Advice from Mom: Treat Those Holiday Stains as Soon as Possible!

by Rae Osenbaugh

During the holiday season, entertaining is at its peak, putting everything from favorite outfits to treasured table linens at a greater than usual risk for spots and stains. Stains should be treated as soon as possible, preferably before they have dried. Gently sponge the stain. Avoid rubbing, it can spread the stain and/or damage the fabric. When in doubt about the stains origin, rinse or soak in cold water before laundering or applying a stain remover. Washable items should be laundered after treatment to remove residues of the stain and stain remover. Heavy stains may require a prewash or presoak.

Prewash soil and stain removers work particularly well on oil-based stains, such as cooking oils, cosmetics and animal fats, and on polyester fibers. Prewash products are available in pump spray, liquid, stick, gel, or aerosol forms. The stick and gel versions are great for instant treatment, because they can be left on the garment for up to a week. Sprays or liquids should be used to pretreat stains just prior to washing.

Chocolate or protein stains, such as baby formula, dairy products, eggs, and blood, should be treated using an enzyme presoak. These granular products are used to soak laundry prior to washing. Follow the label directions as to soaking time and temperature--generally, a 30 minute or longer period in warm or cool water.

Spin or wring the solution out of the garment before beginning the wash cycle. If the stain still remains, rewash, using a bleach safe for the fabric.

Season's greetings to all!

Rae is the mother of nine (and grandmother of two) in central Nebraska. She says her house runs smoothly due to "organized chaos, and lots of lists! Anyone wishing to drop her a line is welcome to at

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