By Ashley Shaver, Rhea Lana’s
Let me introduce myself. I’m Ashley Shaver. Mother of four. Lover of wild cowboy boots, garlic cheese grits, and sweet tea. Owner of Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment Events. Children’s clothing hobbyist. Laundress Extraordinaire.
I’ll let you in on “The Dirt”. These are my Top 10 little laundry secrets! From one mom to another…so you can extend the life of your kids’ clothes and make money re-selling them, too!
***Disclaimer: Always pre-test stain remover solutions on a hidden part of the garment (inside of the hem or an inside seam) for color-fastness.***
1) Read your care labels
I know this sounds obvious, but most people don’t do it. If the care label sewn into the garment says to wash it in cold water inside out, there is a reason. Don’t throw it in hot water with your towels. It will never look the same. Reading care labels may also help you make better purchasing decisions. In my house with four children, I don’t have time to do a lot of hand-washing and don’t want to pay to dry-clean children’s clothes, so I don’t buy clothes that require either.
2) Sort It Out
At the risk of stating the overly obvious, all laundry is not the same and cannot be washed together. If you wash a sage green towel with your son’s favorite navy fleece vest, it will end up with green pilling all over it. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) This may seem a bit neurotic, but here are my sorting bins: blacks, dark blues, light blues, khakis/grays, pastels, reds, whites, white towels, green towels, and sheets. I wash almost everything on cold to protect the colors. There are a few things like really stained pastels, khakis, and whites that I wash on warm. I don’t wash anything on hot.
3) Use Tide
It just works better on stains than any of the other detergents. We use Tide Free in our house because it doesn’t have any dyes or perfumes, but is still as effective.
4) Bake Cookies, Not Your Clothes
Always use a low heat setting to dry your clothes. High temperatures cause shrinkage, fading, and may shorten the life of your clothes. I use delicate for everything.
5) Stain Removers
I’ve tried every laundry stain remover on the market and my very favorite is Oxi-Clean. For general stains, I spray liquid Oxi-Clean generously on the stains, rub-in, and let stand about 10 minutes. Then wash as directed by the label. If the stain doesn’t come out, don’t dry it. That just bakes it in. Soak it in a sink full of warm water and a scoop of Oxi-Clean powder for 6 hours. Then wash as usual. That gets almost any stain out. Even ones that have sweltered in to your favorite heirloom baby dress stored up in the attic for 4 years (that your mother would have a heart attack if she saw stored that way). Hypothetically speaking, of course.
6) Grease Stains
I’m talking about those determined grease spots that don’t show up until after you’ve washed and dried your son’s favorite pants. (The ones that never come out no matter how many times you wash them. Grrrrrr.) In my house they typically result from butter dripped on a shirt or peanut butter wiped on pants.
So, here’s “The Dirt”: Use Dawn Dishwashing Liquid like a pre-wash treatment. Let it sit for a while then wash like usual. If it is particularly stubborn, one more time should do the trick. Hey, if it gets bacon grease off of a skillet, why wouldn’t it get grease off a pair of pants? I heard that pouring a can of Coke gets grease out. I tried it. It doesn’t work. I say drink the Coke while your Dawn is pre-treating. Then you have two more reasons to enjoy laundry day!
This is one of the best kept secrets out there: pour straight hydrogen peroxide onto the blood as soon as possible. (Don’t wet the fabric first; it will dilute the peroxide.) It will bubble the blood right out. Then wash as usual in cold water. If it doesn’t come completely out, don’t dry it. Repeat. I’ve used this on fabrics of all colors.
The grass is always greener on the knees of my son’s pants! The Oxi-Clean powder & warm water soak usually does the trick, but I recently heard about this tip. Take about 1/4 cup of sugar and mix in a little bit of water to turn it into a scrub. Rub it into the grass stain for about 1 minute. Then throw the garment in the washing machine with your detergent and wash as normal. Do not rinse off the scrub.
9) Pen Ink
First, put a white cloth or paper towel under the stain to absorb the excess ink. Spray on a non-oily, alcohol based hair spray. You can also use simple rubbing alcohol. Saturate the ink stain with the hairspray or alcohol. Blot with a rag and repeat until the stain is gone. Spray on Oxi-Clean Laundry Stain Remover and wash as usual.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve had to use this trick, but I suppose gum on a pair of shorts is better than gum in my daughter’s hair. Put garment in a Ziploc bag and place in freezer. Leave in freezer until the gum is frozen solid. Scrape off with a butter knife. Spray with Oxi-Clean and launder as usual. Then, don’t give your daughter any more gum.
So there you have it: “The Dirt” on laundry. I’d love to hear your dirty little laundry secrets, too. Send them to me at Ashley@rhealana.com or post them on our Rhea Lana’s of Northwest Arkansas Facebook Fanpage.