Babies are great, but let’s face it; they get messy. With messes, tough stains can happen. If your baby has ever had an explosive bowel movement that escaped the diaper, you know what I’m saying. Parents will also face spit-up, food stains, and spilled milk. But, just because you have stuck-on stains, it doesn’t mean you have to throw out your baby’s new clothes.
Instead of tossing stained clothes, you can prolong their lives by treating those stubborn, colored spots. The first step is to read to care label on the article of clothing to make sure that it is washable.
The second step is to act fast. Get the stain while it’s fresh. Presoak the article of clothing in water to loosen the dirt away from the fabric, and rinse off the excess stain. Attack the stain from the back of the fabric, so it comes off the surface. If you scrub the front, you’ll be pushing dirt through the fabric.
For step three, try these simple tips to remove stubborn stains from your baby’s clothes.
7 Dawn Dish Soap
Besides washing pots and pans, Dawn dishwashing liquid is an excellent stain remover for clothes. Out of various dish soaps, it remains a preferred cleanser. It has a concentrated formula that effectively but gently removes stains, including grease. Although Dawn is a strong cleaner, it is not a harsh detergent. Spot treatments on clothes shouldn’t irritate sensitive skin.
Dawn detergent is biodegradable and contains no phosphates. This is why it is the wildlife cleaner of choice. It has helped clean up environmental disasters, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez crude oil spill.
As a laundry pre-treater, all you need is a drop. Add a small amount of original Dawn dishwashing detergent directly to the presoaked garment. Use a small brush and scrub the fabric gently to work out the stain. Scrubbing hard will damage the fabric. Rinse well until the water runs clear. Launder in warm water as usual. Just make sure that you don’t add Dawn directly to your washer or you may be mopping up soapsuds all day.
This soap works best in removing protein stains that are organic in nature. Spit-up, sweat, and milk will all come out with a little elbow grease. Hold on to Dawn as your child grows because it also gets out grass and mud stains.
Dawn has a number of uses. It makes great homemade bubbles, it can replace your pet shampoo, and of course, it cleans dishes and leaves them sparkling. Our favorite use, though, is as a stain remover because it really works.
6 Baking Soda
Baking soda is another pre-treatment powerhouse for light-colored clothing. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda can rid bad smells, make your clothes feel softer, and whiten your garments. However, do not use baking soda on bright-colored clothing because it can fade colors.
This inexpensive powder works well on stains. To pretreat your baby’s dirty clothes, mix a gallon of warm water with ¼ cup of baking soda. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
If the stain is oily, you have to treat the oil before you remove the color. Sprinkle baking soda to the fresh oil stain. Let the baking soda soak up the excess oil for about 30 minutes, and then brush off any crusted matter. (You can also use cornstarch or talcum powder to absorb oil.)
After you have pretreated the garment, wash as usual in warm water. Before you throw the item in the dryer, though, double check that the stain is, in fact, removed. Heat will usually set a stain permanently. So, do not dry with hot air or iron the clothing until you’re sure the spot is gone.
If the stain is still noticeable, soak the item for an additional 30 minutes, try another stain removing treatment, and wash again.
5 White Vinegar
White vinegar has many uses, from an ingredient to salad dressing to a household cleaning product. As a tool in your laundry arsenal, vinegar is a natural cleaner that breaks down tough stains.
If you’re dealing with a fabric that is 100% cotton or polyester, you can use white vinegar to presoak an article of clothing. Simply apply vinegar directly to the dirty spot on the garment. Vinegar will loosen the dirt, and dissolve the color in the stain. Let the item sit for 30 minutes, and then wash according to the care label on the garment.
Vinegar is also a great color booster. Even if there is no color stain, presoaking your clothing in vinegar will boost dull colors. Pretreating before the wash cycle will also prevent dyes in colorful clothing from bleeding.
4 Salt and Lemon Juice
When laundering clothes for a baby, it’s best to use all-natural cleaners. We don’t want to irritate their sensitive skins with harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia.
Baking soda and vinegar are excellent cleaning agents, just like their all-natural cousins salt and lemon juice. This combination is an excellent cleaning and deodorizing alternative for laundry; here’s why.
The acidity of a lemon is a mild bleaching agent. The acid also breaks down dirt. Salt is a gentle abrasive. In combination, they offer awesome cleaning power. They are generally inexpensive, they keep dirty items smelling fresh, and they’re safe to use on delicate fabrics.
Cut a lemon in half, and squeeze some juice on the stain. Sprinkle salt over the same area. Gently rub the fabric together or use a toothbrush to scrub the lemon juice and salt into the spot. Rinse the garment with cool water, and then reapply lemon juice to the spot. Hang in the sun until dry. Lemon juice and the sun will naturally bleach the stain out of the fabric.
Once the article of clothing is dry, you will need to launder as usual. The lemon will make the fabric a little stiff, but, at least, the stain will be gone.
3 Hydrogen Peroxide
You may know hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant. It is also a safe alternative to chlorine bleach. Used as a laundry booster, hydrogen peroxide can whiten and revitalize dingy clothing.
As usual, soak the stain in cold water.You can also use an ice cube to wet the spot. Squeeze out the water, and then soak the garment in a cup of hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Rinse again with cool water, and then wash as directed by the manufacturer.
After rinsing, air-dry if it’s a delicate fabric. This will prevent a persistent stain from setting in. It will also protect the fabric from further damage.
2 Boiling Water
The first step in removing a fresh stain from a washable fabric is to rinse it in water. If you treat stains right away, they shouldn’t set it. Usually, you rinse in cold water but juice or fruit stains will wash out with plain, boiling water.
Use a pot on the stove or a kettle to some boil water. Place the garment on top of a ceramic bowl or around a strainer. The front of the stain should face down. Slowly and carefully, pour boiling water directly on the back of the fresh stain. The color should disappear on contact.
The garment will be too hot to touch immediately. Turn on the tap, and run tepid water over the garment to cool it down. After a good rinse, the item is ready for a regular wash.
1 Bar of Ivory Soap
Do you have a sliver of ivory soap left in the shower? Don’t throw it out. Use it as a spot treatment for laundry. Since this bar of soap is 99.44% pure, it won’t irritate sensitive skin.
Slice thin layers from the bar of Ivory soap with a knife. You can also shave thin slices with a cheese grater. After rinsing the stain under cold water, gently rub a sliver of the soap into the back of the spot. Use a toothbrush or a finger. You can also hand-wash the item by scrubbing the garment together with its own fabric. Don’t scrub too harshly because it will damage delicate fabric.
Rinse the garment in cool water, and then throw it into the washing machine with similar colors. Ivory soap is tough on stains but gentle on a baby’s skin, and easy on your wallet.
If these stain removers are effective and good enough for a baby, perhaps you should switch your laundry routine and use these tips every day.