My son and I are stain factories. I know this because my wife reminds me of it whenever she does the laundry.
Of course, my son has an excuse – he’s a kid. I, however, am a 30-something adult male with a love of cooking and a tendency to play with my dog and son, which often involves dirt. So every laundry day I get treated to my wife taunting me from the laundry room. It usually goes something like this:
“Honey! Could you come here for a minute?”
“Sure!” I say, tearing myself away from the Xbox and wandering over to the laundry room.
“How the heck did you do this?” Invariably, she’s pointing out a massive stain on one of my shirts that involves either:
A) Paw prints from the dog
B) Olive oil spatters from frying/sautéing/searing
C) Salsa or other condiment, since like any other red-blooded American male, I enjoy dipping my food in various sauces and occasionally am not paying close enough attention while doing so.
“Ummm…I’m not really sure.” Actually, I’m usually fairly sure.
“I swear, it’s like having two kids!” This is usually stated with some amount of self-satisfaction, since my wife is much better at avoiding salsa incidents than I am. At this point I usually shrug, smile and return to the Xbox, leaving her to hose the offending stain down with Shout.
However, years of this routine have given me insight into how I could avoid these conversations. Which is not to say that I remember these sage words every time – I sometimes tend to forget my own advice, so this is definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” situation.
1) Treat stains as they happen, not after the TV show ends, you beat one more level, or never – The easiest time to get a stain out is right when it happens. That’s when you have a shot of just soaking it with water and wiping it away. Not three days later when it gets pulled out of the laundry pile. If possible, go change and hose it down with Shout or the stain treatment of your choice.
2) Pre-treating is your friend – While the first instinct of man and child may be to hide the massive glob of nacho cheese adorning that brand new shirt, positive thinking doesn’t get stains out. You’ve got to soak it with some sort of pre-treatment, especially for an oil-based stain like the aforementioned cheesy goodness.
3) Honesty is the best policy – Even if you’ve pre-treated, if you aren’t the one doing the laundry you need to let that person know what you’ve done so they can make sure to either treat again if it’s a few days later, or set the washer on the appropriate cycle if the laundry will be done in short order. If you don’t, be prepared to hear the phrase “What did you do to this shirt!?” on a regular basis.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Stain Treat feature on our new line of front-load washers. It virtually eliminates the need to pre-treat. So, no more stain sticks and sprays – just throw in your clothes. Stain Treat works by gradually raising the water temperature from cold to hot so it can tackle a range of cold- and hot-water stains in one load. It’s genius.
I should also tell you that our home wasn’t the only place where stain removal was forever changed. Check out these videos to see what happened when real families put Kenmore Elite laundry pairs to the stain-treating test.