Sunday, August 19, 2007

I would wave a white flag, if only...

I give up. I surrender. I would wave a white flag, but I'm pretty sure the flag would have some kind of un-cleanable, permanent stain. Please please please tell me what I am doing wrong.

Everytime I fold laundry, I have several piles. One for each family member, one for bath towels, one for kitchen towels and one for the clothes that ARE NOT CLEAN! I mean, they are clean, technically, because they have been washed, but they have stains. This pile gets larger and larger and I'm in search of a magic solution. I want to fill up my laundry tub with hot water, add the magic solution and all the stained clothes. I'll let the potion do its thing and then pull out my delightfully clean clothes.

Here is a list of what has not worked (it's possible that these things do work, but I am using them wrong):

  • Shout, Spray 'n' wash, Zout - rubbed into stains then thrown in the wash
  • Shout Ultra for set-in stains - rubbed into stains, let sit for several days then thrown in the wash
  • Oxy Clean Powder used as a pre-soak and as a laundry booster
  • Bleach added to the wash (for whites and lights)
  • Clorox Bleach for unbleachables added to the wash
  • Liquid detergent with non-chlorine bleach
  • Pretreat with liquid detergent
  • Line dry in the sun

These are not day-glo stains, either. Just regular kids stuff - tomato sauce, chocolate, *washable*-ha! (hello? blue? NOT washable) markers and paint, popsicles, juice.

At soccer the other night I took off Maggie's sundress and let her run around in her (full) diaper when she was offered a popsicle. The other soccer moms did not approve, I could tell, but what was I supposed to do? I knew the dress would never be clean again if I didn't take immediate action.



JMC said...

Can't help you with the laundry issues. I have the same problems. But... What the hell were they disapproving of? A toddler in a diaper?? Please. If that offends their sensibilities, might I suggest next time laying that kid right up on a bleacher seat next to one of those judgmental soccer moms and changing her full diaper (Macy's, I mean, not the mom's)?

Laural Dawn said...

If you answer that question please let me know.
I have to admit that I buy Matt lots of camouflage pants because they hide the dirt and stains. I also tend to get darker shirts. And, I totally strip him when possible if we're going to eat messy food.
AND, here's my genius thing lately. He keeps asking for popsicles and they stain everything - so I let him eat popsicles in the bathtub. He loves that he can make the water purple or pink or orange.
Other than that - I've got nothing. Though my sister swares my immediately treating stains with the Tide To Go pen.

Tessie said...

I honestly think that, apart from Extreme Measures, a lot of stains just don't come out. We're just CONDITIONED to think they will by commercials and Oprah.

I guess I'm in the acceptance phase of the grief process, but if you're still in bargaining, I think there are entire WEBSITES devoted to this topic.

Misty said...

Hum, I don't know. Maybe my kids are abnormally clean, but I don't seem to have this issue. Usually, when I know it is going to be bad, I pretreat the stain with Shout Spray and scrub it in with an old toothbrush and it comes out in the normal wash. I have even got lipstick off of jeans with this method. (I left a tube in my pocket and put the bloody things in the dryer. Smart girl.)

Kristen said...

I totally sympathize on the stain thing. I had stopped putting anything in the dryer in an attempt to save some stained items, but I have given up and started stripping my toddler girl if needed too. One thing that often works on whites for me is to boil a pot of water on the stove, remove from heat, add a scoop or two of oxyclean and add the clothes. I soak as long as I can, at least til the water cools, then dump the pot contents in the washer and wash as usual. I only do this if it is something I really love. be careful though because when you add the oxy it tends to boil over, use only half a pot of water and maybe place it in the sink.
I love the popsicle in the tub idea, Laural!

LoriD said...

jmc - you have noooo idea!

LD - popsicles in the bathtub, that is genius. I could get on that Tide to Go bandwagon, if only the little tubes weren't so small. I seriously have never had a stain small enough for that little thing.

Tessie - have you tried any of those websites? You have to have fifty obscure ingredients, wear a mask and rubber gloves.

Misty - a toothbrush! Maybe that's the secret?!

Kristen - that sounds very involved, but I'm willing to try! That seems like a magic potion that might actually work.

Sara said...

Have you tried soaking? I am all about soaking my laundry. Pre treat with shout and then put around half the laundry soap you would use in the washer. Crank the baby up to hot and soak for at least an hour. Drain the washer and wash as normal.

This has worked almost every time for me.

shay said...

I stumbled onto your blog but had to leave a comment in solidarity with your white flag. I also admit defeat! The stains win and the pile of rags grows.

I've tried everything too. I don't do the dryer and I do the boil water and oxy but really sometimes, nothing works.
good luck in the laundry trenches!

Anonymous said...

Bleaching stains white is a tricky problem. One has to follow the protocol so careful- no hot water is especially important. That being, I had found a use for the old favourite, "Bleach for Unbleachables" which doesn't seem to be available anymore.

I would add cups of the dry product in very hot water (boiling poured over the powder) and then strain the goo out of the mix. I would then thin the solution and found that when I sprayed the shower / tub after each use, grime and dirt was eliminated, for the most part. At each new shower I could spray the tub until all the B4tUb was sent down the drain.

My last box of B4tUb is now used up and I can't find the stuff for sale and so far have failed in finding a worthy substitute so it is back to hands and knees a couple times a week to keep the grime away.