Thursday, October 4, 2007

Climbing Mount Washmore

It's easy to get behind on laundry when you're homeschooling, but y'all, this is really bad. I am finally going through my mountain of special needs laundry: sweaters, frou-frou church dresses, and the worst - the dreaded stain pile. I don't mind doing laundry, but I DESPISE stain treating. (It doesn't help that I'm a perfectionist and will wash an item 67 times to get out a speck of mustard a millimeter in diameter.) Because of this, I conveniently get all the laundry done except the stained clothes. The pile kept growing and growing until it threatened to topple over and smother us all. Seeing that we enjoy breathing so much, I decided to chip away at the pile tonight. I've made some startling discoveries:

- I'm further behind than I had thought;

- There are several boy's outfits in the stain pile sized 24 months and smaller (my son currently wears a size 6); and

- I've discovered quite a few hand-me-downs that will fit my 21 month old little girl (my older daughter is in second grade).

Whoooooo boy. I just started a hearty washerful of "laundry soup" with some of the more salvageable clothing, two cups of Tide and 3 packets of Oxy Clean. I'm going to let it soak for awhile. (Maybe a month.)

The really bad stuff needs more drastic treatment. Enter the famous stain recipe (thanks to The Tightwad Gazette). When I had just one easy infant (and made my own baby food and baby wipes, stayed current on her scrapbook, and had this whole mommy thing down pat), I had a batch of this stuff going 24/7. Blowout? No prob. Just rinse, throw the vile garment in for a few days, stir every once in awhile, then wash as usual. POOF! No stain! Here it is:

Stain Recipe

1 cup Clorox II (no substitutions)
1 cup Cascade (no substitutions)
5 gallons of the hottest water to come from the faucet

Mix together in a large pail with tight-fitting lid (to keep out curious toddlers). Add colorfast items (learned this the hard way) and soak for as long as needed, stirring every day, then wash as usual. I usually soak until the stain is almost gone, spray with Shout or Spray & Wash, then wash as usual.

True story: On a trip to California when my firstborn was 6 months old, we traveled on a lonely stretch of highway for hours without finding any source for warm water to make a bottle. (She was one of those that HAD to have it at just the right temperature or she refused it.) The only other things I had to feed her were several jars of strained carrots. What a mess! The terry cloth bib she had been wearing got stuffed into her diaper bag and forgotten - for over 3 months. When I discovered the wretched thing, it could have passed for a Halloween accessory. The furry black mildew complimented the carrots just perfectly. Never one to throw anything away, I shrugged my shoulders and tossed it into the stain bucket. I left it in there for about four months, so it went through several changes of solution. By the time I washed it, it was as good as new - no trace of mildew or carrots! (Stubbornness CAN pay off sometimes!)


Beth B said...

Thanks so much for the recipe! Yesterday I just about threw out a mud-stained pair of Ashton's khaki jeans that two soaks of Oxy-Clean wouldn't fix. I can't wait to try this!!!

Libby said...

Good post.