We're still on vacation, but fortunately we're staying at a fabulous 5-star location (my in-laws' house) that has full laundry services at no extra cost. After being here over a week, I finally gathered up all the girls' clothes yesterday, separated them into two loads (though I didn't bother to sort - I just put half in the first load and half in the second) and threw them into the wash. And when I pulled the first load out of the dryer, I was horrified to discover that everything was covered in brilliant purple crayon splotches.
You'd think after the iPod incident (which, now that I mention it, I don't think I ever blogged about - rice is the key there. Rice and not turning it on right away) I'd have learned to check pockets before washing the girls' things, but, alas.
I may or may not have said a few choice words. After all, this is the second major screw-up of this trip, and there were a lot of brand new clothes in that load. Really cute brand new clothes. But then I turned to my best friend, Google. Seriously, what did people in these situations do before the internet? There were several helpful results, but the one I was most interested in trying was the one that required the least amount of work. I figured before I started dousing things in WD-40 or scraping every single stain (and there were a LOT) with a toothbrush, I'd try the easy solution. This blog post was very encouraging, especially with the number of comments after it that all claimed success. And, bonus, I only had to buy vinegar (and only because my mother-in-law had just run out), as opposed to some other options that had you adding all kinds of crazy stuff to the wash.
So, here's what you do:
- Put the clothes in the washer, and set the water to hot.
- Add your laundry detergent, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 4-6 Tbsp of dishwasher liquid.
- Let the clothes soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Let the wash run normal.
My mother-in-law has a front-loading washing machine, so I wasn't entirely sure how to go about the soaking part, and she uses powdered detergent, so figuring out how to add that and the liquids was a little challenging, but I managed to figure it out. Here are my variations (some on purpose and some on accident, but it all worked out): I used a full scoop of the powdered detergent, 1 cup of vinegar - but only because I'd read so many different "recipes" that I'd gotten confused as to what the actual measurement was supposed to be - and 5 Tbsp of liquid dishwasher detergent. I mixed it all together in a measuring cup, thinking that the powder would dissolve in the vinegar and then I could just pour it into the liquid portion of the detergent drawer, but apparently detergents react with vinegar, so that was kind of a volcanic experience. I got it all in there eventually, though I don't know how much vinegar actually made it into the washer and how much I had to clean up off the counter. I set the washer on hot and used the autosoak setting along with the heavy duty cycle, so the whole thing took about 2 hours.
It was quite the production when I opened up the washer - my mother-in-law and Vicki were both there, curious to see if it worked (I'll be honest, we all had our doubts - it sounded way too good to be true, especially considering the plethora of other solutions). I pulled out the bright green sweatshirt that had originally held the crayon in its pocket and was relieved to see that ALL the purple stains and clumps of wax were gone. In fact, all but two items were completely purple free!
So there you have it. Should you ever find yourself in this same situation, have no fear! The clothes can be saved.
Now, too bad I don't have a whole host of household stress relievers to post about. I could start a series. Of course, all I need to do is a few more loads of laundry and I'm sure I'll have some other disaster to share. That's just how I operate.