My kids' clothes look like they came out of a mud pile even after I just washed them! How can I get out old stains?

Tools

Story Updated: Mar 2, 2012

Expert QA

From the Editors of Las Fabulosas

Got kids? Then you’ve got stains. As much as you’d like to send tus hijos outside in plastic ponchos, it’s just not practical (or cool). That’s why I turned to my mom for stain-fighting tips. After more than 50 years of doing laundry, Mami gives us the clean dirt:

  1. Pre-treat. As soon as you see a mancha, treat it with a high-enzyme-based stain spray or stick. Mami uses liquid detergent formulated to also zap stains. For light colors, use hot water.
  2. Pre-soak. Baking soda is a handy laundry-booster. Add 1/4 cup to soapy water and soak for 20 minutes. Or, add a stain remover in your first wash. Then start the cycle.
  3. Soften. When adding fabric softener to the rinse cycle (they’re now available in a wide variety of scents), sprinkle another dash of baking soda to fight off tough odors and hard-water stains.
  4. Check before drying. If the stain is still there post-wash, repeat the first three steps. Drying will just make the stain set in worse.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/macniak

Letisha Marrero  

has contributed to Latina, The Source, iVillage.com, ParentsConnect.com and MomsLikeMe.com. She is also a contributing author to Border-line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dishes on Sex, Sass, and Cultural Shifting.