This post is sponsored by ARM & HAMMER™ Plus OxiClean™ Power PAKS — I received samples for me to test out on my laundry.
When you have a baby, you assume that you are in for some messes. It comes with the diapering, feeding, potty training territory. But this line of thinking lulls you into believing that you'll be experiencing a messy "window" and that there will be an end to it.
This is a lie.
Families are messy. Between, camping, cooking, general kid merriment, dog shenanigans, a husband that works around dirt and asphalt…you name it, I've managed to get it out of clothing.
It's started to make my kids a little TOO lax about their clothes, I heard my daughter declare, "Oh, it's fine. My mom can get anything out of my clothes." on a recent family trip. And then she added another marshmallow to her s'more.
Here are my secrets...
Get rid of the chunks.
I know, it SOUNDS obvious. But every parent that has found themselves staring down the barrel of a 2 AM kid vomit situation and has had to stumble through the process of cleaning up a big mess and a really sad kid in a hurry has tossed a heap of sheets and blankets into a washing machine. The results are not awesome. But we've all been there, so no judgment here. But if you can do it, shake off the chunks into the toilet and flush it away.
If the chunks are gone, or you aren't dealing with a chunk situation (congratulations!) then I'm a big believer in pre-soaking a stain. Cold water is my preference and also will do a good job of getting blood out of clothing (even after it's dried…because you had to wait at Instacare for a kiddo to get stitches.)
A hot soak/rinse is good for potty training accidents. Yes, I'm the mom that cleans out the undies, rather than tossing them. Tossing a pair of wet pants and undies in the wash will do a great job of getting that smell throughout whatever else you launder those items with, so don't do that. Give the articles a quick rinse-and-squeeze with hot water and then toss them in the washer and dryer.
This also works great for babies and toddlers that are learning to feed themselves. The first step to getting the blueberries out of a white onsie? Get most of the gunk off the fabric first!
Sometimes you need something stronger. Sweaty clothes occasionally need a good soak in vinegar to get that lingering smell out of technical fabrics. This also works if a young child, oh…I don't know…hides the evidence of an accident and the clothing has a chance to ripen a wee bit.
Vinegar also works for oily stains. Even the best detergents can have a tough time with grease and oil stains. A repeated vinegar soak can do a good job of removing the oil from the fibers, but you have to be patient. Soak, air dry, see how the stain is doing, and then re-soak as needed.
Find a Great Detergent
All the fancy prep in the world, isn't going to work if you don't use a good detergent. I tested out the ARM & HAMMER™ Plus OxiClean™ Power PAKS on my post-Yellowstone camping trip laundry. Do you camp? That laundry is an extra special kind of dirty. Campfire smoke, melted marshmallows, dirt from hauling rocks/wood/pinecones…all of which have had the chance to marinate over a few days in the dirty clothes bag. I was VERY impressed, the most soiled stuff (jackets, mittens, and socks) came out clean and smelling fresh. Not perfumed, just CLEAN.
A good foldable dryer rack is a must. "Lay flat to dry"…WHERE? Gone are the days of taking over the dining room chairs to air dry my clothes. I also hang and lay items inside out to dry. That way if you can't put it away immediately, you don't have to worry so much about little hands or nosey dogs leaving a random smudge on your freshly laundered delicate. (It's happened!)
Stock up on two or three mesh laundry bags (the small ones intended to wash lingerie or delicates) use them for small items like baby and kid socks and it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. No more hunting for the match to that tiny sock. No more wondering what is going on inside your pant leg, only to discover a tiny sock has hitched a ride all the way to the office.
These bags are also great for scarves and the belts from robes. Those front loading washers are absolutely exceptional at twirling everything into a knot when one of those items comes loose in a load.
Special thanks to ARM & HAMMER™ Plus OxiClean™ Power PAKS for providing samples for me to test out on my laundry. This was my first experience using a Pak detergent, and I'm hooked. I compared the per load cost to my other detergent and it's more economical for our family of four.
I also really like the convenience of the Pak over using liquid. I'm either hunting down the measuring cup or stepping on it, so not dealing with that is a plus. There is also A LOT less waste generated with this system. Since my cleaning supplies and detergent are stored up high, and out of reach of the kids, I have no concerns about them getting into these.
Do you have any ninja laundry moves you can share with me? Here are a few more we found from other smart mamas that blew our minds!
Aluminum Foil as a Dryer Sheet
Out of dryer sheets? BudgetSavvyDiva says they've been doing it for 30 years. Just crumple up a sheet of aluminum foil into a ball and you can use it for up to 6 months!
Use a Lingerie Bag to Wash Stuffed Animals
Afraid to toss your child's little precious into the washer? Check out these great tips for keeping your stuffed animals clean!
Sort Socks Into Individual Laundry Bags
This might be the best thing we've found! Implementing immediately! Get the full details from BetterInBulk.com!
Try Conditioner for Shrunk Clothes
What? The same stuff that chills out your hair can also loosen the fibers in your clothes. Full tutorial from CarsonandLindsayBay.com!
Printable Laundry Stain Removal Tips
They're adorable, but when you print and store these handy little tips they'll be at the fingertips of anyone using the laundry room (ahem! Teenagers, we're looking at you!)
Use a Dry Erase Marker to Flag Which Clothes Don't Go In the Dryer
Quick and easy! Just make a quick note on the washer with a dry erase marker so that when you (or whomever else shows up) switch the loads you remember what to keep an eye out for!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer. The opinions and text are all mine.