This was a good night. A really good night.

Johanna LOVES to eat. With her fingers. Exactly what we are eating. While yanking off her bib.

My three year old still desperately needs a bib at mealtimes, though he fights it. My 5 1/2 year old ought to wear one permanently. Just for walking, talking and breathing. Here’s her shirt from today:

Again, this was a good day. Only a few small paint stains? Bravo! Hip hip hooray!

For the longest time, I was just losing it over the daily clothing massacre that was occurring in our household. It felt so needless, so wasteful, yet I seemed to be powerless to put an end to it.

I’ve been using natural stain removers for a long time, and I was coming to grips with the fact that they just didn’t seem to cut it. Oh yes, I carefully sorted through the dirty clothes, pre-treated everything while I got my piles of laundry ready to go and my washer filled up. It didn’t matter, though. Inevitably there was at least one permanent stain left behind for all of the others that came out each time I did laundry.

I wasn’t willing to switch to something stronger and more chemical-filled. I also couldn’t afford to keep replacing my children’s clothing.

This little spray bottle became the answer to my dilemma.

There’s nothing particularly fancy about it. It is filled up with:

I’ve also made this work using my homemade stain remover, but I’ve decided that ultimately the Bac-Out works just a little better and is just as cost-effective because I buy it when it goes on sale and I water it down by half.

Here’s my trick:

I got my husband to buy three of these little bottles at the dollar store one day. I decided that I needed to put them in 3 important places:

  1. The kid’s bedroom
  2. Our bedroom
  3. The laundry room

My line of thinking is this: When you use chemical stain removers (like Shout or similar) you can usually just apply them 5 minutes before you wash, giving them a good spray or scrub, etc. These powerful removers can work quickly like that.

Natural stain removers don’t work like that. They need time to work and they need to be applied right away.

I was initially concerned about using an enzyme-cleaner like Bac-Out and leaving it sitting on our clothes for possibly days before I got around to washing them. It hasn’t been a problem. I have not noticed any marks or wearing out of clothes in places where I have sprayed them and let them sit.

Here’s me spraying Abbie’s paint-adorned shirt tonight, up in our family closet, where we keep everyone’s clothes together (look for an upcoming video of how we’ve organized our family closet!).

(Note that I am too busy taking a picture to actually spray the stain.)

Nothing dirty is allowed to go into the hamper without being looked over and sprayed first. That’s my new rule. Then they sit as long as they sit. Half a day, 5 days, it doesn’t seem to really make a difference.

The end result?

When I do actually focus my aim and pre-treat all stains immediately when clothes come off (or even immediately after the stain occurs, if I catch it that fast), something miraculous happens in the wash. Even in the cold water, natural detergent wash.

Stains come out! Hallelujah, jubilee!

It works for me, it will work for you, too. Get thee to a dollar store, get as many bottles as you have bedrooms, fill them with Bac-Out (or your favorite natural stain remover) and spray away. Soon you will be singing “oh happy day” along with me.

How do YOU ensure that stains come out of your children’s clothes, without using strong chemicals, and without taking a lot of time and effort to get them out?

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