In our house there’s a game that presents itself far too often called ‘Mud, Poo, or Chocolate?’ There is no winner, and it’s better not to play. But all of those things are vanquished by one cleaner of which I have become a devoted fan, and my laundry mountain is now a laundry molehill (minus the moles, I hope).
Every once in a while, I decide to tackle a project that is… shall we say, ‘less fun’ than my usual list full of things I want to do. As the ‘wants’ get accomplished, the ‘needs’ list starts to get a little overwhelming. And continually at or near the top of that list is laundry.
I wanted to find a few cleaning products that really worked, so first, I asked Facebook. I got a few helpful suggestions, mostly revolving around OxiClean (which I misspelled, as did everyone else. The ‘y’ just makes so much more sense).
So then I geared up, and entered the ever-expanding Stinky Clothes Mountain Range- the impassible terrain formerly known to some as the Laundry Room.
And to make the task overly complicated and unnecessarily daunting, I also took out several boxes of old too-small kid clothes from the garage, many with washed and dried-in stains from a year or more ago (I am a little too sentimental and saved waaaay too many baby clothes).
The clothes-mountaineering gear I decided to test out was as follows:
1 Box Biz
1 Box OxiClean
1 jug (bottle? plastic liquid laundry container thing?) Tide Stain Release.
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
1 spray bottle “Dirty Jobs” pre-treater
1 spray bottle “Sports Cleaner” pre-treater
I took on this laundry summit quest before I started the website project, so I didn’t take any before/after pictures. Sorry. But I will summerize for you my highly scientific findings. And then maybe next time I do this, I’ll post some pictures.
First I tried Biz. Loved it. It cleaned all the new stains, and some of the old stains out after an overnight soak. I appreciated that the water was very dirty and gross-looking after the clothes had soaked, it gave me the sense that the dirt was actually leaving the clothes. The bad part was that the scoop is huge, and the amount needed according to the directions is precisely a bazillion lots. I used the whole box in a few loads.
Next up was OxiClean. To be fair, I couldn’t chuck up the sweet change to buy brand-name, so I tried the Kroger brand. Loved it almost as much. It also worked wonders on fresh stains, and faded or erased a few of the older stains. The water stayed clear(ish) after an overnight soak, so it felt more like the stains were still there, under an OxiCloak of Invisibility. But if the germs are dead, I guess that’s fine with me. The scoop (an amount needed per instructions) for the Kroger brand is also much smaller than the Biz or even the ‘real’ OxiClean’s scoop, so it lasted a lot longer. Also, when I soaked several colored articles in the same bin, some of the colors (red mostly, but also one blue) occasional bled and set into the surrounding clothes. Not fun.
I tried rubbing stains with the Tide Stain Release, but honestly I didn’t notice a real advantage over other stain removers, and it was messy to use the lid scrubber thing to rub it into the stain. I did wash everything in it though as the main detergent
The Fels-Naptha Soap was amazing. After soaking the clothes in Biz or Oxiclean, I rubbed the bar of soap directly onto the remaining stains. In a surprizing number of cases, the old, set-in stains disappeared. Best part of this option- it’s so cheap! only $1-$3/bar, depending on where you buy it.
The Dirty Jobs spot cleaner/pretreater was fine, but the absolute best of all of these was…
Espro Sports Cleaner!! It’s this, in case you haven’t seen it:
I saw it on the top shelf at Walmart and thought, well if it can make sports uniforms white again, maybe it’ll work on my kids’ clothes.
It totally did!! After soaking in Biz or Oxiclean, I sprayed it on what was left, scratched it in with my fingernails for the worst or oldest stains, and in almost all cases, the stain was faded or completely gone. Some old stains took several cycles of ‘soak, spray, wash, spray, wash, spray, wash’ before I got to the ‘oh, it’s clean!! Dry.’
Now I’m skipping everything else and just using the Sports Cleaner, spraying before I throw the clothes in, and it’s amazing. If there’s anything left after it’s washed, I’ll rub the Fels-Naptha soap on the stain (it’s easy to rub on already-wet clothes), rub it into itself, and wash again; that usually takes care of it.
For reference, the stains I was working on were kid stains- everything from grass and dirt to milk and food.
Leave your laundry magic secrets below! We can all use some good hints in the laundry department.