12 Common Kid Stains — Busted!

Removing common kid stains

Oops! Your little one spilled fruit punch on his good shirt. No need to fret over tough stains left behind by your children; read on for our definitive guide.

1. Grass
After a tough soccer practice, grass stains are sure to leave their mark. For quick results, rub a liquid laundry detergent with enzymes into the stain and let it sit for five minutes. Then, wash with the hottest water and bleach permitted by the clothing's care label.

2. Stickers
Stickers are fun, but not when they're stuck all over the house. If your tot has taken it upon herself to decorate your windows, start by covering the sticker with a light oil - like baby or vegetable - and leaving it overnight. The next morning, lift one corner and slowly pull off of the glass. If you don't have any oil, try soaking the sticker with a hot, damp sponge.

3. Sap
When playing outside on a summer day, your young explorer's clothing may end up covered in this sticky substance. After pretreating with a prewash stain remover, launder in the warmest water and bleach safe for the garment. But examine it carefully before throwing it into the dryer - if any sap lingers after washing, sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol and wash again.

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4. Crayons
If your youngster gets colorful wax on clothing, place the stain between sheets of paper towels, and then press with a warm iron, swapping out the paper towels often. Pretreat the fabric, blot the mark, and let dry. If any color remains after a first wash with bleach, rewash the item using chlorine bleach, as long as it's safe for the fabric. To remove crayon from the wall, try using a dry-cleaning solvent on a terrycloth towel to safely remove marks from almost any surface (except antique wallpaper).

5. Chocolate
Chocolate makes a sweet treat, but it can also be a mom's messy nightmare. Use a spoon to remove any excess chocolate, and then massage liquid laundry detergent into the stain with your fingers. After letting it sit for five minutes, wash with chlorine or all-fabric bleach if it's safe for the garment.

6. Mud
While kids might love splashing through puddles on a rainy day, mud can leave behind unattractive stains on clothing. For easy cleaning, wait for the mud to dry and brush off as much as you can. Then simply pretreat with a prewash stain remover and launder.

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7. Water-Based Glue
If your little one gets Elmer's on his clothes during art class, don't sweat it! After scraping off any excess glue, pretreat the fabric with a prewash stain remover and wash with the hottest water permitted by the garment's label.

8. Fruit juice
With fruit juice spills at snack time, colorful stains can get left behind. After soaking the fabric in cold water for 30 minutes, sponge white vinegar on the remaining stain. Let it sit at least 30 minutes, then launder the garment as usual.

9. Felt-Tipped Markers
When your child is coloring her masterpiece, clothing might take the hit. After placing the stain face down on clean paper towels, dab rubbing alcohol around the mark and then apply directly to the stain. Continue sponging the spot with alcohol to transfer as much ink as possible, frequently changing the paper towels underneath. Then rinse thoroughly and launder.

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10. Jelly
When a sticky lunch ends up in your little one's lap, begin by flushing the stain with cool water. Mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar, a 1/2-teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent, and a quart of warm water, soak the garment in this solution for 15 minutes. If the stain remains after rinsing, sponge with rubbing alcohol and rinse again. Finally, launder with chlorine bleach, if permitted on the care label.

11. Ink
Studious little ones might not notice a stray pen mark here and there. To erase the mistake, lay the garment's stain side down on a hand towel, and lightly dab - don't rub - the stain with rubbing alcohol. After rinsing and applying a prewash stain remover, wash the garment as usual.

12. Ketchup
If this favorite condiment slides off your youngster's burger and onto her shirt at the next family cookout, start by carefully scraping off any excess. From the inside of the garment, flush the stain with cold water. Then apply liquid detergent to the front of the stain, and tamp &mdash, tapping with a clean toothbrush - the spot to break up the stain. After rinsing, sponge the stain with white vinegar and rinse again. Repeat tamping and dabbing white vinegar until as much of the stain as possible is removed. Then, launder with bleach.

-By Kristyn Lyncheski

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