I have two very bad habits - spilling food on my clothing and never remembering to buy stain remover when I'm shopping for laundry detergent. Like last week, while trying to walk with my coffee I spilled it, mostly down my pants. When I went to the laundry room for help, I found regular detergent and an empty bottle of stain treatment. Luckily, I've been in this position before and have had plenty of time to test out alternate stain fighters. Here are a few I've found that work the best.
Murphy's Oil Soap
Murphy's Oil Soap, the stuff you use to polish wood furniture, actually does a pretty good job of removing stains on clothing. So far it has removed coffee, mustard and grease stains from my cotton shirts, blended pants and denim jeans. I pour about a tablespoon directly on the stain, rub it in, and let the oil soap sit on the stain for a few minutes. Then I just have to wash as normal and the stain is gone.
The acidic juice in a lemon is a good stain fighter for light colored clothing. So far it has removed grass and blood stains from my white cotton clothing. While I wouldn't use it on dark colored clothing (it might discolor the fabric) I've had success with the whites. I just cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice over the stain, allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes and then wash in a normal cycle.
My grandmother swore by club soda. Personally, I've found that it isn't a miracle cure, but it does do the job on fresh stains. For example, when I spilled coffee on my pants last week, I immediately covered them in club soda. I let the club soda sit for 10 minutes and washed the pants on a heavy wash cycle. The coffee and any lingering stain came out in the wash. But I haven't had much success with older stains or tougher stains like grass and grease.
Baking soda works great on older stains. I mix about a tablespoon full with a small amount of water to create a paste, and then I rub the paste directly over the stain. A few minutes later you can actually see the baking soda lifting the stain. Recently I also started adding two tablespoons of baking soda to my wash cycle. Adding the baking soda catches any stains I might have missed and helps keep my colors from fading.
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