School Supplies – Check! Lunch Box – Check! Back to School Clothes – Check!

You’ve worked hard dedicating time and money supplying your kids with all items necessary to head back to school. Soon, you may be faced with the challenge of removing traces of those school supplies from their new back to school clothing. Here’s how to deal with common, and sometimes gross, back to school stains.

Crayons: Place a folded paper towel under the stained area.  Spray the back of the fabric with WD-40 to help transfer the color.  Turn the fabric over and rub a little liquid dish detergent onto the crayon marks to loosen them even more.  Wash in the hottest water possible with all-fabric bleach.

Ink Pens: Dab the ink spots with a cotton ball that’s been dipped in rubbing alcohol or use alcohol wipes.  Place a paper towel under the stain to absorb the rubbing alcohol and ink.  Repeat until the stain is gone. Make sure to use caution with this technique, alcohol can result in color damage to your fabric.Allow the surface to air-dry and wash in the warmest water that’s safe for the fabric.

Correction Fluid: Hopefully, you purchased the water-based version.  If so, scratch the excess off with the edge of a coin or your fingernail.  Launder as usual.  For petroleum-based correction fluid scratch off as much as possible.  Then apply a citrus-base cleaner, like Goo Gone, to dissolve the stain.  (Be sure to test the cleaner on a hidden spot like a seam first and follow the citrus cleaner’s label directions carefully.)

Glue: Don’t sress over removing craft glue, just pretreat and wash as usual.  For tougher glues, like Super Glue, rub acetone on the fabric with with an old toothbrush to remove the hardened layers.  If necessary, apply the acetone to the back of the stain.  Rinse the area very well and then toss in the wash.

Grass Stains:  Soaking the stain in a mixture of water and detergent can help loosen the stain. Then wash the garment as usual but don’t dry it until you check to see if the stain is all gone. Make sure to read the care label for washable fabric. If the label says the clothing is not washable, the best thing to do is take it straight to the dry cleaners.

Ketchup Stains:  Working from the back of the stain, flush with cold water.  Pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent, agitate, and let it stand for  several minutes and rinse well.  White vinegar could also help during this stage then rinse well again.  If the stain remains, rub with liquid laundry detergent and then soak up to 30 minutes in warm water.

Jelly Stains:  You know with that first bite of the PB&J, Jelly is bound to drip out.  Flush the stain with cool water.  Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent with one quart of warm water.  Soak for 15 minutes and rinse.

Gum (under the desk):  The best, mess-free way to remove gum is to freeze it and brush/peel it off your fabric.  Cooling the gum will harden it, allowing you to simply pull it up and out of the fabric without the sticky, gooey consequences. Hold an ice pack or a bag of ice cubes to the fabric for 10-15 minutes, until it has cooled completely. Then, use a credit card or brush to peel the gum out of the fabric. Wash the fabric afterwards to remove any residue.

What other back to school stains have you encountered?  What cleaning methods have worked for you?

– S.O.