If you've got a kid under 18 years old, chances are you are doing their laundry. And chances are they are not all that fastidious and have thrown some ugly stains into the family laundry for you to miraculously remove and restore to like-new condition. Somehow, I got a 10 year old son who adores red hot sauce and all manner of hot peppers. This has threatened to ruin many a PJ, school uniform shirt and slacks, fancy T Shirt, Sunday Dress Shirts, and... well, you get the picture. I discovered that Tabasco, or hot sauce, is one of the toughest stains to remove. I try to avoid having to deal with this by making my son change into dark color clothing before he slathers hot sauce on anything. But failing that, here are some tips that work for me.
How to Remove Tabasco Stains.
Soak in Oxygen Bleach like OxyClean. Test first for colorfastness, but oxygen bleach is usually safe for colors. You can make a bath of 1-2 oz. of bleach to 1 quart of water. Soak the garment, rub gently, and let it continue to soak as long as possible-preferably over night. If stain persists you may have to repeat or create a concentrated paste to treat the stain. Just mix Oxygen Bleach Powder with just enough water to make a paste. Apply generously to dampened stain. Let rest a few hours or overnight. Throw in the wash with same color load. Repeat if necessary.
Apply Detergent, Stain Removers and Vinegar. If you are lucky enough to catch the stain while it's fresh LOL, rinse under cold water. Then pour on liquid detergent concentrate and let stand as long as you can. Wash out detergent by hand then sponge on plain white vinegar if any stain remains. Let stand for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat detergent and vinegar if any stain remains. If most of the stain is gone, but there is still a light shadow, spray on a laundry stain remover like Shout or Resolve. Then throw in wash. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Eventually it will come out.
Another tough stain to remove is grease or oil. And oh, those weird mystery stains I finally figured out came from softener sheets in the dryer.
How to Remove Grease or Oil Based Stains.
Baby Powder and an Iron. If you notice the stain after washing and drying the item try this method. Stretch the item out on the ironing board so you are working with a smooth surface. Set the iron to medium hot dry heat (no steam). Sprinkle talc or baby powder lightly on the stain and rub in gently. Place a napkin or thick tissue over the powder and iron over a few times. Let cool, then brush away the powder. The heat helps release the stain and the powder absorbs it.
Treat with a Degreaser. I like Dawn Dishwashing Detergent-it works wonders and doesn't damage fabric. While on vacation this summer, my son got oil that had washed up on shore from the Gulf Oil Spill on his mostly white swimming trunks. Despite pre-treating, it wouldn't wash out. I squirted on some Dawn, rubbed the stain, and hand washed in the sink. Every bit of the stain came right out!
Spray on WD40, then use Dawn. I know it sounds crazy at first, but it really works on tough set in oil based stains. The WD40 reconstitutes the oil or grease and allows it to release and liquefy. It can then be broken down by the Dawn liquid detergent. Just rub, lather, rinse, then throw back in the regular wash.
Don't let stains frustrate you or cause you to discard perfectly good items that can be saved and restored to good condition. A little patience, and the correct stain remover, will get the job done and save your clothing, your money, and your sanity.