Savvy Chic

tidbits, thoughts, and ramblings. . .with a Mormon twist

favorite cloth diapering sites June 30, 2007

Filed under: children,diapers,frugal,kids,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 3:47 pm

Cloth diaper info (these sites also sell diapers and covers):

Diaper Pin: Lots of cloth diaper info and reviews of diapers to help you decide what will work for you.

Born to Love: Tons of info on all aspects of natural parenting.

Punkin-Butt: Even more info and if you find something you like–you can buy it from this company.

Inexpensive cloth diapers:

ClothDiaper.com–great info and great prices

Kooshies –can be found in some Sear’s and Babys R Us

Prefolds (See the section on prefolds.)

Or, make your own! Can be the most inexpensive way to get cloth diapers, as long as you don’t go overboard on deluxe fabrics and attachments.

One size diapers:
Mother-Ease: Mother-ease also has other products. They also have a great introductory package if you think you will like their product.

Little Lambs

SunShine Diapers

Other Popular diapers:

Kissaluvs

Sugar Peas

Fuzzi Bunz

There are so many other types of diapers. Don’t be afraid to try somthing without a brand name! The information sites I have listed will show you lots of different diapers. Check out the diaper name on DiaperPin to see if there are comments about the diaper’s quality and the company’s customer service.

Prefolds:

Note: You want to get DQS (Diaper Service Quality) diapers so that they will last a long time.

Integrity Diaper Company: They have some of the best prices on chinese and european prefolds. (This company also happens to be located in Norman, OK!–for those of you that live there.)

Ebay!!! Lots of great deals to be had.

Snappi (no diaper pins!!!):

Heiny King: Best price for the 3-pack and shipping. Check out their other offerings too.

Diaper Wraps:
A favorite is the Alexis Featherlite side snap cover. However, the Alexis company is not making these any more, so you have to find these on ebay.

I LOVE wool soakers. These covers are the most breathable. Super-easy make-your-own instructions can be found in the free diaper patterns section. Wool covers do require a bit more care though–hand washing and relanolizing. An inexpensive source of lanolin is your local natural health store. In Norman, OK, at Dobson’s, a 4oz bottle of lanolin oil is about $4.

Wool Soakers

ProRaps

Babies R Us has a decent diaper cover for a great price. 2 for $7

Diaper disposable liners:

Gerber EZ liners: You used to be able to find these at Babies R Us. These are great so that you don’t have to clean up as much poop! Especially wonderful to use when you are away from home. Also, if they just get wet, you can throw then in the wash with your diapers and reuse them. However, Gerber has discontinued producing this product. You may be able to find it on Ebay though.

Kooshies: these are nice because they are flushable, however, they are not as big as the Gerber liners and if they get wet, you still have to discard them.)

Diaper pail liners:
Bummi bags

Google search of “Diaper Pail Liners”

Make your own! Wazoodle has ProCare fabric which is great for making a diaper pail liner and then use the scraps for making ditty bags. You will also need cord for the drawstring and a cord lock.

Free (mostly) diaper patterns:
http://diapershop.com/freelinks.htm
http://www.geocities.com:/Heartland/Oaks/1126/diapertext1.html
http://www.angelfire.com/biz/mothershelpinghands/mypatt.html (this site has instructions to make your own diapers, wool soakers, nursing pads, and other things)
http://www.diapersewing.com/
http://www.poopockets.com/ (This pattern isn’t free, but it is a good pattern–so I’ve been told)
Anther inexpensive diaper pattern is the better baby diaper pattern. It can be found at http://www.elizabethlee.com/patterns/speclty.htm

Fabric sites:
http://www.wazoodle.com/ (A Canadian company. They have ProCare fabric which is great for making your own diaper pail liner and ditty bags.)
http://diapershop.com (great prices on touch tape, patterns, elastic, and free fabric swatches)

Other hints:
*For a diaper pail, just get a trash can at Walmart with a foot pedal that lifts the lid–cost $8.
*Use terry washcloths for diaper wipes–Walmart has the 18 packs for $3.97. These also work well as diaper doublers when folded, or sewn, into thirds. You can also find baby washcloths 4 or 6 for $1 sometimes. These fit well inside of your existing disposable wipes containers.
*Cut fleece into 4″x12″ for diaper liners. The fleece wicks away moisture from the baby’s skin and keeps the skin dry.
*Never use fabric softener or bleach on your diapers. Bleach will wear the diapers out prematurely and creates the risk of hazardous fumes–bleach and ammonia (urine has the same chemical make-up as ammonia) are not good together. Fabric softener coats the fabric fibers and makes the fabric less absorbent. Use vinegar in the rinse cycle as a natural softener–I use a downy ball. It also neutralizes the pH of the diapers. Then hang the diapers in the sun to dry. The sun will bleach out any stains.
*You will need around 24 diapers to be on a 3-4 day wash cycle. Also, you’ll need 5-6 covers.
*Ebay could become your best friend. Unless you really know what you want, you may want to buy a used “lot” that has several different diaper types so that you can try them out.

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Also, see my posts on other really useful baby tools: ring slings and moby wraps.

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Cloth diapers–tips and definitions June 19, 2007

Filed under: children,diapers,frugal,kids,laundry,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 9:45 pm

CD-ing (Cloth diapering) is an art and a culture.  I can tell you what has worked for me, but there are so many ways to go about it, you will just have to find what works for you.

Here is a tour of a cloth diaper. It usually has two symmetrical outside layers. One of the layers has a soaker pad sewn onto it. The elastic is sewn onto that same outside piece. Then the two outside pieces are sewn together. With a serger, this last step is really easy. Just using the sewing machine, I like to sew the outside pieces right sides together and then flip and topstitch. I just think it looks better and will last longer than simply zigzagging the outside pieces together.

The fabric used for making diapers can really be anything. Most of the websites recommend cotton flannel, fleece, or terry. I haven’t been too picky on this aspect. I have tried to use 100% cotton where possible as this is the most breathable and my little boy needs air! I don’t like terry diapers because I found they were more difficult to clean, though I have been told the opposite. I have used terry to make the soaker pads. I just used old towels. With a serger, again, this makes the process easy to serge the ends and then sew into the diaper. Another option is to buy the $4 package of washcloths at Wal-Mart and fold them into thirds and then sew that into the diaper. If you use flannel as a soaker pad, you have to use a LOT of it.

How I put a diaper on my wee one: I take the diaper (fitted or prefold), a doubler, a fleece liner, and a disposable liner and put them together in that order. It sounds like a lot–to eliminate a step, I sewed the fleece liners to the doublers so one step is eliminated. Then I put it all on my squirming little boy. Then I pull on his diaper cover.

At night, I use a prefold with two doublers, a fleece liner, and a disposable liner. I fasten the prefold with a snappi and then I cover the diaper with a wool soaker.

Definitions:
Doubler: I use a washcloth I have sewn into thirds. It doubles the absorbency of the diaper without adding much extra thickness to the actual diaper so that everything cleans and dries thoroughly.

Fleece liner: I used cheap fleece and cut it into rectangles 4×12 inches. (Some of them are 3×11 inches and they work fine too.) The fleece wicks away the moisture so baby’s bottom stays dry.

Disposable liner: I use Gerber EZ-liners. I like how I can wash and reuse them if they just get wet. They really make clean-up a lot easier. There isn’t much toilet swishing–if any at all. $4 at Babies R’ Us.

Soaker pad: That thick pad in all the diapers. You don’t want it too thick, or your diaper will never dry. That’s why you use a doubler if you need it.

An AIO (All-In-One) is a diaper (with a soaker pad because all diapers have a soaker pad–unless they are a pocket diaper) that has a moisture-proof fabric sewn into it so you don’t need a separate diaper cover. You can make an AIO using a regular diaper pattern just by adding barrier fabric between the layers or as the outside layer.

Diaper covers: the Alexis Featherlite was a favorite of mine. Alexis doesn’t make this cover any more, so your best bet is to find them on ebay. Wool soakers are my absolute favorite. There are many free patterns on-line to make your own.

Pocket Diapers: Diapers with usually only two external layers and an opening to insert the absorptive layers.  You can add as many doublers as you need and they stay put inside the diaper.

If you’re concerned about flannel or fleece in the summer, consider this. Cotton flannel wrapping your baby’s bottom versus plastic. The cloth diaper allows for breathability. There is more air circulation (if you have the right diaper covers) and there is a lower temperature than in a disposable. Even though disposables now feel like cloth, they are plastic and they retain the moisture, increase the humidity, and get really hot. Basically, what I’m saying is–don’t worry about flannel or fleece getting too hot in the summer. Cloth will be much cooler than plastic.

To make your decision whether to use diapers and diaper covers vs. AIOs, you’ll just have to decide which works for you or whether to use both. I prefer the separate diaper with a diaper cover most of the time. The AIO’s are really nice for Dad’s and babysitters so they have less to deal with. However, AIO’s take longer to dry and don’t hold up as well with the frequent launderings. 

And finally, the basics of what you need: approximately 20+ diapers, at least the same number of doublers, fleece liners (optional), disposable liners and a few diaper covers (4-6 per size). It’s also nice to have a diaper pail, a diaper pail liner, ditty bags for your diaper bag, and some wool soakers. For washing the diapers, you’ll need a gentle, clean washing detergent, baking soda, and white vinegar.

For laundering, you’ll learn to love vinegar (white). If you use a downy ball, you just fill it to the line and throw it in with the diapers so that it comes out during the rinse cycle. Do not use fabric softener or bleach on your diapers. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener, it neutralizes the pH, and it helps the detergent to completely rinse out of the diapers.

CD-ing does require a large initial investment($120+), but if you stick with it, you can save lot and lot of $$$, and you will help save the earth! I think the best way to get into CD-ing is to find out you have to for the health of your child! Without the option of going back to disposables, I had to dive into it head first!  And now, I am a major cloth diapering advocate.

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Also, see my posts on other really useful baby tools: ring slings and moby wraps.

 

Cloth diapers

Filed under: children,diapers,frugal,kids,savvy thoughts,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 12:55 am

Diapering your child in cloth used to be the norm. Now cloth diapering is done by those who want to save the planet, save lots of money, for medical reasons, or just to be more natural. Whatever your reason, starting a cloth diapering system can be overwhelming with all the choices now available. I hope this series of posts will help by explaining some of the different options and describing my own experiences.

My Story: I’m from a large family and all my siblings spent time in cloth diapers. That was really the only option for mothers then. My first son was a disposable diaper child. I loved the convenience and the freedom to just toss the diaper away when soiled. However, the price of the diapers hurt each time I went to the store, especially on a very tight student family budget. Also, the diapers STUNK!!! It didn’t matter if I used the diaper genie or whether I took each one to the outside garbage.

At one point, I decided to try out diapering like my mom did it. I went to the store, purchased some prefolds, diaper pins and rubber pants. It only took a couple days of insufficiently absorbent leaky diapers, hand swishing the diaper in the toilet, poking my fingers with the diaper pins because they were so difficult to get through the fabric, and annoying rubber pants, to get to the point were I just gave up. My oldest child finished his diaper career in disposables.

My next child started in disposables too. I had learned my lesson last time and wasn’t about to try cloth again. However, at three months, my baby had a diaper rash that just wouldn’t go away. I tried every kind of disposable, most every kind of cream, the doctor gave me prescription medication, and nothing helped. I became desperate, yet I still resisted the idea of cloth. There seemed no other alternative though, and so I began earnestly seeking information about new cloth diapering methods.

I had three requirements: I didn’t want to use pins, rubber pants, or put my hand in the toilet! Other than that, I was willing to try cloth diapering. I quickly discovered that there were so many options that met my requirements, it would be no problem.

First I purchased a used diaper set on Ebay. It included contoured diapers, fitted diapers with velcro attachments, a nylon diaper covers. I also purchased a Bummi bag diaper pail liner. I went to Walmart and bought a garbage can with a flip lid to use as the diaper pail. I also purchased vinegar, a downy ball (for vinegar, not fabric softener), and baking soda. I went to Babies R’ Us to buy Gerber’s EZ Liners so I wouldn’t have to swish diapers in the toilet.

At first I was overwhelmed by even the choices I had right then. I didn’t know how to start, especially for the night diaper. However, I decided the only way for me to figure it out was to jump right in and try it out. I put on my son’s first diaper and thus began his cloth diaper career. I was quickly assured that I had made the right decision, when after only a few hours of being in cloth, his diaper rash was noticeably getting better. I was convinced of my decision to do cloth.

Soon, I decided to make my own diapers since I needed more. I bought a basic pattern and made 30 one-size, velcro attached, fitted diapers. I mostly used fabric I already had. The diapers worked great, until my little one began to crawl and run.

It was then I that I truly began to appreciate prefolds and snappies. I put away all the fitted diapers and began exclusively using prefolds. I could get them on more securely and with less bulk than the other types of diapers. Friends who were now experimenting with cloth themselves, offered to let me try their deluxe cloth diapers. While very nice, I still preferred the prefolds in the end.

For the diaper covers, I used wool soakers almost exclusively. I liked how they allowed more air flow to my toddler’s sensitive skin. Also, because I made my own either by knitting or by sewing one together from an old wool sweater, wool soakers were much less expensive than others.

For diaper doublers, I used facecloths triple folded. At night I used at least two doublers. Sometimes, I used a fleece liner to wick the moisture away from his skin. The fleece liner was easily made from fleece fabric and simply cut to the desired width and length–no sewing needed. I placed the EZ liner on top of everything.

Also, ironically, I discovered that cloth diapers stank much less than disposables. Baking soda is an amazing odor destroyer. It also neutralizes the diapers and helps the diapers to rinse cleaner in the wash.

Leaving the house with cloth diapers was a little bit tricky, but soon I was able to work out those obstacles too. I would put together two or three diapers (prefold, doubler, liners), include an extra wool soaker, and make sure there were ditty bags (little water proof bags to hold a soiled diaper).

I plan to cloth diaper my next child. Cloth diapers are hardly more difficult than disposables and there are so many benefits in addition. Stay tuned for more information about cloth diapers, including definitions, websites to check out, and additional tips. Please leave your comments so that we can all learn for each other’s experiences!

Also, see my posts on other really useful baby tools: ring slings and moby wraps.

 

What is LDS Image? June 13, 2007

Filed under: modest clothes,savvy thoughts,young women — savvychic @ 11:09 am

There are quite a few clothing companies out there now that offer modest clothing. There are also lots of people out there with great and fun ideas of how to live life to it’s fullest. The new, non-profit, online magazine–LDS Image–helps bring all of this together with a special emphasis on Young Women.

LDS Image has more than 10 modest clothing companies advertising tops, bottoms, formal wear, swim suits, and accessories. You can either go directly to the companies to purchase or you can order through LDS Image. If you order through LDS Image, you can take advantage of a one rate flat shipping fee! That makes it worth it to me!

Then there are the articles. LDS Image, wants young women to be aware of their many opportunities and their great potential. We are truly children of divine parents and our destiny is eternal happiness and joy. There are so many ways we can take advantage of this life. There are articles about dating, health and fitness, summer fun, plant spotlights, conference talk summaries, National Park highlights, and interviews with young women, young men, and other women.

Whether you are the crafty type, the plant type, the outdoorsy type, or the very feminine type, there is something for you. And there are new articles every month!  If, by the off chance you can’t find your specific interest talked about, contact LDS Image and offer to write an article!

Everything on LDS Image is in agreement with the standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so you never have to worry what is going to appear on the screen or what is included in the content of the articles.  LDS Image offers young women the opportunity to write and to model. What a great opportunity to explore a new interest or to build a resume for college and/or employment applications.

If you haven’t checked out LDS Image yet, please do.  Sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the home page to stay up-to-date on changes to the site!  I love the mission of this ezine and I also love how convenient it is to find fashionable, fun, modest clothes and entertaining, educational information.

 

Great Children’s Books–part 2 June 8, 2007

Filed under: books,children,kids — savvychic @ 8:59 am

Chapter Books (Ages 6 to18+)

Complied by Laura Lund, Glenna Anderson, and Courtney Davies

You know that your children will read. They will read books and they will read magazines and they will read newspapers. Cultivate within them a taste for the best. Expose them to good books.” -Gordon B. Hinckley

(Alcott) Little Men

(Alcott) Little Women

(Atwater) Mr. Popper’s Penguins

(Austen) Pride and Prejudice

(Austen) Sense and Sensibility

(Avi) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

(Babbitt) Tuck Everlasting

The Bible

The Book of Mormon

(Bronte) Jane Eyre

(Bronte) Wuthering Heights

(Burnett) The Secret Garden

(Cushman) The Midwife’s Apprentice

(DeFoe) Robinson Crusoe

(DiCamillo) The Tale of Despereaux

(Dickens) David Copperfield

(Dickens) A Christmas Carol

(Dutton) My Side of the Mountain

(Enright) Thimble Summer

(Field) Calico Bush

(Fitzgerald) The Great Brain

(Fleischman) The Giant Rat of Sumatra

(Fleischman) The Whipping Boy

(Forbes) Johnny Tremain

(Frank) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

(Gannett) My Father’s Dragon

(Gilbreth & Carey) Cheaper by the Dozen

(Hale) Princess Academy

(Henry) Misty of Chincoteague

(Holm) North to Freedom

(Hunt) Across Five Aprils

(Jacques) Redwall

(Kipling) The Jungle Book

(Konigsburg) From the Mixed-up Files

      of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

(Latham) Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

(Latham) This Dear-Bought Land

(Lawson) Rabbit Hill

(Levine) Ella Enchanted

(L’Engle) A Wrinkle in Time (series)

(L’Engle) And Both Were Young

(L’Engle) A Ring of Endless Light (series)

(Lenski) Strawberry Girl

(Lewis) The Chronicles of Narnia

(Lofting) The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

(London) White Fang

(Lowry) Number the Stars

(MacLachlan) Sarah, Plain and Tall

(Montgomery) Anne of Green Gables (series)

(More) Utopia

(O’Brien) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

(O’Dell) Island of the Blue Dolphins

(Park) A Single Shard

(Paterson) Bridge to Terabithia

(Paulsen) Hatchet

(Peck) A Long Way From Chicago

(Peck) A Year Down Yonder

(Pene du Bois) The Twenty-One Balloons

(Pittman) A Grain of Rice

(Rawlings) The Yearling

(Rawls) The Summer of the Monkeys

(Rawls) Where the Red Fern Grows

(Sachar) Holes

(Selden) The Cricket in Times Square

(Shakespeare) Hamlet

(Shakespeare) Julius Caesar

(Shakespeare) Romeo & Juliet

(Speare) The Bronze Bow

(Speare) The Sign of the Beaver

(Speare) The Witch of Blackbird Pond

(Spinelli) Stargirl

(Stevenson) Treasure Island

(Taylor) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

(Ten Boom) The Hiding Place

(Thoreau) Walden

(Tolkien) The Hobbit

(Tolkien) The Lord of the Rings

(Twain) Joan of Arc

(Twain) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

(Twain) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

(Verne) A Journey to the Center of the Earth

(Verne) Around the World in Eighty Days

(White) Stuart Little

(Wrede) Dealing With Dragons (series)

(Wyss) The Swiss Family Robinson

 

 

Great Children’s books–part 1

Filed under: books,children,kids — savvychic @ 8:57 am

Picture Books (Ages 0 to 11+)

Complied by Laura Lund, Glenna Anderson, and Courtney Davies

“…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books….” (Doctrine & Covenants 90:15)

 

(Adams) The Easter Egg Artists

(Aragon) Salt Hands

(Barbour) Little Nino’s Pizzeria

(Barry) Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

(Bemelmans) Madeline

(Beskow) Pelle’s New Suit

(Boniface) Mystery in Bugtown

(Brett) The Mitten

(Brown) Hand Rhymes

(Brumbeau) Miss Hunnicutt’s Hat

(Brumbeau) The Quiltmaker’s Gift

(Burton) Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel

(Charlip) Fortunately

(Collington) A Small Miracle

(Connor) Miss Bridie Chose A Shovel

(Cooney) Miss Rhumphius

(Cousins) Maisy’s Pool

(Crews) Freight Train

(Cronin) Click Clack Moo

(Demi) The Empty Pot

(Demi) The Firebird

(Demi) The Hungry Coat

(De Paola) Tom

(Ehlert) Planting a Rainbow

(Ehlert) Growing Vegetable Soup

(Flack) The Story About Ping

(Fleischman) Weslandia

(Fleming, C.) Boxes for Katje

(Fleming, D.) In the Small, Small Pond

(Freeman) Corduroy

(Gilman) Something From Nothing

(Ginsburg) Good Morning Chick

(Grover) Dolphin Adventure

(Hall) The Oxcart Man

(Helldorfer) Cabbage Rose

(Henkes) Chrysanthemum

(Heyward) The Country Bunny & The Little Gold Shoes

(Hoberman) A House Is A House For Me

(Hodges) Saint George & the Dragon

(Hoff) Danny & the Dinosaur

(Hoff) Sammy the Seal

(Jackson) The Impossible Riddle

(Joyce) A Day with Wilbur Robinson

(Joyce) George Shrinks

(Kelley) Fall Is Not Easy

(Kimmel) The Three Princes

(Kimmel) My Penguin Osbert

(Krauss) The Carrot Seed

(Levitin) The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket

(Lobel) Ming Lo Moves The Mountain

(London) What Do You Love?

(Long) How I Became A Pirate

(Lord) The Giant Jam Sandwich

(Martin) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

(Martin) The Rough-face Girl

(Mayer) The Twelve Dancing Princesses

(McCully) Mirette on the High Wire

(McKissack) The Honest-To-Goodness Truth

(Nivola) Elisabeth

(Numeroff) The Chicken Sisters

(O’Brien) The Princess & The Beggar

(O’Neill) Hailstones & Halibut Bones

(Perrault) Puss In Boots

(Pittman) A Grain of Rice

(Polacco) Babushka’s Doll

(Polacco) Appelemando’s Dreams

(Prelutsky) The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders

(Ray) Basket Moon

(Ray) Pumpkins

(Robertson) The Egg

(Rock) I Wonder Why

(Rylant) The Relatives Came

(Rylant) When I Was Young & in the Mountains

(Sanderson) The Snow Princess

(Schade) Snug House Bug House

(Scieszka) Math Curse

(Seuss) Dr. Seuss’s ABC

(Seuss) How The Grinch Stole Christmas

(Shaw) Sheep in a Jeep

(Shaw) Sheep in a Shop

(Shelby) Homeplace

(Sierra) The Dancing Pig

(Simont) The Stray Dog

(Spinelli) Night Shift Daddy

(Steig) Pete’s a Pizza

(Steptoe) The Story of Jumping Mouse

(Stevenson) Rolling Rose

(Stewart) The Gardener

(Teague) Pigsty

(Tunnell) Mailing May

(Udry) A Tree Is Nice

(Ungerer) Cricktor

(VanWoerkom) Queen Who Couldn’t Bake Gingerbread

(Weeks) Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash

(Weisner) Tuesday

(Willems) Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

(Wood) Heckedy Peg

(Yee) Mrs. Brown Went to Town

(Yolen) Welcome to the Greenhouse

(Young) Seven Blind Mice

(Young) The Lost Horse

(Zelinsky) Rapunzel

(Zelinsky) Swamp Angel

(Zemach) It Could Always Be Worse

 

laundry magic: stain tips June 5, 2007

Filed under: frugal,kids,laundry,thrifty tips — savvychic @ 11:27 am

By Maggie Schmidt 

*DISCLAIMER – THIS IS NOT REALLY MAGIC, IN FACT THERE IS A SLIGHT CHANCE THIS WON’T WORK FOR YOU, BUT HEY IT’S STAINED ANYWAYS SO WHY NOT TRY TO GET IT OUT!*

HOW TO HELP YOUR STAIN REMOVAL SUCCESS:

Laundry sorting – When you sort your clothes have a pile that is specifically for extra attention items so you won’t forget and just launder them without removing the stain. Also check all pants pockets before you put them in the pile to be washed! I find that if I wait until they are going into the washer I get in a hurry and forget and end up getting nice surprises on my clothes.

Laundry tools – detergent doesn’t matter that much. (In fact, it was brought up that good old expensive powdered Tide doesn’t dissolve all the way and can cause you major plumbing problems!)

A toothbrush, plastic knife, Downy Ball (which I use for more than just fabric softener), Shout Spray (because it’s the cheapest “quick fix” you can buy), liquid generic bleach, a very large box of baking soda, and a clean place to lay a stained piece of clothing.

This is seriously all I have in my laundry room besides my laundry detergent and machines.

All of these stain removal techniques that I will now list are for COTTON… or fabrics that are more than 65% cotton. If it is a synthetic fabric be very careful and try a little bit of the stain removal technique on a corner where it won’t be noticed if it has a very bad adverse affect.

Common stains – And the things you should do to get them out…..
Rust – pour lemon juice into the stain and then rub cream of tartar into it with a toothbrush….

Sweaty Armpits – diluted ammonia (usually a 2 part ammonia to 1 part water solution and a good hour or so soak should do the trick)

It was brought up as well that certain types of deodorant leave marks and others do not.

Degree was said to not leave any trace of stain on your clothing.

Grass stains – Turn clothing inside out and place an absorbent cloth (or paper towel) behind the stain to prevent any spreading of the stain. Spray the back of the grass stain with rubbing alcohol and scrub with a toothbrush. Let this sit for 10 minutes or so and then rinse with cold water. If the stain persists scrub the stain (from the front of the fabric) with paste toothpaste (NOT GEL… this will create a HUGE problem if you use a gel). Let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse out.

Okie Red Dirt – Soak in “Oxie Clean”. It’s expensive but I have heard that it is the only thing that will remove the lovely traces of an outdoor adventure in the Oklahoma dirt.

Food stains – Most veggie and fruit stains can be removed by passing HOT (I usually boil some) through the stain, or by putting club soda on the stain. I then spray with my Shout and scrub it a little. The clothing is then soaked in the washing machine with a cup of baking soda and the regular amount of detergent and then laundered as usual.

Make-up – Rub with dawn between fingers…. Scrub with a toothbrush if necessary…. Soak for at least 30 minutes and then wash as usual.

Crayons – Again place a cloth between the front and the back of the clothing and then spray WD 40 onto the crayon marks. Let it sit for 5 minutes then scrape with a plastic knife. Repeat if necessary. After most of the crayon is removed rub Dawn dish detergent into the area with WD 40 on it to remove the grease. Launder as usual.

Ink Pens

Permanent – Spray alcohol or acetone nail polish remover into the stain and scrub. Rinse and repeat. If stain won’t budge scrub paste toothpaste into the stain and soak in milk for 1 hour. Rinse and launder as normal.

Gel – “Awesome” concentrated cleaner that can be bought at the Dollar Tree and Dollar General. I just spray some cleaner on the stain and scrub with a toothbrush. I then pour about half of a bottle of the cleaner into a small load cycle in my machine and let it soak for at least an hour. I then pull the clothing out scrub again with a toothbrush and more cleaner, and then let the cycle finish as normal. I then go back and put it into a normal wash with detergent and like colors.

Ballpoint – Spray affected area with hairspray. Launder as usual.

Blood – Scrub with peroxide or simply spit on it as soon as you notice and it will come out in the wash. Seriously.

Baby Clothes – soak in baking soda….. All of my sons clothing gets soaked overnight in warm water with detergent and a cup of baking soda. NONE of his clothing has been ruined by a stain. Every stain has come out, and I have never had to separate and spray any of his clothes. They get dumped into the soak and then laundered as usual and every stain has come out with zippo effort. He does not however drink formula which I have been told leaves a yucky yellow stain on things and I will address how to get out formula later on…..

Naturalistic products to use
Baking soda – Good for odors and food/natural stains….

White vinegar – odors and stains on suede, also a fabric softener (1/4 cup in rinse cycle which I just throw in my Downy Ball and no it won’t make your clothes stink)

Lemon juice – bleaching… VERY good for formula stains…

Club soda – stubborn stains that haven’t set too long… brings thing to the surface

Peroxide – blood…..

Sunlight – bleaching, lightening… probably the BEST natural bleach product there is… just lay things in the sun to dry.

Salt – removes some mold/mildew stains…. If anything is going to get mold out of your clothes it will be salt. Make a salt paste with some water and scrub into the stain. Let it air dry and then launder as usual.

The advantage of a natural approach to stain removal is that most of these items you already have on hand, but they do take more effort and elbow grease to get them to work. Plus you aren’t smelling all those harsh chemicals which lessen the life of your clothing too.

Not so naturalistic products to use
Bleach, stain sprays, detergents, Awesome spray, dawn dish soap, w-d 40, baby wash, Murphy’s oil soap, oxy-clean, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover (acetone).

These products cost more money than the natural ones but they tend to take less work to remove a stain. They’re created to get down and dirty and well, they hold up to that promise for the most part. I personally start with a natural approach and if that fails I pull out the chemicals if it’s something I REALLY want to save.

But keep in mind; you must take into perspective how much the garment actually cost in the first place. If it’s a $2 clearance Wal-Mart shirt and you spend 5 hours and $1.50 worth of chemicals getting it into good shape again, you’ve actually come out in the negative.

Things to NOT do

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of manure! Don’t put little Suzy and Bobby in their Sunday best to eat cherries and barbecue chicken. Don’t send Junior on the high adventure trip wearing his nice school pants! You’re just asking for work!

Never just throw something away, if it’s already stained you have to give it a fighting chance… (But once again weigh how much it cost initially versus what you are about to invest to get it clean)

Wash everything together. A lot of wear and tear on clothing (which can hurt stain removal efforts) comes from lazy laundry techniques. Wash things in like color and fabric families.

Don’t always wash in cold or warm…. HOT WATER IS A FRIEND….. now keep in mind that hot water can fade and shrink but for stain purposes if you have a stubborn stain that needs soaking, try some hot water and you’ll be amazed.

Do I really need to dry clean?

In the case of silk and wool YES. All else depends on what you’re willing to risk. Dry clean only clothes mean that you cannot DRY them in your dryer once their wet, but water and air-drying may work out for you.

Stuff to do with ruined clothes….

Quilts – I have a stack of old ruined jeans that I am saving to make a patchwork quilt from. My grandmother used to make t-shirt quilts all the time out of ruined t-shirts.

Cleaning rags – Save money by using a piece of an old shirt to dust instead of those Swiffer dusters. Or use one to wipe up your counter instead of a paper towel. Just keep a bucket of for dirty rags in your laundry room and then do a “Rag Load” when your rags get dirty.

Play clothes – If something is ruined and cannot be saved, turn it into the outdoor play clothes and make sure you use them when a messy, but fun, time is planned.

Dye Them – Growing up if we got purple Kool-aide on a pink shirt that would NOT come out my mom simply dyed the whole shirt purple and presto a new shirt!

On the go stain helpers for your purse.

Tide sticks – Costs a pretty penny but I have it on good authority that this will get out stains when you’re out and about.

Unscented Baby Wipes – If you’re out and spill something rub it with a baby wipe, which will help it not to set until you can get home and treat it more thoroughly. Even if you don’t carry around a diaper bag just put some in your glove compartment for those emergencies.

For more details and more information, consult: Field Guide to Stains: How to Identify and Remove Virtually Every Stain Know to Man by Virginia Friedman, Melissa Wagner, Nancy Armstrong

– The “Stain Bible” as I call it and when I haven’t ever encountered a stain myself, I consult this book. It has yet to fail me.