• David Locke

The Lost Art of Soaking


"Laundry" The word is my arch nemesis. Some days I come into my laundry to find the pile of clothing that is so massive it has begun to generate a gravitational field. I'm not sure but one day I think the pile actually spoke like the trash heap on Fraggle Rock from my childhood. Yikes! Suffice to say, I do a large amount of laundry, about 5 loads per day.



With two boys you can imagine I've tackled some bad stains from a toddler that spit up more than Old Faithful and another who's bowels erupted more than Mount Pinatubo. Certainly we have our grass stains, blood stains and even Georgia Red Clay stains. Oh, I curse you red clay in the name of Clorox.



So you probably have popped some things into the wash and found they come out just about as dirty as when you put them in or the stain remains. What are you to do? Enter your friend, soaking. No matter what I'm presented with in the laundry from poo to blood, I soak it. I also believe that powdered detergents work better than liquids.


Basic Stain Removal Tips


1-Washing in hot water and drying can set a stain making it near impossible to remove.


2- Soak stains as soon as possible, before they can dry if you can.


3- If the stain is very bad or it is blood, saturate the fabric with Clorox 2 before soaking. You can even use pure hydrogen peroxide on blood stains but check the fabric for fastness first. Allowing Clorox 2 to dry on light colored fabrics can stain them so make sure to submerge them in the soak.


4- Repeat the soaking process again before drying if the stain remains. After two times, I seek a higher power, in this case my local dry-cleaner or relegate a towel to the rag bin.



Many times I feel like a bartender mixing my various concoctions to release a dreaded stain. Here are a few of my best cocktails for soaking...


General Stain Removal

Dissolve detergent in cool water in a small bucket or pan and allow the fabric to soak for one hour to overnight:

1/4 Capfull of Clorox 2

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Measure of Powered Tide or *Woolite if delicate or dark

If the stain is very bad or is blood saturate the fabric with Clorox 2 before soaking.

Pour the entire soak into the washing machine.

Launder in additional Clorox 2 and Powdered Tide or Woolite with a full load.


Biological Stain Removal (Like Poop or Vomit)

Dissolve detergent in cool water in a small bucket or pan and allow the fabric to soak for one hour to overnight:

1/4 Capfull of Clorox 2

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Measure of Powdered Tide

Cap Full of Pinesol or Lysol

*You can even add white vinegar if the smell is really gnarly

Pour the entire soak into the washing machine.

Launder in additional Clorox 2 and Powdered Tide with a full load.


Odor Removal

Dissolve detergent in cool water in a small bucket or pan and allow the fabric to soak for one hour to overnight:

1/4 Capfull of Clorox 2

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Measure of Powered Tide

Cup of White Vinegar

Pour the entire soak into the washing machine.

Launder in additional Clorox 2 and Powdered Tide with a full load.


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