Monday, August 31, 2009

Out, Spot! Out!

This past weekend, we spent many, many hours driving to and from a trip to Disneyland. And, as you can probably imagine, what with all the drinks and snacks being passed around, my son's clothes didn't fare all that well, particularly when he got red marker all over his khaki shorts (luckily, they were the washable kind of markers). And we can't forget the chocolate Mickey Mouse ice cream bar that got everywhere while we were in the park. So, with all the stains facing me, not to mention the mountain of laundry from the trip, I thought it would be apropos to introduce my super-cheap stain-fighting arsenal.

I understand it would be easier to buy a stain spray like Spray 'N Wash or some OxiClean. That stuff seems to work like magic. But, buying them tacks on an extra five to ten bucks onto your grocery bill; my arsenal includes stuff you probably already have. Plus, I'm all for having less chemicals around the house (my philosophy on that in another post...). All these methods take is an extra moment to decide what to use and a tiny bit more elbow grease.

To remove just about any stain, you just need some dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, and vinegar; Vaseline isn't necessarily a stain remover, but it is good for keeping areas isolated so the solvents stay in place. These simple stain-fighters work nearly all the time. I first learned about these methods from a chart in a Martha Stewart magazine a few years ago. I can speak from experience when I say that this little chart has saved numerous articles of clothing. Ballpoint pen ink, sweet potato baby food, an errant drop of mustard, melted Popsicle, splatters from making jam - I've gotten all of them out with these four stain-fighters. Everyone should have a copy of the chart - I have mine straight from the magazine, laminated, and on the shelf with my laundry supplies.

The only stain-fighter not listed on the Martha Stewart chart: sunlight. You'll be amazed at how white your whites can get and how stubborn stains will fade in the sun. More on the clothesline experiment later. Until then, give these a whirl - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

3 comments:

Markelle said...

All of Jack's clothes are stained, so thanks for the advice...I will definitely try them!

btw, kinda ironic--I am staring at an OxiClean advertisement while typing this. hehe

Jenn Wilks said...

Markelle, I've got the same ad. I think it's not a coincidence, though. Google made its billions by doing tricky advertising like that. I bet it "noticed" the word "OxiClean" in Heather's post and thought, "A-Ha! People coming to read this post will want to buy OxiClean. Let's help them along a little bit with some advertising!"

Have you ever noticed how google.com doesn't have any ads on the home page? It's only /after/ you type your search words in that all the ads appear on the sidebar - and they all have to do with what you typed. Way higher chance that a person will actually click on it and buy it, because they know what you're searching for. Trick-y. And gmail is the same. Little ads show up on the screen and you'll find that they often have something to do with what your emails are about.

Right now, for instance, I'm looking at an email where one of my friends is talking about going to see a Cougars game, and the ads along the side all have to do with BYU football, uniforms, etc. Scary.

Sorry for the rant. :-P Couldn't help myself.

On to what I actually wanted to comment about. Are you saying that you use different solvents for different jobs? (i.e. one of them takes out pen, while another takes out blood, etc.?) I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the sprays. I buy mine in a huge jug from Costco that only a body-builder could lift. Haven't figured out the price per ounce, though . . .

Heather said...

I thought the OxiClean thing was funny myself. And I agree - sometimes the whole specifically targeted ad thing is a little creepy. About your question, Jenn, you do use different things for different stains, but since there's just four different solvents, it's not too bad. Usually, I only use some dish soap and if that doesn't get it, some hydrogen peroxide and that does the trick. So, yeah, it's not as simple as going for the spray, but it is cheaper!

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