Photo: Ryan Szulc
As a parent you quickly find out that "dirty clothes" has a whole new meaning. While you previously thought your jeans were filthy after three wears with not a stain in sight, you're now contending with pint-sized pants decorated with ink or Sharpie, green streaks of grass, shmears or blood or grease and even poop. Yes, poop. But getting rid of these shockingly common stains isn't actually as hard as you thought. Here's how to do it:
Wet the affected area with water, then sprinkle on table salt. Gently rub and watch it disappear. This works best on fresh ink.
The first rule of parenting is to hide all your Sharpies. Missed the memo? Most times, a bit of alcohol-based hand sanitizer will remove permanent marker from clothes. Apply a squirt over the stain and rub in a circular motion with a sponge. Let sit for 15 minutes and watch the stain disappear. Repeat if necessary.
Three options await you:
If your kid has opted to use their sweatpants instead of the napkin you’ve carefully placed beside their plate (and reminded them to use six times), not to worry—there are a couple of easy ways to get grease stains out of clothes.
Whoops, another wipeout? McAllister says it’s no problem if you act fast. “Pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain to help lift it,” she says. “Then rinse well and wash on cold.” Check the stain when the cycle is done and before putting the item in the dryer to see if you may need to repeat the hydrogen peroxide step. Dealing with dry blood? Tays swears by treating stains with none other than Pine-Sol. Hydrogen peroxide should also work.
How come they never tell you about up-the-back diaper blowouts in the baby books? First, clean up your baby; then, tackle the onesie.
Tip: If the poop explosion is particularly epic and the onesie is nothing special, you would not be the first parent to decide to throw the onesie away.
For whites, Tays recommends Cascade dishwasher powder, saying it “works miracles” because the enzymes break down the stains. Let the clothing sit in the hottest water possible and add a cup of Cascade. Wash like normal. For coloured clothes with grass stains, try this:
Keep boots salt-stain–free by mixing equal parts white vinegar and lukewarm water. Dab a rag into the mixture and wipe away the stains. Towel dry when you’re done.
Sarah Mcallister—Calgary With more than two million followers, McAllister’s company, Go Clean Co., is kind of a big deal on Instagram. Known for her undying love of powdered Tide detergent and for bringing the concept of laundry stripping to the mainstream, McAllister is a serial entrepreneur and mom of one.
Danielle Tays—Hampton, New Brunswick Better known as @momthatlovestoclean on TikTok, this mother of one and stepmom of two soothed her COVID anxiety by sharing her knowledge and tips. Boasting more than 450,000 followers, she and her like-minded cleaning squad refer to themselves as the #mopsquad.
Jamie Moorhouse—Toronto Along with partner Sean Campbell, Moorhouse started Condo Fresh Inc. in 2011 with a goal of providing professional cleaning and organizing with a natural spin. After encouragement from his customers, he recently launched his own line of natural cleaners, called Moorfreshouse Inc.
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