It can get pretty scary in the laundry room this time of year. Here are some heavy-duty tips for the stains you dread the most, including one stain remover that will help after the Halloween haul…
Beat the blood spots: Nose bleeds and elbow scrapes happen! With blood stains, it’s important to act fast. Don’t use hot water on a blood stain. It will set the stain. Instead, let cold water run over the bloodied fabric. Then make a paste with unseasoned meat tenderizer (make sure the ingredients list either “bromelain” or “papain”) and cold water, and put it on the stain. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse off the tenderizer and wash the garment as usual. Bromelain is derived from pineapple and papain from papaya. Both are enzymes that are good at breaking down protein fibers (which ultimately helps to dissolve blood and tenderize meat).
Help for “zoo pits”: If your white shirts develop yellow underarm stains, wash them instead of dry cleaning—this works better for such stains. Wash garments as soon as possible after perspiring, using detergent or stain remover with oxygen bleach. If your batch of whites is still plagued by underarm yellow, invest in a prewash stain-remover product such as PitStop or Raise, designed for yellow underarm stains. To prevent armpit stains: Apply antiperspirant at bedtime, when the body has less sweat. Or purchase disposable adhesive underarm shields to protect your best apparel (or you can cut panty shields to fit the armpit area of your sleeves).
Get rid of chocolate stains: Trick or treating means lots of chocolate that ends up on hands…then pants and shirts. Make a paste with borax powder (available at supermarkets and drugstores) and water—you can also use meat tenderizer (see above) and water—and rub it into the stain. Let the paste remain for one hour, brush it off and launder as usual.
Give grass stains the rub: If your little ghouls came home with grass stains on their knees, cover the stained area with rubbing alcohol and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse out the alcohol with warm water, and launder the clothing as usual.
Thanks to the Wall Street Journal and WikiHow.com for help with these tips.