When I first started collecting clothing in 2015 I didn't have a lot of money to put towards buying maternity clothing. I had this dream that I wanted to bring to fruition, but our family was growing and I had to scrape money here and there to buy maternity clothing from Mom's that were finished with them.
It was very discouraging in the beginning. My money couldn't buy much, and what I was buying was pretty depressing. If it was a maternity brand, it was tired, stained or needed repairs. I started to wonder if I had set my expectations too high. Of course not. I knew I could deliver a quality product with a reasonable price tag. I'm stubborn. I was going to bend this clothing to my will!
It would take some work, I would lose a piece here and there, but I would not compromise my standards. To make these garments look good was a lot of work in the beginning. But now I am a stain removing master! Well some of the time anyway. You win some and you lose some.
Here is a list of tried, tested, and true methods that are chemical free (and some that are not) to remove stains from your clothing.
Natural and Likely in Your Cupboard
The sun is an amazing stain remover. I first learned about sunning clothes when I started to cloth diaper. The sun will naturally clear out organic stains from clothing. I used to the sun to get a hot sauce stain out of a pair of pants, in this case it took days to remove the stain but it worked. Most stains will come out of clothing in 8 ours or less. And you don't need a clothes line. I've put garments in a sunny window and had stains fade.
Baking soda is a great stain fighter, brightener and degreaser. make a pate with water and apply it to the stain, rub it in. Use it as a presoak to brighten whites or to work on stubborn stains. I've never measure my water to baking soda ratio. I always use warm to hot water and dissolve the baking soda before I add the garment. I add enough baking soda to change the texture (Mama brain-I can't seem to find the right word for this) of the water.
With the baking soda paste, after letting the paste sit a few hours, I've also added vinegar to cause the volcanic fizzing action in the hopes that it would help lift and break up the stain.
Commercially Available Options
Presoaking your garments using your laundry detergent either in your washer or a water tight container is a great way to break up stains before you wash your clothes.
I normally presoak over night or in the morning and wash after 7:00 (gotta love those hydro rates in Ontario). If you had another garment bleed in the wash and stain other clothing, this is a great way to get the unwanted dye out. But in my experience it works best one garment at a time.
A warning, if you have brightly or rich coloured clothing,even if they have been washed before, a lengthy presoak will bleed out the colour.
I've had success presoaking stains out of clothing even after the stain was set in the dryer, but I have also had some failures.
Spray & wash/stain removal products
I've had great results with spray & wash stain removers with grease stains, and those mysterious stains that appear on tops from time to time that make the top look wet. Just spray on, let it soak in and then wash. Sometimes I had to repeat the process twice, but it always gets the wet/grease stain out.
I have used bleach on white tops with coloured accents with success. The trick is to apply it with a cotton swab (q-tip) and to not let it sit too long. the stain will disappear before your eyes, and that is when you need to rinse out the bleach. Do not get the entire shirt wet. concentrate the water to te small area you added the bleach to. If you leave bleach on too long it will burn the fabric, permanently damaging the fibers and cause yellow (or blue) stains that can not be removed.
Above are all the tips and tricks that have given me success! I've used all these methods. now for the hearsay.
Now for the Hearsay
I've heard that using powdered laundry detergent and a little bit of water works to remove pit stains. You need to scrub vigorously with a brush. But not all tops are worth saving. Have a look at the fabric in the underarm area before you try this. Does it look weakened? Has the fabric stretched and the weave of the fabric is more noticeable? Sweat is not a neutral fluid which is why it stains can stain clothing over time. It also weakens fabric over time. Sometimes some tops should just be retired and not passed on.
Lemon juice is said to brighten whites. I did try a lemon juice soak once to try to freshen up a dingy looking top but I did not have any success. I've since read that the garment should be "boiled" in a lemon juice water mix to brighten whites, but I haven't tried this yet, and because f time restraints,probably never will.
I've heard that liquid dish soap is a good degreaser not only for your dishes but for your clothes as well. I have not tried this yet, but I've heard if you use a gentle brush and massage a bit of dish soap into a grease stain it will come out in the wash.
I hope you've found these tips useful.
What are your go to stain removal tricks?