Bane of Existence: Removing Stains from Kids’ Clothing

removing stains from kids clothingLearning how to effectively remove stains from kids’ clothing is at the top of many moms’ lists. And sometimes—the bane of every mom’s existence. Around here someone is always in search of a magic remedy to remove something that their little hunk o’ love has managed to get onto an outfit. And usually? It’s something that’s either one of your very favorite outfits—or the most expensive. Sigh. Sound familiar??

The good news–most stains can be removed with a little bit of elbow grease. And because we know you want to know our secrets, here are some of our very favorite tip for getting stains out for good so your kiddos’ clothes can stay clean and bright all year long.


Treating the stain quickly can make all the difference in the world. And if an accident happens when you see it, treat that stain post haste. Blot the offending spot and remove as much of it as you can before it sets in—this goes a long way in helping the stain go bye-bye for good.

Grab the Vinegar

Vinegar has long been used in the wash to eliminate odors, but did you know this laundry powerhouse can also knock out stains? And conveniently, vinegar is something that most of us have on hand at all times. When stains strike, run to the pantry and grab a bottle of white vinegar. Saturate the stain, allow it to soak in, and then wash as usual.

Soak it Out

Tough stains can sometimes require a good long, soak. First, read the clothing’s care label to make sure a soak won’t lead to total ruination (that sounds ominous, doesn’t it?). Next, completely submerge the garment in water for at least one hour. For dried stains, add a little laundry detergent or a stain-removing powder such as Oxi-Clean. Rinse thoroughly after soaking and then wash as usual.

Delta Dawn, What’s That Power You Have On

We all have our own tried and true DIY remedies and one of our favorites is Dawn soap. Seriously, if you aren’t using Dawn and don’t know about all the superpower attributes of Dawn for just about anything around the house, well, you’re welcome. In addition to being an ingredient in recipes like Armpit Stain Remover and Homemade Shout, it’s also good for removing driveway grease, unclogging toilets, shining up kiddie pools and apparently everything else in the universe including, most likely, leaping tall buildings with a single bound. Oh, and if you’re not yet reading Jill’s blog (all these links are her brilliance), start now!

Fels What?

Another favorite DIY stain remover was handed down by one of our moms and is this little secret weapon called Fels Naptha Laundry Soap. In our houses (and in the houses of all our girlfriends), there’s a bar of Fels Naptha in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in the laundry room—yes, Virginia, it’s that good. Get a stain, run it under some cold water and grab your bar of Fels Naptha and rub it in. This will take out even the most difficult stains—it’s really amazing. It can be tricky to find, but look for it in the laundry section of your favorite grocery store, near the bottom shelf. You’ll thank us for that one, we promise!

Whisk Lip Gloss Accidents Away

Lip gloss explosions are no fun. Nor is having a three-year-old get ahold of your favorite tube of lip gloss and having a heyday “painting” his shirt. Or worse, your favorite Lululemon yoga pants. Our friend Ang England from UntrainedHousewife (another of our favorite blogs) had great luck removing lip gloss stains with Whisk and we’ve filed that advice away for future lip gloss emergencies.

Check Before Drying

One last piece of advice? If you miss a stain and it doesn’t come out in the wash, all is not lost – as long as you catch it before the dryer bakes it on forever. Make sure to give garments a thorough once-over in between cycles, and if you find a stain you missed, employ one of the methods listed above to get it out for good.

Have you tried any of these stain-removing methods? What works best in your house? Any advice for the rest of us that you would like to share? We’d love to hear your secrets!!

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