Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Get Out Stains on Baby Clothes

I'm still hacking away at my to-do list for this month! I decided to organize Henry's baby clothes in preparation for our June (or July arrival).

We're lucky we even have any of his clothes. For the longest time, we thought we were only going to have one child. As a result, I gave away most of my maternity clothes, our Moby wrap, co-sleeper, etc. The only reason I saved all of his baby clothes was because I want to make a quilt out of them. I even saved the stained ones, since I only need a small piece from each one. 

Luckily my procrastination paid off in this instance. By the time I even thought about making the quilt, we had started thinking having another baby, so I held off on chopping up the clothes. 

Fast forward several months, and it was time to sort through the clothes. Several of them were badly stained, so I did a little Googling to figure out how to get them clean. After searching for the most non-toxic solution possible, I decided to go with harsher chemicals because I wanted a really effective and efficient result. I'm fine filling our second son's closet with hand-me-downs, but I at least want them to be stain-free.

Based on my experience*, here is what I would recommend for anyone trying to get stains out of colored garments:
  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and about 10 scoops of OxiClean.
  • Submerge the clothes in the bucket, being careful not to overfill the bucket. It's better to give the clothes space to soak up the water.
  • Leave the clothes in the bucket with the solution for as long as it takes for the stains to lift completely (it might take days--the clothes will be fine). 
  • After the stains are gone, run the clothes through the washing machine several times to help yourself feel better about using such a harsh chemical on clothing that will be next to your baby's skin. 
*This process doesn't reflect my exact experience which involves a bit more trial-and-error. This process is what I will do next time!

Literally every single stain came out without damaging any of the brightness of the clothing. It worked on every piece--from gray shirts to spray-painted shirts to striped onesies.

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Rebecca said...

That's basically what we do.

I just keep an empty oxi-clean bucket in our laundry tub. I put ~1TBS of powder (I switched to seventh generation's version to make myself feel better - who knows if it is different) and then put enough water to totally cover the clothes. I usually just leave mine sitting overnight - 24 hours. If I am ready to wash, I will put them in directly from the bucket into the washer, if not I just wring them out and lay them over the side of the tub until I wash a load.

Before I put them in the dryer, I do a super good check to see if the stain is still here. If it is, I don't put it in the dryer and put it outside in the sun instead. If the the stain is still there, I repeat the process.

For really stubborn stains, I keep a small bottle of tide (we use soap nuts for our regular laundry detergent) and let it soak into the stain before washing again.

I found a small bottle of Mrs. Meyers stain remover once and it was awesome stuff. It removed every stain. I have never been able to find it again.

I'd love other people's suggestions.

Tori said...

You may have already found and tried this one, but one way I've found to accelerate that process is Zote, a bar laundry soap from Mexico. I wet the stain and rub the bar on it like an eraser. Then, I rub it and let it soak. I also use Zote in my homemade laundry detergent. It's good, cheap and in my experience, underrated.

Thanks for sharing your method! Glad it worked so well.

Rachel said...

Oxi Clean is just sodium percarbonate and hydrogen peroxide. In water it eventually breaks down to oxygen, water and sodium carbonate ("washing soda", a water softener).

It's concentrated in the tub, but it isn't something you should worry about "clinging" to baby clothes after they come out of the wash.

Becky and Sam said...

I have found that using Borax, vinegar, and baking soda really helps cleans clothes and remove stains. Borax is my new favorite cleaning agent. All they are all "natural" ingredients which helps put my mind at ease.

Marlene Detierro said...

Blood stains are a beast to remove! With kids in the house, we sure get our fair share. Bloody noses, scraped knees, falling off bicycles. I swear, I've scrubbed more blood out of clothes than anything else. This sounds like a fabulous tips!

Marlene Detierro (Eureka Joe's)

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