Mothering for me has been a crash course in stain management.
I definitely underappreciated the relative stainlessness of my earlier adulthood. I expected certain obvious stain culprits – ketchup, blueberries, bodily fluids. But others took be by surprise: bananas, watermelon, smashed peas. And then there was that time a green crayon found its way into the dryer…
All that to say, I’ve spent a lot of time on this. And the best way I’ve found to eliminate stains is with pure Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds directly on the stain.
The earlier you can get it on, and the longer you can let it sit, the better the results. But this has even worked on set-in stains that I’ve been slow to discover.
Check it out in this video.
The spray bottle method
Stains can also be pre-treated with a concentrated dilution of half Sal Suds and half water in a spray bottle. The spray bottle method is especially handy when kids help with laundry or do their own. Spray the stain thoroughly, as soon as you notice it. If the stain is very fresh, spray it and give it a quick hand scrub and rinse it before it has a chance to set. Then spray again and launder soon.
If it’s already dried, spray it thoroughly and let that soak in for 10-20 minutes before washing. For super set, dark stains, spray and then soak in water for 30-60 minutes before adding it to the wash cycle. Check the stain before putting the garment in the dryer, which would set residual stains. If the stain remains, re-apply the stain treatment, soak, and wash again.
Because early action is best, I keep Sal Suds in my closet, so that I can treat a stain as soon as I see it, which is often as I’m changing out of my clothes. My emphasis with my kids on quick stain treatment also explains why it’s common in my house to find half-dressed kids emerging from my laundry room: “Mom said spray that stain right away, so that’s what I did!” You couldn’t have changed in your room first??
To see how I do laundry, see my post, “Green Laundry Care with Dr. Bronner’s.”