A Laundry Experiment

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Perhaps I’ve never made it totally and thoroughly clear that I really hate to spend money. My parents think I am slightly hilarious. Honestly, I was never this way until about two years ago, when I started thinking seriously about being a stay-at-home-mom and needing to cut back our budget.

One thing I’ve always hated buying, though, is laundry detergent. It’s so expensive! So, for pretty much our entire marriage, I’ve used Arm & Hammer. I think it works well, they have an unscented/undyed formula that I’ve been able to use for Libbie’s clothes, and it’s the least expensive decent brand out there.

We’ve reached the point in toddlerhood, however, that I am surrounded by stains. Spaghetti sauce on the shirt. Blueberries on the pants. Applesauce in her hair (too bad laundry can’t take care of that).  I’ve taken to soaking things in OxiClean overnight, but sometimes those stubborn stains linger on. It kills me to see stains on clothes that are brand-new–or even just new to us!

So when Mr. V came home with a sample of Tide Stain Release, which has been heavily promoted online and on TV, I decided to do a little test drive. I’d not bought any yet because of the high price, even with coupons. But I decided if it could truly get out tough laundry stains that OxiClean couldn’t, I would cave and buy some.

Here are my BEFORE specimens:

 Grease stains on my favorite maternity long-sleeved t-shirt (had been soaked in OxiClean and battled before to no avail)

 Food stain (peanut butter?) on brand-new Gymboree shirt (not yet washed, sat in dirty clothes for a week)

Bib with spaghetti-sauce stain (fresh)

Shirt with snot on it (just keepin’ it real!)

Not sure if you can tell, but this brand-new Gymboree shirt has some sort of bluish spot from its first run in the washer. I was distressed!

So I threw them all in the washer, normal cycle on warm with regular detergent and the Tide stain release packet. Here’s how they turned out:

My shirt wasn’t perfect, but the bigger spots seemed to be gone. I could at least wear it in public again!

The collar of the shirt was clean as can be!

The bib wasn’t perfect–but it WAS spaghetti sauce. It did get a great deal of the stain out.

As expected, this shirt was fine. It’s so cute I just need to show it off. 🙂
I forgot to take a before picture of this one, but it had some spots on the bottom (mac and cheese) that hadn’t come out after one round in the washer. Beautifully clean!

Aloha! No blue to be seen!

The one thing I did NOT like was that the tabs are heavily scented–and now so are Libbie’s clothes. She’s not shown any skin ailment or anything, but she’s also never worn clothes that have been washed in scented anything. I am hoping it doesn’t bother her.
So, Tide won me over. Not saying I’m going to fork over the money for regular Tide detergent, but I’ll be purchasing some Stain Release tabs when they go on a good sale and I have a coupon. Gotta keep up the battle against toddler stains!
This is linked to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.
This experiment was entirely of my own initiative and is not associated with Proctor and Gamble in any way. If you want to try some, you can find a coupon for Stain Release from P&G here.


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13 thoughts on “A Laundry Experiment

  1. Oooh! Very nice! So impressed with your laundering skillz!

    I actually bought some Tide Stain Release when it was on sale with a coupon so I could do a review. But I'm so in love with OxiClean, I can't quite pull myself together to do it. You've convinced me I'd better try it!

    (I realize you're not asking for advice, so just ignore if you'd like):
    For the grease stains, try blue Dawn dish soap. It even works well on things like peanut butter. Or bacon grease {ahem}. (We our a houseful of bacon lovers)

    Put on a drop, rub in with your finger and then wash as usual.

    Love this!! 🙂


  2. I got some of these at BlogHer and also find they work really well. I have been using an Oxiclean stick lately that works well too.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I was just lamenting all the toddler stains last night.

    I've ruined so many clothes in the wash. My reds bleed even after multiple washes; it drives me nuts! My favorite sweater was apple green, then it got some red stains, which I tried to gently bleach, which led to yellow stains, so now it is essentially tie-dyed green, yellow, and red. Hideous, but it is so comfortable, I still wear it around the house some.

  4. I really appreciate the full explanation. It all sounded like it was worth a try until you said that it was heavily scented. I have 2 kids of 3 that have excema and we only use free and clear here to keep there skin from mass breakouts. That really helped me not to make a big mistake

  5. I do have to give one tip that has completely revolutionized my laundry – how to get out grease stains. Even if they have been through the dryer. First, put cornstarch or baby powder on it and rub it in. I usually let it sit a bit, and the powder absorbs the grease. Then shake the clothing out, get an old toothbrush put on some Dawn dish soap and water, and scrub it into the spot (it will be in white after you shake it out). Wash as normal, and it will be gone. This simple tip has saved countless pieces of clothing in my house!

  6. I enjoyed your post! I like how engaging it was, even though it was really only about laundry LOL! 🙂 Plus, I think you have convinced me to give that a try too…

    Happy TILT!
    Mine's here!


  7. Have you tried leaving stained clothes out in the sun? I was skeptical, but it's worked like a charm–even on an outfit where the red had bled!

  8. You know how crunchy and organic I try to be, so I shudder to even admit this, but for bad stains and set-in stains, I've found that Shout Advanced works wonders. Probably full of every nasty petrochemical, neurotoxin and carcinogen known to man ha ha…but when it comes to rescuing a favorite shirt and all of my natural remedies have failed…it has been a lifesaver. But I do have to agree that a combination of oxygen bleach, dish detergent, and good old soaking, scrubbing, and drying in the sun will take care of most of our stains.

  9. I use the liquid Tide Stain release as a pretreat on all stain/oopsies. I have ended up using less of the product and getting the same results. I have a syringe in my laundry room for precision jobs.

    I love this stuff!

  10. Leaving tomato based stains in the sun will fad them completely. Even old ones will disappear after sitting in the sun. This works wonders for spaghetti and salsa. 🙂 I love your blog!!

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