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Tackle Laundry Like a Pro: Removing Stubborn Stains

March 5, 2024

Tackle Laundry Like a Pro: Removing Stubborn Stains

Laundry can be a tedious chore, especially when dealing with tough stains. As a busy professional trying to juggle work, family, and home responsibilities, I know how frustrating it can be to have clothes ruined by stains. However, with the right techniques and products, even the most stubborn stains can be tackled. Here are my tips for removing all kinds of stains and keeping clothes looking their best.

Identifying Different Types of Stains

The first step is identifying what kind of stain it is. This will determine the best removal method. Here are some common stain types:

Oily Stains

Oily stains like grease, oil, or lipstick need a degreasing agent. Dish soap or an oven cleaner can help break down the oil.

Protein Stains

Blood, eggs, or perspiration are protein stains. Enzyme detergent helps digest the protein. Meat tenderizer also works.

Plant Stains

Stains from plants like grass, berries, or leaves are tannin stains. Bleach helps remove the color while hydrogen peroxide bubbles out the stain.

Dye Stains

Spills from ink, cosmetics, or food coloring leave a dye stain. Use a color remover or rubbing alcohol to extract the pigment.

Pre-Treating Stains

Once you’ve identified the type of stain, pre-treat it before washing. Here are some pre-treatments I rely on:

  • Dish soap – For oily stains, apply dish soap directly and let sit 30 minutes before washing. The surfactants in dish soap are great degreasers.

  • Oxygen bleach spray – This is excellent for plant-based stains. Mist generously and allow to sit for up to 8 hours before washing.

  • Enzyme spray – Ideal for protein stains. Apply liberally and let sit for 30-60 minutes before washing. The enzymes break down proteins.

  • Laundry booster sticks – These compact sticks are pre-loaded with concentrated detergent and can be directly rubbed onto stains for an instant boost of cleaning power. I keep them in my purse for on-the-go touch ups!

Washing Stain-Prone Items

For clothes that are prone to stains, I take a few extra precautions when washing:

  • Wash in cold water to avoid setting in stains with heat
  • Use an oxygen-based detergent which is stronger than regular detergent
  • Add borax or washing soda which help loosen stains
  • For whites, use chlorine bleach which removes stains and disinfects
  • Air dry instead of machine drying so stains don’t set in with heat

I also try to treat new stains as quickly as possible – the longer they sit, the harder they are to remove!

Dealing with Set-In Stains

Sometimes stains can become set-in and need extra measures to remove them. Here are my go-to methods for tackling them:

Soak in Oxygen Bleach

For plant-based set-in stains, soak the item in a bucket of cool water mixed with oxygen bleach powder. Let it sit anywhere from 4-8 hours checking periodically until the stain fades.

Scrub with Baking Soda

Make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub it into the stain using an old toothbrush. Let sit for 15 minutes before washing. The abrasive baking soda helps lift staining.

Boil White Clothes

For dingy whites, boil them in a pot of water on the stove with detergent and borax or washing soda. This intense heat helps release set-in stains.

Use Color-Safe Bleach

For colors that can’t be chlorine bleached, use an oxygen-based color-safe bleach instead. Check the garment tag and test on an inconspicuous area first.

Stain Removal Products I Recommend

Having the right stain fighters on hand makes treating laundry stains so much easier! Here are some products I always keep stocked up:

  • OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover – This oxygen bleach powder is safe on colors and great for soaking or adding to the wash cycle.

  • Carbona Color Run Remover – Excellent at removing loose dye stains without fading colors.

  • Zout Laundry Stain Remover – This enzymatic spray is specially designed for food and protein stains.

  • Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover – This stuff works miracles on grease, oil, make-up, or ink stains. A long-time favorite!

  • Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar – For tough set-in stains, this laundry bar contains stain fighters and cleaning boosters that scrub out stains.

Don’t Give Up!

With the right products and techniques, you can get out even the toughest laundry stains. It may take repeated treatments, but eventually stains will lift. Be patient and keep trying – your clothes will look like new again in no time. Tackling laundry stains takes some work, but it’s worth it not to have to throw clothes away. You’ve got this!

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