry Day Like a Pro: Stain Removal Hacks

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Tackle Laundry Day Like a Pro: Stain Removal Hacks

Introduction

Laundry day can be a dreaded chore, especially when you discover tough stains on your clothes. As a busy professional trying to keep my wardrobe looking fresh, I’ve picked up some handy stain removal tricks over the years. Keep reading as I share my best laundry hacks for tackling stains and keeping clothes looking like new.

Assess the Stain

The first step is to inspect the stain and identify what caused it. This will determine the best removal method. Here are some common stain culprits:

  • Food stains like wine, coffee, ketchup, grease, etc. Treat with dish soap, baking soda, vinegar or enzymatic cleaners.

  • Sweat and body oils – Pre-treat with laundry detergent or bleach alternative before washing.

  • Ink – Hairspray, rubbing alcohol or lemon juice can help lift ink stains.

  • Mud and dirt – Let mud dry fully before brushing off excess. Pre-treat with detergent before washing.

  • Blood – Rinse with cold water immediately. Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda make an effective stain remover.

  • Grass – Pre-treat grass stains with laundry detergent or soap before washing.

  • Lipstick and makeup – Gently dab with petroleum jelly before washing. Rubbing alcohol also helps remove makeup stains.

Pre-Treat the Stain

Once you’ve identified the type of stain, it’s time to pre-treat it before washing. Here are some of my go-to stain fighting ingredients:

Dish Soap

Dish soap like Dawn is highly effective at breaking up oil-based stains from food, makeup, lotions, etc. Apply a few drops directly on the stain and let sit 5-10 minutes before washing. The surfactants in dish soap help lift grease and oils.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is mildly alkaline so it helps remove stains from acids like wine, tomatoes, coffee, and sweat. Make a paste with water and spread onto the stain for 15-30 minutes before washing. It’s also great for deodorizing smelly clothes!

White Vinegar

The high acidity of white vinegar helps dissolve residue from alkaline stains like sweat, urine, and coffee. Use it diluted with a bit of water and let sit on the stain for 30 minutes before washing. It’s also ideal for removing musty smells.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a magical stain remover for fresh blood stains. Pour it directly on the stain and let bubble for 5 minutes before rinsing and washing. It works by breaking blood proteins down into smaller particles.

Club Soda

Keep club soda on hand for lifting wine, coffee, juice or grease stains immediately. The carbonation provides some stain-fighting power. Pour it on fresh stains before rinsing and washing as usual.

Laundry Tricks for Stubborn Stains

For really stubborn, set-in stains, these extra laundry tricks can help get clothes looking fresh again:

Meat Tenderizer

The enzymes in unflavored meat tenderizer help break down protein-based stains like blood, sweat, grass or baby formula. Make a paste with a bit of water, apply to the stain for 30 minutes, then wash.

Oxygen Bleach

For tough set-in stains, an oxygen bleach like OxiClean can be a lifesaver. Make a paste with the powder and water and apply to the stain for 8 hours or overnight before washing. It uses the power of oxygen to lift stains.

Sunlight

Sometimes the power of the sun is the best stain remover! For light-colored fabrics, lay or hang them in direct sunlight to help lift stains like tomato sauce, sweat, wine or coffee. The UV rays have natural bleaching power.

Borax

Borax has been used for generations as a laundry booster. For extra stain-fighting power, add 1⁄2 cup borax along with detergent to tackle set-in stains on collars, cuffs and hems before washing. It helps dissolve residue.

Conclusion

With a few key ingredients on hand, you can win the battle against laundry stains. Identify the stain, pre-treat it, and use a targeted stain remover before washing. For tougher set-in stains, break out the big guns like borax, oxygen bleach or sunlight. Implement these stain-busting hacks, and you can tackle laundry day like a pro!

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