Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stains begone!

M wore her current favourite dress to play group today, and in the thirty seconds that it took me to sign us in, she had managed to get blue paint on it. Just after spinning around and proudly announcing to Madame Cathy that her papa got her the dress for Christmas. D's had a few instances of getting paint on her clothes, usually just t-shirts, and I've never been able to get it out. M probably wouldn't care if her pink dress kept its new blue abstract design (the orange is from her mac and cheese lunch), but I wanted to see if I could make it look as good as new.

After a brief search, I decided to try out simple household items as stain removers, and if necessary I'd move on to some kind of bleach. My search results turned up encouraging phrases like "since tempera paints are dye-based, stains are notoriously difficult to remove", and brand names like Tide, Oxy-clean, and Shout, so I didn't have high hopes for my first efforts. I'm not the best at removing stains, and my general policy is to throw it in the wash right away and hang it in the sun to dry. This works well enough, and the girls aren't too bothered by the odd mark.

 I filled the sink with cold water and a generous splash of vinegar, then wet the stain with a bit of plain water and rubbed some baking soda in, making a paste. Into the sink it went, and it soaked there for an hour or two. I went in to check on it and was delighted to see this:

The paint actually came off! And with minimal effort.

In these years of having small children, I suspect there will be an ongoing theme of stain removal from clothing and other fabrics. I've been experimenting with this ever since I learned that bananas, avocados, cherries, and sweet potato can cause irreversible damage to cherished outfits. And in the event that I can't remove a given stain from an article of clothing, I'll have to learn not to get attached to material things, no pun intended. For today, I count this a small victory and one more idea to add to my bag of tricks.