When you have man sized and little Mudlet sized muck magnets living in your house, then having an effective stain removal product to hand is essential.
For years I have despaired at Muds’ ability to get oil and dirt on every article of clothing he puts on and have struggled to get some of these stains out, scrubbing with washing up liquid before a wash and even buying those extortionately priced and pretty ineffective branded stain removal products (you know the ones I mean – bright pink packaging, with an eye watering price tag), using a huge amount of the latter to ‘treat’ the stain pre-wash and another large dollop in the machine, usually with mixed and/or disappointing results. To be honest for the price of the stuff I’d expect it to work every time, first time and without the need to use half a tub for each stain.
Another frustrating fact about Mud is his tendency to forget that he is wearing a decent pair of jeans or his best shirt/t-shirt when he decides, on the spur of the moment, to check out a potential problem with Annie which usually involves lying on the filthy, oil stained gravel to peer up at her engine/gearbox/exhaust etc, or he goes in search of something in the workshop, brushing past oily engine parts, or lifting grease/paint covered items out of his way in his quest for whatever it is that he’s looking for.
My anguished pleas for him to change into one of his working tops (off which he has plenty due to his aforementioned tendency) or his old ‘falling to bits so it doesn’t matter how dirty you get these’ jeans, are met with a “It isn’t worth changing, I’ll only be a minute.”
Famous last words which have often been followed with,”Hunny, I’ve got some oil on my ……..”!
When little Mudlet found her legs, it quickly became apparent that she had inherited this magnetism to muck and oil from her father and that she was also prone to falling over fresh air, usually at speed and even now, hardly a day goes by without some new scrape, bruise or bump appearing about her small person. Another skill she has inherited from Mud, although his scrapes, cuts and bruises are usually to do with trying to access something on Annie which almost inevitably requires the use of a hammer, sharp ended screwdriver or chisel and more often than not, ends up with a flurry of cursing and swearing from Mud whilst he does a peculiar dance around clutching the part of himself he has just hit!
So the long and the short of it was that I needed to find a solution to stain removal, that worked most of the time and didn’t cost an arm an a leg. Then about a year ago, whilst looking for an equally cost effective way of cleaning out and freshening up my washing machine, I came across a tip for using baking soda. By putting 50g of baking soda, together with a teaspoon of lemon juice into the detergent drawer and running the machine on a normal wash whilst empty, you could clean the innards of your machine (I’m not talking limescale here by the way, I’m talking stale water and scum that can build up over time).
So I tried it and it seem to work but whilst reading the on-line responses to this tip, I came across a reference for washing soda crystals for general stain removal as well as machine cleaning. So I read some more and it seemed to be the answer to all my laundry problems, although I did have my doubts but for the cost of £1 for a kilogram bag, as opposed to £5 for the equivalent weight ‘pink’ tub, I was prepared to give it a try.
Well guys, it works! A tablespoonful into the drawer whilst washing sheets and towels on a hot wash (I use a 60 degree wash for these rather than the ‘boil’ wash) or for whites or bright colours on a cooler 30 or 40 degree wash, makes all the difference.
As for individual stains:
- pour cold water onto the stain (cold water NOT hot as hot seals stains in immediately and then nothing will shift them);
- then rub a heaped teaspoon of washing soda crystals into the area;
- fold the item in on itself to hold the crystals in place and place into the machine;
- load the rest of your washing in and add your normal detergent/softener etc; and then
- put a tablespoon of soda crystals into the machine drawer and put onto your preferred cycle.
I find this works on most of the stains I come across, especially dried on stains – that’s dried on NOT washed in – I have yet to find anything that works on stains that have already been through the wash cycle but if you have, then please feel free to share it with me.
Yesterday I had to deal with little Mudelts school dress. Another tumble on the school playground on Tuesday had resulted in a cut knee and some blood was on the front of the dress. By the time she got home, the blood was well and truly dried on and so I told her to put it in the laundry basket and I’d deal with it later in the week.
So yesterday, I put the dress through the 40 degree wash cycle after first treating it with the washing soda crystals and, as you can see, the stain has disappeared. Not bad at all really and certainly worth a try at that price.