Kids and Clothes
Tips for Clothes Shopping and Care
- Take inventory of clothes and make a list of essential items.
- Before shopping, explore clothes in magazines and catalogs and come to agreement about appropriate clothing.
- Check the return and exchange policies before buying. Sales items may be non-refundable.
- To save money and prevent choices that are never worn, delay shopping until school is in session. Shopping two weeks after school has started gives a chance to find out what's "in" and what's not.
- Buy a couple of trendy items that may quickly go out of style, but spend most money on basic tops, shorts, pants and skirts that can be worn many ways.
- If expensive clothes are desired, negotiate a budget with your parents and decide how to buy the clothes needed for the year.
- Sort articles by color, keeping whites, darks, and medium colors together. Lighter garments can pick up dyes from darker colors.
- Separate man-made fabrics, like polyester from natural fibers such as cotton. Man-made fibers can attract the oils that are released from natural fibers during washing. These oils can build up and make spots more noticeable.
- Wash heavily soiled, dirty, items separately from slightly soiled items. This will help prevent fading and keep colors brighter.
- Try to have large and small items in each washer load. This will let the items move more freely during the washing cycles.
- Sort delicate fabrics and loose knits from "tougher" fabrics.
- Garments which generate lint, such as fleece sweat shirts and towels, should be washed separately.
- Fold clothes immediately after finished in the dryer to prevent wrinkles.
- Knit items can be wrinkle free if partially dried in the dryer and hung on hangars to finish drying.
- If dyes bleed, continue to wash the garment separately until no color bleeds in the wash water.
- Deal with the stain as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more time the stain has to soak in and/or dry, making it more difficult to remove.
- Lift or gently scrap off any excess material from the fabric. Use a cloth or a towel to gently blot and soak up any liquid. Don't rub! Rubbing can spread the stain and cause it to penetrate deeper into the fabric.
- Identify what caused the stain. In order to know what to do for the stain, you need to know what caused it.
- Follow the instructions on any presoak, prewash, or stain removers. It's best to test a small out of the way area of the fabric first.
- If stains aren't entirely removed after washing, try rewashing the item. Allowing the item to dry, or putting it in the dryer, can set the stain for good.
- Always read and follow the care instructions and any warnings on the garment label.
Blood - Treat blood stains immediately.
- Flush cold water through the stain and scrape off crusted material.
- Soak for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1 quart of lukewarm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent, and 1 tablespoon ammonia. Use cool/lukewarm water. Heat can permanently set protein stains. Rub gently from the back to loosen stain.
- Soak another 15 minutes in above mixture. Rinse. Soak in enzyme product for at least 30 minutes. Soaked aged stains for several hours. Launder.
- If the blood stain is not completely removed by this process, wet the stain with hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. Caution: Do not leave this mixture longer than 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
- If blood stain has dried, pretreat with prewash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent, or a paste of granular laundry product and water. Launder using bleach safe for fabric.
- Treat the stain with a prewash spray or pretreat with a product containing enzymes. Rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent. Launder.
- If stain remains, relaunder with bleach that is safe for the fabric. If stain still remains, treat as a "Dye Stain."
- Saturate the stain with a pretreatment stain remover.
- Rub the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder in hottest water safe for the fabric.
- Do not use soap (bar, flake, or detergents containing natural soap), since soap could make stain permanent or at least more difficult to remove.
- If stain remains launder with bleach safe for the fabric.
- Soak the entire garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powered bleach. Check the garment care label and check for color fastness first. And, be aware that during soaking all colors may be lightened.
- If the stain remains and the garment is colorfast, soak the entire garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Again, test for colorfastness first.
- Caution: Chlorine bleach may change the color of the garment or cause irreversible damage. Therefore, it is important to check for color fastness before using. If the stain does not come out within 15 minutes of bleaching, it cannot be removed by bleaching, and any further exposure to bleach will weaken the fabric.
- Note: To check for color fastness to liquid chlorine bleach, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1/4 cup of water. Use an eyedropper to put a drop of this solution on a hidden seam or pocket edge inside the garment. Let it stand two minute, then blot dry. If there is no color change it is safe to use the product. Powered bleaches have directions for doing colorfastness tests.
- There are also a number of dye removers/strippers, such as one from Rit, which are available in drug and grocery stores. However, color removers will also take out fabric colors as well as the stain.
Fruits and Fruit Juices ( For Cherry & Blueberry see "Dye Stains")
- Launder with detergent in hottest water safe for the fabric. Do not use soap (bar, flake, or detergents containing natural soap), since soap could make stain permanent or at least more difficult to remove.
- Soak tough stains for 30 minutes in 1 quart of warm water and 1 teaspoon of enzyme presoak product.
- To remove old or set stains may require washing with bleach that is safe for the fabric.
- If all the sugars are not removed a brown stain will appear when the fabric is heated in the dryer or is ironed, as the sugar is carmelized.
Grease, Hand Lotion, Makeup (oil-based), Ointment/Salve, & Motor Oil
- Saturate light stains with a pretreatment spray stain remover and wait several minutes for it to penetrate. Rub with a heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent. Launder.
- If color stain remains, launder with chlorine bleach if safe for the fabric, or use an all-fabric bleach. Always test for colorfastness before using bleach.
- Place heavy stains face down on folded paper towels. Apply dry cleaning fluid to the back of stain. Replace towels frequently. (Carefully read and follow instructions on the product package.) Let air dry; rinse. Launder in hottest water safe for the fabric.
- If color stain remains, treat as a "Dye Stain."
Ink (solvent soluble) - With ink you generally need to act fast to have a chance. Also, the heat in the dryer can set the stain.
- First, sponge the area around the stain with denatured alcohol. Then apply the alcohol directly on the stain.
- Next, place the stain face down on clean white, paper towels. Apply alcohol to the back of the stain. Replace towels frequently. Continue until no further ink is removed. Then rinse thoroughly.
- Rub with heavy duty liquid detergent and launder in hottest water safe for fabric, with bleach safe for fabric. Always check for color fastness first.
- Instead of alcohol, you could use dry cleaning solvent, such as Carbona, Energine, Goddard's. (Be sure to read and follow the instructions on the product lable. These products are toxic.) Also, first try a hidden inside seam to be sure any garment dye won't be affected.
- Some inks on white fabric may be removed with a dye stripper. You should be able to find this in areas where package dyes are sold. For stains on colored fabrics, check for dye stability in a hidden area before using. Also, be aware that these products will affect any colors on the fabric.
Ink (permanent) - Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove
- To have any chance you need to treat immediately. The first step is to force water through the stain before it dries to remove excess ink. Allow to dry.
- Sponge the stain with dry cleaning solvent (read and follow the directions carefully, it is toxic). Allow the fabric to dry. Rub a liquid detergent into the stain. Rinse.
- Soak the stain in warm water to which 1 to 4 tablespoons of household ammonia have been added.
- Rinse and repeat if stain is lessening. Launder.
- Some inks on white fabric may be removed with a dye stripper. Follow package insturctions. For stains on colored fabrics, check for dye fastness in a hidden are before using. Also, be aware that these products will affect all colors on the fabric.
- Place the stain face down on folded paper towels. Sponge area with dry-cleaning solvent. Replace towels frequently; let dry; rinse.
- Rub with a heavy-duty liquid detergent and launder.
- Repeat treatment if needed using an all-fabric bleach, because it is less damaging to colors and fabric.
- If stain remains, treat as a "Dye Stain."
- For stains from nail polish, apply nail polish remover to the back of the stain while laying the fabric on white absorbent towels. Replace towels frequently.
- Then rinse and launder.
- Never use nail polish remover on acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, as they will dissolve. Take these fabrics to the dry cleaner.
- Saturate the area with pretreatment laundry stain remover. Wait a couple of minutes for the product to penetrate the stain. For stubborn stains, rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent. Launder immediately.
- If color stain remains, soak the entire garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powered bleach. Be aware that all the colors may lighten.
- If the stain persists, and the garment is white or colorfast, soak in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. But, be sure to read the garment label regarding the use of bleach. Bleach can damage some dyes and prints, and bleaching damage is irreversible. And, if the stain is not removed in 15 minutes, it cannot be removed by bleaching and further bleaching will only weaken the fabric.
- Caution - Since bleaches can alter the color of a fabric as well as the stain, bleach the whole garment and do not try to bleach just the spot (again, be sure bleaching is permitted).
- For heavy stains, apply dry-cleaning fluid to back of stain over absorbent white paper towels. (Check product label for instructions and follow carefully.) Let dry; rinse. Proceed as above.