How to Banish the Stains Your Kids Always Get

Art projects, soccer practice, and close-to-home adventures are all part of being a kid. But after a day spent playing hard, mom is often greeted with a bevy of stains to tackle. Here’s how to make cleanup swift and effective.

1. Grass

Fight the marks of an afternoon in the park by quickly treating the spot with a prewash stain remover (we like Shout Advanced Gel) or by rubbing a stain-fighting detergent with enzymes into the fabric. Let it sit for at least five minutes, and then launder in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Bleach can help, too, if the care tag permits it.

2. Chocolate

Because their favorite flavor of ice cream seems to be the drippiest, of course. But rubbing in some detergent or a prewash stain remover before you launder should do the trick. Turn to bleach if the stain is stubborn and its OK to use on the fabric.

3. Juice

How to Banish the Stains Your Kids Always Get
Getty ImagesMichael H

Remove the remains of today’s lunch by flushing the colorful blotch with cool water. Then, combine one tablespoon of white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid laundry detergent, with one quart cool water. Soak for 15 minutes, and if the stain is still there, try blotting with rubbing alcohol. Launder as usual.

4. Acrylic Paint

Flush the spot with warm water, and then sponge with a solution of one part dishwashing liquid and one part warm water. Repeat as necessary, and rinse and launder.

5. Crayons

Try to lift these art class marks before you throw the clothing in the wash. If the crayon is soft, you might try freezing it and scraping off what you can. Otherwise, place the stain between two paper towels, and press with warm iron. Some of the crayon should transfer to the paper towels. Repeat as necessary, with new paper towels, taking care to not transfer the stain to other spots on the clothing. Then treat with a stain remover (or rub in a little dishwashing liquid), and launder.

6. Glue

Craft glue should come out pretty easily with a stain remover and your everyday detergent. If you’re battling heavy-duty adhesive, nail polish remover with acetone can help, but try a test spot first; it can melt synethetic fabrics that contain acetate or triacetate.



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