Super heroes fight crime.

Moms & Dads fight stains.

No matter how careful, how clean or how protective we are- accidents happen. And with accidents come messes someone will have to clean up. We’re guessing since you’re reading this, that task falls on you. We’ve been there and we’re sorry.

At school, at home and in our backyards stains are just waiting to jump on our children’s clothes and live there forever. And our unsuspecting little darlings often pass them off onto our own clothes- unintentionally of course!

We don’t need or want a specific bottle of stain remover for every type of stain that exists in the world. That said, we’re not always prepared to fight each “mystery stain” we encounter. Since we can’t expect the unexpected, it’s good to know how to use what you already have on hand to help you on your quest to rid the world (or at least the family’s wardrobe) of stains.

General Tips

Different types of stains need to be treated differently, but for the most part there are a few general rules you can follow:

  • Before you start treating any stain, read the care instructions on the label of the item you are washing. If washing isn’t recommended, take it to the cleaners.
  • Similarly, if you are using store-bought cleaning products, carefully read the instructions and all warnings on the bottle. If your child is allergic or sensitive to ingredients found in common household products, do a quick search online to find which ones are safe for the family.
  • Treat a stain as soon as humanly possible. The longer you wait, the more time it will have to soak into the fabric.
  • Unless you’re treating an oil or grease stain, use cold water. Hot or warm water will cause the stain to set.
  • Always test your cleaning solution to make sure it won’t harm the fabric or cause colors to bleed. Try it out on an inconspicuous section of your clothing first, like the inside of collars or sleeves.
  • Use the blot and dab method instead of trying to rub the stain out. This will protect the fabric and help absorb the stain better.

Common Stains

Before you run to the store to pick up an expensive stain remover, try using these effective home remedies that utilize supplies you might already have lying around:

Grass Stains…

Kids love to play outside, especially in the grass where it’s soft and padded. Enter grass stains, enemy #1.

  • If the garment is white you can use a diluted bleach solution.
  • The easiest way: just soak the item in a water/detergent mixture prior to washing as normal.
  • DO NOT USE ammonia, degreasers or alkaline detergents- they will help ensure that stains remain PERMANENTLY!
Grease Stains…

These can come from junk food or bike chains.

  • Blot the stain with a clean paper towel until you see it has absorbed the grease/oil. Use a new paper towel and repeat the process until no more can be absorbed. Next, run the garment under hot water to loosen up the stain. Rinse well then wash as normal.
Blood stains…

Kids scrape their knees. They get bloody noses and little cuts here and there. The injury may not be serious, but the blood has to go somewhere and it usually ends up on clothes.

  • Run the targeted area under cold water as soon as possible. If the stain is already dry, soak it in cold water.
  • You can dab salt water onto the stain with a sponge until it disappears
  • OR try soaking the garment in a bucket of water with an effervescent denture tablet.
Sweat stains…

As our kids get older, they start to sweat more. For white shirts this can mean persistent stains that won’t bleach out. Thankfully, there are some creative solutions!

  • Wet the area you are treating and sprinkle it with unseasoned meat tenderizer that contains bromelain, working it into the stain. Let it sit for a half hour then wash the item as usual.
  • Crush 2 aspirin tablets and let them dissolve into warm water. Apply them to the stain, cover the area and let set for 2-3 hours before rinsing.
  • Sponge the affected area with salt water until the stain disappears.
Glitter explosions…

Ok, so it’s not technically a stain, but all parents know how persistent glitter can be when it comes to getting on every surface possible.

  • Unless you want to be petting glitter off the family pet for the next year, DO NOT try to shake the glitter off- it will only end up spreading.
  • Lay the garment on a towel, glitter side up. Spray the area with regular aerosol hairspray and let dry until hard. Next, wash it in the machine by itself.
  • If it gets onto any furniture or unwashable fabrics- use a lint roller or tape to dab up some of the glitter.