Making Clothes Outlast Your Kids!

“There is enough on earth for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”   – Gandhi

Don’t forget to enter the give-away.

First in a series of getting more life from your clothing.

A constant battle in our house is getting the most life out of clothing. The biggest part of this challenge is stain removal.

I’ve recently come across a home-made formula that works. Yippee!

Use equal parts hydrogen peroxide, water and liquid laundry soap (I prefer Ecos) or castile soap. For each cup of solution, add 1/2 cup baking or washing soda. Mix well. You should get a thin paste. Store in squeeze bottle or bowl with lid. I keep a toothbrush with it. When treating stains, the key is to treat them RIGHT away. Get the spots wet, brush solution onto fabric with the grain. Allow to sit for 10-30 minutes (do not allow to dry). Add to wash.

For grass and grease stains, I keep a bar of castile soap on hand. Get the spot wet and rub directly with the bar. Follow up with toothbrush, brushing with the fabric grain. Allow to set for about 30 minutes, but do not allow to dry. Add to wash.

For ink stains, place a clean cloth beneath stain. Blot stain completely with rubbing alcohol. Allow spot to remain saturated with rubbing alcohol for at least 30 minutes. Do not allow to dry. Add to wash.

Dark stains in the underarm area of your shirts? Place an all white cheesecloth or thin pastry towel (you can use paper towels, but that’s not very earth friendly) under and above the stain. Use your iron on Medium (no steam). The waxy build up (these stains are from underarm deodorants) will heat up and absorb into the cloth. Now, wet the entire area with hydrogen peroxide, wait about 30 minutes (but do not allow to dry) and add to wash. If dark areas have been present for a while or been through the dryer, you may need to repeat.

If you have rust stains on your clothing, wet with lemon juice and sprinkle with kosher salt. Rub throughly, allow to set for 15-30 minutes (do not allow to dry) and add to wash. For rust in your well water, add 1 cup of lemon juice to your wash water at beginning of cycle and again during final rinse.

For odor control (bath towels, mats, other musty articles) add 1/2 cup vinegar to the final rinse. It doesn’t smell pretty, but does neutralize the odors. You can make a ready to use mix by combining equal parts vinegar and water in a bottle, add 1 tsp of tea tree or other essential oil per cup of solution. (Tea Tree oil is also great for getting rid of dust mites.)

For regular brightening in whites/lights. I add ONE cup of hydrogen peroxide to the wash. It works wonders as a brightener. For dingy clothes, start water (COLD… heat sets stains) add 1 cup peroxide, 1 cup baking soda and 2 oz natural liquid laundry soap (we prefer Ecos). Then add clothes. (Be sure you have pretreated spots with natural stain remover). Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Turn machine on and complete cycle. Adding more laundry detergent than needed fades clothing. Two ounces is the standard for a large load. Read your label. Often the caps are twice the amount of soap you need per wash. This will not make your clothes cleaner!

Do not overfill the washer. This is a tough one for me, I have a habit of stuffing as much in as I can fit! For stains or dingy loads, I stop with the machine about 3/4 full.

Do NOT put anything with spots on it into the dryer. You often cannot see that the spot is still present while the clothing is wet. Once it goes into the dryer it is set for LIFE. Lay flat or hang to dry, check for stains once dry, repeat removal if needed.

Laundry room must have supplies-

*All natural LIQUID laundry soap (such as Ecos) or Castile soap

*Bar Castile Soap

*Baking or Washing Soda


*Hydrogen Peroxide

*Lemon Juice

*Rubbing Alcohol

*Kosher Salt

*Tea Tree or other essential oil (such as eucalyptus) if desired

*2-3 Squeeze Bottles



About PolkaDotMommy

Wife to a teacher extraordinaire... Mama to Five littles... Conservative Catholic Christian with a Strong Environmentalist Mentality... Respecting Life... Living for our Savior... Learning to trust God in all things.
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8 Responses to Making Clothes Outlast Your Kids!

  1. Julie says:

    Where do you buy the Ecos or castile soap? I struggle with keeping my daughter’s clothes stain free. She seems to always be drooling or getting food on them! And then I forget about them and dry them in. Oops!

  2. Meg says:

    Thanks for the info!
    I have, for years, done the vinegar thing to help with the mildewy odor, especially if clothes have been sitting in the washer too long. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. I have even let the laundry soak overnight. Any ideas?
    The alcohol for inks stains- makes sense, I remember using Aqua Net hairspray on ink stains (long time ago!)

  3. Julie- We buy our Ecos at Costco (Magnolia and Lily)… in a GIANT bottle. It’s also available at Whole Foods and some Kroger/Fred Meyer Natural Sections.

    The Castile soap can be purchased at just about any natural grocery such as Whole Foods. Dr. Bronners is a great liquid that I have found even on the low shelfs of most groceries & Target. has Kirks bar Castile.

    Meg- Try a mix of one cup vinegar, 1 cup baking or wash soda and 1 tsp essential oil (like tea tree or eucalyptus). The essential oil can be key if its really musty. Lemon juice works as well! I so remember the Aqua Net thing… *sigh* all those CFCs.

  4. If you have kids and want their clothes to last, you better get good at removing stains! In fact, my wife seems to have a habit of spilling things on the front of her shirts and blouses too.

  5. Stains on clothes = Mom. I might not be outside of my realm of ability level, but I am just going to make them clothes that we use for outside work.

  6. This is awesome. Going to try and find some of this stuff.

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