Jennifer Schnieders shares her stain removal tips.

by Jennifer Schnieders, owner and CEO of Outbound Physical Therapy and Rehab

They say “practice makes perfect,” and that couldn’t be more true for parenting. Children give us plenty of opportunities to hone our skills for multitasking, problem solving, and crisis management. Over the past 13 years, it seems I have developed a knack for taming the beast we all face — laundry. With three boys, one of whom seems particularly clumsy or oblivious to his surroundings (it could be a little of both), I’ve had plenty of practice perfecting my stain-fighting prowess. 

It only took a couple of posts of my son’s shirts to Facebook for the questions to start rolling in about my strategy, process, and recipe. My son also learned quickly that if Mom was taking a picture of him wearing a dirty shirt, it was probably going to end up on social media and become a topic of conversation. So, for all you parents out there who struggle with clothes covered in grass, chocolate, grease, ketchup, red sauces, markers, and even blood, this recipe is for you. And yes, it even works on red wine …just not permanent marker or ink pen.

You’ll need the following supplies: a small dish or bowl, a toothbrush, dish soap, liquid OxiClean spray, OxiClean powder, and a sense of humor.

Since I go through a considerable amount of dish soap, more for laundry than for dish-washing, I buy the large bottle from Sam’s Club, but any brand will do. Put some in the microwave to heat it up. It doesn’t need to boil, but this part is particularly helpful for those grease spots that are even visible on dark clothing. If a stain is really large, I’ll pour the hot soap right onto the stain, but otherwise I dip the toothbrush into the soap and scrub it into the stain. Next, spray the areas with the liquid OxiClean, and then rub the fabric together to spread it around and into the stain. My preference is to let the soap and OxiClean soak in overnight. Every load of laundry in my house gets a scoop of powdered OxiClean as well — you just never know what stains are hiding in the hamper that no one told you about! I’m a big fan of bleach and hot water for loads of white clothes, but I use warm water for loads with these stains. 

That’s it! I’ve had pretty good luck using this method on stains that made it all the way through the dryer before I caught them. If an item of clothing is pretty covered, I might soak it in hot water with half a scoop of OxiClean for at least a couple hours and then tackle what’s left with the toothbrush process. Sometimes the process must be repeated, and just like other aspects of parenting, sometimes my solution doesn’t work at all. But that’s OK. There will always be more laundry and another shirt to challenge my skills.