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Laundry Tips and Tricks: Babies and Toddlers Edition

If your kids are anything like mine, they get their clothes (and occasionally mine) really dirty. Fortunately, I was raised by a laundry guru who passed on her stain removal tricks – and I’ve learned a couple tricks of my own. Here are my favorite laundry tips and tricks. You might also enjoy these cleaning tips for parents!

Tips and tricks to deal with all the laundry kids create, from treating stains to learning how to not lose socks in the wash! #laundrytips #momtips #parentingtips #mamasmiles

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Laundry Tips and Tricks: Baby and Toddler Edition

Laundry Tips and Tricks
  • Pre-treat stains with a Spray N Wash Stain Stick. The great thing about using a stain stick is that you can put it on right when you take dirty clothes off and then wait up to a week before washing the outfit – and it will still work. I’m much more likely to remember a stain as I’m removing the outfit than I am while loading the washing machine with two toddlers eagerly “helping”. I keep our stain stick in my dresser, not in the laundry room. Stain stick works great on getting ball point pen out of clothing. It’s a great way to remove chocolate and other greasy stains, too.
  • Add OxiClean to any load that might have any stains. OxiClean is a great way to remove grass, grape juice, blood, and dirt stains from clothing. You can use OxiClean to pretreat clothing by wetting a toothbrush and dipping it in the detergent and then scrubbing the clothing. Just run a spot check first and make sure the toothbrush is well out of reach of children. I don’t do this where my kids can see, either, since I don’t want them using their toothbrushes creatively.
  • If you use Country Save laundry detergent, most stains will come out even if you forget to pre-treat. This is an unscented laundry detergent; I usually add a few drops of lemon essential oil to our loads (lavender for sheets and towels because it is nice and calming).
  • DO NOT pre-treat any marks on clothing that come from washable markers or crayons. Pre-treating can set the stain from these products, which should wash out perfectly if you leave them alone.
  • If a stain doesn’t come out, air dry the item and try again. Putting stained clothes in the dryer sets the stain.
  • A little sunshine works wonders on baby spit-up and poop stains – even on clothing that has been sitting in a bin.
  • You can get pretty much anything out of white clothing with regular bleach, just make sure to rinse the bleach out thoroughly. Regular bleach is so toxic that it scares me, though, so I don’t usually have any in the house.
  • Stick tiny baby and toddler socks in Mesh Laundry Bags (sometimes called mesh lingerie bags) before washing to keep pairs together.
  • If you dry a load of laundry with a crayon, you can get it out by running the load through a HOT wash with a little laundry detergent and some oxiclean. Toothpaste and a toothbrush works wonders at getting crayon out of a dryer drum. It even smells nice. Run a load of rags to remove any remaining crayon/toothpaste before running a load of clothes you care about. I once washed and dried FOUR crayons that my darling daughter had put in her pockets. I hadn’t even thought to check her pockets, as she was only one and I didn’t think she knew what pockets were for…

Have any other laundry tricks to share? I’d love to hear – ESPECIALLY if you know how to get out gel pen. That’s one stain I can only get out through lots of repeat washes!

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

9 thoughts on “Laundry Tips and Tricks: Babies and Toddlers Edition”

  1. You know, I never knew that pretreating the markers and crayons was probably what was setting the stains!

  2. LOVE the idea of keeping the stain stick in the dresser!!! So smart you are! : )Stuff in pockets… funny, I was JUST thinking about that this evening as I checked the pockets of my jeans. Thinking that in 10 years, I might very well have three teenage daughters who regularly launder their lipgloss, dollar bills, gum, etc if I follow the status quo, but that I could avoid that (maybe) by intentionally training them to check pockets EVERY TIME they take their clothes off for the day.Socks…Great idea to wash them in a bag. That assumes they all made it into the laundry room in the first place. Right now, I have a shoe box on the dryer for “single socks” — when I fold a load, if I can’t QUICKLY find a match, I throw it in the box. Then once a week or so, the girls help me go through the box and see if we can find any matches. There are a few lonely souls that have been in there a long time now, but I hate to dash their hopes of reconnecting with their lifetime partner someday… so in the box they stay…

  3. Some really useful tips, thanks! My only other tip is drying in the sun. I have no idea for gel pen stains!!

  4. Mary Anne,Thanks for coming by my blog today. I think Elijah’s doll has helped him a lot in learning how to care for babies. I would love to know how you made the doll an outfit! =)

  5. I find that clothesline drying is great for getting whites white again, especially with cloth diapers. Not only will this help with your hydro bill, but clothesline dried clothing smells great!I feel the same way about bleach, so I keep only bleach pucks. These dissolve in the washer and are generally sealed in a blister pack, so they are easy to keep away from kids.

  6. Thanks for all these great tips!! I really need a mesh bag, I’m always losing those tiny socks!=)

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