Jenn’s hack may bring back some of your given-up-for-lost baby clothes:
I found countless baby clothes ruined when my infant started eating baby food. No amount of stain treatment or bleach would get out stubborn carrot, squash, or sweet potato stains. My mother in-law gave me the best tip ever- treat the stains, wash the clothes as usual, and then lay them out in the sun while still wet. Depending on the stain, it will disappear in anywhere from thirty minutes to a few hours. It works like a charm! I have now saved all of her clothes- not a single outfit has a baby food stain on it.
This works well for stained cloth diapers too.
We sun all of DS’s clothes and dipes and found it works on all stains except banana
Jill in Atlanta says
Wow. All we need to do now is get rid of the energy guzzling dryers and put clotheslines in our backyards again. “The maid was in the garden, hanging out the clothes when along came a blackbird and snipped off her nose!” My kids had to ask me what a clothesline was. Pathetic.
Yup, line-dry, it removes a lot of baby stains. Cuts our electricity bill a bunch, too!
Wow, thanks for the tip! I will have to try this. I am so bummed that a lot of my daughter’s clothes have stains on them.
Great tip! Does it work on tea stains? Old stains?
Gina in St. Louis says
I’m totally trying this!
Too bad our rental agreement forbids “laundry lines” as an eyesore! Lame.
We got an umbrella-style clothes line last fall, and I love it.
I time the laundry so white things hang out during the brightest part of the day. Even the cloth diapers come out so white I have to remember to wear sunglasses when taking them off the line!
Sunning got rid of old milk stains on some of my cotton night shirts, too. And these stains were at least a year old. I was about to toss out the night shirts, but a good soak followed by an afternoon in the sun took care of it.
This also works on those “mystery” stains that appear when you pull clothes out of storage. We put away stain-free clothes when #1 outgrew them, only to find stains on them when we pulled them from the attic for #2. I washed them and put them out in the sun and most of the stains vanished!
If you don’t have access to a clothesline, definitely try Oxi Clean or Oxi Brite. I soak stained clothes in the washer with hot water and a few scoops of the stuff for 5-6 hours or sometimes even overnight. Then I rinse out the water and add the items to a regular load of laundry with detergent. The stains are gone! I do hear that you should be careful using Oxi Clean/Brite too much or the clothes will bleach out, but I haven’t seen that be a problem yet.
I found that Fells Naptha works great as a stain pre-treatment. We used to use Shout and OxiClean, but those failed to take out some stubborn stains like pizza grease or grass stains. Fells Naptha is an old fashioned laundry soap. It comes in a yellow bar. You can buy it at the grocery store in the laundry section.
Just wet the clothes and rub the soap on the stain, launder as usual.
This also works for older stains, FYI! And, you don’t need a laundry line for this one…you can lay it out on a towel or your car even to soak up rays!
Line drying will also make your baby clothes last a lot longer too. All baby textiles are more fragile than their adult counterparts because they have to be made so soft. Because of this, the dryer just tears them apart. Not such a big deal with clothing that only gets worn a handful of times before being outgrown, but daily use items like blankets will last ten times longer if you keep them out of the dryer!
I never would have thought to try a sunbath but it sounds really cool, I may try it with my hubby’s clothes. Baby and I have terrible allergies and I am worried about bringing in allergens. Surprisingly I have found the new Shout Gel product has managed to get out everything my little boy has managed to get on himself, even all those orange and yellow baby foods.
This worked perfectly on some hand-me-downs that were previously trash-worthy. Breastmilk poo up the back of all the sweet little things… Ugh! So sunning them was a great delight for me. I had heard of it a bunch, but still could not believe my eyes. I recently started CDing, so use it often now for diapers. It worked on a vomit stain (from my toddler) that had been laundered once. I just put the shirt out straight from the dryer, so don’t be affraid to try it dry. I just lay a big towel on my deck, or on top of mt gas grill. ;D
I was horrified to find yellow stains around the neck of almost every single baby clothes item I pulled out of storage when I needed them to use on my second daughter. The clothes went into storage without stains. It took a vigorous rubbing of spray shout as a pre-treatment. Then I soaked them all in the washer overnight in hot water with 8 scoops of oxy-clean (large load). I had to repeat this again on some of the items but luckily everything came out and then I washed them in hot water with tide and 1 scoop of oxy-clean. I had done this on some of the baby clothes last year and I am happy to report that after 9 months in storage those clothes were not yellowed when I just took them out a few days ago. In the future I will soak anything that is to be stored in oxy-clean overnight and then wash in tide even though there may be no visable stains at the time. Sometimes I think the baby soaps are too mild to compete with the proteins in spit up and poo, I haven’t noticed any stains on clothes that I had washed in hot water with tide. Knock on wood. Luckily with a lot of determination and elbow grease I have not really had to throw out any baby clothes except for a bib here and there that the dog got a hold of and chewed (he’s gross). I was thrilled to find out we were having another girl and it was a huge bonus to be able to reuse all her beautiful clothes again until I pulled them out and saw the stains. I have finally finished cleaning the first 3 months clothes and will gear up for round 2 in a few weeks. By 6 months she wasnt spitting up so hopefully when I open that container I will not have too much to de-stain!!! On normal toddler stains from food I usually use the shout spray and the tide pen, spaghetti sauces are kind of tough but if those methods fail, I soak in oxy-clean overnight. This works on clothes that have even gone through the high heat dryer already. I will definitely try the sun though, it would save lots of money on oxy-clean and energy!
I just wanted to mention to AbleApril that I actually hang my cloth diapers inside, from the curtain rods of my windows. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and had a December baby so line drying was not an option in the frigid weather. The air in the house is usually really dry in the winter too so it did double duty by getting out stains in the sun and increasing the humidity in the house.
Baby Names says
I have tried this tip & i must say it give great results. Thanks.
I first read about this tip of whitening laundry in the sun in the novel “The Girl With the Pearl Earring” – used by the Dutch centuries ago!