We all know that time is of the essence in removing stains, but not all of us know that pre-treating our laundry properly, can help to avoid future laundry problems. Generally, pretreating can be done by just simply applying detergent straight to the item - a dirty collar for example – rubbing it in, and then laundering as usual. Heavily soiled items may involve a little more effort.
The most common cause of dingy clothes is leftover dirt residue. So, for really dirty clothes with deep, set-in dirt and stains, you will want to presoak the entire garment. Fill a tub or bucket with just enough water to cover the garment – use the warmest water allowable by the care label. Add a full dose of laundry detergent to the water, mix, then add the garment and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the water and launder the garment as usual. If you have a number of garments of the same type and color, in the same condition, you may want to run a pre-wash cycle in the machine. Laundry Help hint: Putting too many clothes in the washer at one time, will cause dingy clothes. Do not overload the washer - clothes need room to circulate and rinse properly.
If you cannot wash stained items right away, using a pretreating spray such as Shout or a Stain Stick before putting the item in the hamper may help. Just be sure that the product you use states that it can be left on for 24 hours or more. This is a great way for teens to learn about doing laundry and contribute by pretreating their own laundry! Hang a bottle of your favorite prewash near the hamper and instruct them on how to use it.
How about pretreating before the stain even happens? Pre-treat your tablecloth by spraying with fabric and upholstery protector, to avoid stains from setting in and becoming harder to remove. Note - Spray it the day before you plan to use. Treating clothing with stain or water repellant is not typically recommended, unless you are trying to protect previously treated or water repellent clothing such as hunting pants or heavy duty work pants that are not worn everyday. Trying to treat everyday clothes with such products could be irritating to the skin and hazardous to your health.
As always, we remind you to check your care labels before treating or washing – most of us neglect to do this simple task!