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Remove Your Worst Toddler Laundry Stains (No, Really)!

You have a toddler — that means you have laundry stains.

If you’re a lazy laundress like I am, you throw your worst toddler stains in the washer and pray for a miracle. It works about 20% of the time. Those are some pretty sucky odds.

I need my toddler’s clothes to go the distance. In fact, I want his clothes in good enough shape to pass on to a grateful mommy friend.

Nothing on earth pains me more than a splurge at Gap Kids only to be ruined by a marker stain on the first wear, grrr!

Let’s tackle your worst toddler laundry stains to keep your kids looking fresh (if only for a moment).


  • Stain Removal 101 1 of 10
    Stain Removal 101
    Rinse stains immediately in cold prior to washing. Fresh stains are much easier to remove so don't delay. When attempting to remove a stain, test for color fastness in a hidden spot on the clothing first.
  • Crayons 2 of 10
    Crayons
    Dampen the stain and rub with bar soap, wash with laundry soap and 1 cup of baking soda in the hottest temperature the fabric will allow.
  • Chocolate 3 of 10
    Chocolate
    Scrape (don't lick) off what you can. Soak the stain for 30 minutes in cold water. Apply liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes to the stain and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Wash on warm.
  • Fruit Juice 4 of 10
    Fruit Juice
    Soak the stain for 30 minutes in cold water. Blot white vinegar on the stain and let sit for 30-40 minutes. Wash.
  • Blood 5 of 10
    Blood
    Soak fresh blood stains in cold water (hot will set the stain). For dried blood stains, pretreat the stain with a liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes and soak the stain in warm water for 30 minutes. Wash.
  • Markers 6 of 10
    Markers
    Place a white rag under the stain and treat with dry-cleaning solution and attempt to transfer the stain onto the rag. Work from the outside of the stain in so the stain doesn't spread. Rinse and wash (and pray).
  • Grease 7 of 10
    Grease
    Place the clothing stain side down on a clean white rag. Using a sponge, dab the back of the stain with prewash, working from the center of the stain out. Allow the stain to dry. Rinse. If stain remains, pretreat and wash using the hottest temperature the fabric will allow.
  • Ketchup 8 of 10
    Ketchup
    Run cold water through the back of the stain. Treat stain with a liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes and rub the stain in the circular motion. Treat stain with prewash, let sit for 10 minutes. Wash.
  • Grass 9 of 10
    Grass
    Treat with prewash spray. Let sit for 30 minutes. Wash on the hottest temperature the fabric will allow.
  • Mud 10 of 10
    Mud
    Allow the mud to dry, wet mud is harder to remove. Once dry, brush off the excess mud. Pretreat stain with a liquid laundry detergent containing enzymes. Wash.

Laundry Tips You Want to Know:

  • Sorting sucks, but do it anyway. Read your garment care instructions (if your toddler let you keep the tag) and sort by washing method and color.
  • Don’t wash really dirty stuff with only slightly dirty stuff. All that does is spread around the dirt (don’t get me started on the irony).
  • Wash the big, bulky stuff (towels, sheets, etc.) separate from the little stuff (socks, underwear, shoelaces).
  • Never, under any circumstance dry a garment that still has a stain you’re trying to remove. If the stain didn’t come out on your first try, try to remove it again. Like a diamond, a dried stain is forever.

Have any laundry stain removal tips to share?

More on Toddler Times

Children’s Music You’ll Actually Enjoy Listening To

10 Fall Books Your Kids Will Love

Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike!

Have a Happy Haircut With Your Toddler

Try these tips on Babble’s Messy Eaters!

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