As a mother, laundry becomes a much bigger issue in one’s life than it was before children. Before I had my son, the scope of the laundry challenges I had faced consisted of the occasional ketchup stain or makeup on my collar. Soon after his birth, though, I faced baby poop, spit up, baby food, juice, chocolate and many more notorious stain-making culprits. Before motherhood, I never forgot about a load of laundry long enough for it to go sour, because I really didn’t have much else to worry about. Now, I can say I’ve actually left a batch of wet towels for as long as a week. On top of mysterious spots and lingering odors, my laundry detergent seemed to be irritating his sensitive skin. I definitely had more laundry-related problems on my hands than when I just had to worry about myself and my husband.
When I noticed that not only all of my son’s clothes but most of my own were stained, I realized my laundry room hadn’t been prepared for motherhood. So I set to work trying various products that promised better stain fighting, brighter brights, whiter whites, fresher scents, and in some cases miracles. Now I consider myself a laundry pro, but for a while I floated aimlessly in a sea of empty promises. All too often the wonder results I saw on the T.V. screen just didn’t happen for me.
After performing many of my own consumer tests though, I have created the ultimate laundry arsenal. Grass stains, grease stains, sweaty gym clothes, even the suitcase of clothing that smelled like brine shrimp after a trip to the ocean, I can beat any of them. If you’re feeling frustrated as your wardrobe and linens fall into disrepair, take my list of the best of the best and get shopping.
Best laundry detergent: Melapower laundry detergent (melaleuca.com) is a naturally based detergent that lifts dirt away from fabrics instead of eating away at both the dirt and the fabric. This results in longer lasting cleaner clothes. It’s concentrated and contains no fillers which get left behind on clothing and can irritate sensitive skin like my son’s. Bonus, it’s also better for the environment as it is completely biodegradable.
Best stain remover: I’ve found Spray and Wash from Amway to be the most effective stain remover around. It’s the only thing I’ve found to take baby sweet potatoes out. Visit amway.com to find a representative to get your hands on some of this miracle in a can.
Best laundry booster: Target stains and brighten dingy clothes with Boost. This laundry booster, available at your local supermarket, works wonders on stains. Once when I happened to be using an inferior pre-treating spray, my little boy managed to spill grape juice all over a white tuxedo shirt. We were half way across the country at a wedding and it wasn’t until a few days later that I got back to my laundry room where I could treat the stain. The pre-treating spray didn’t work so I borrowed some Boost from my mom. I was so impressed when the shirt came out good as new. I’ve used Oxyclean before, and it was effective, but with boost you’ll get a lot more for your money.
Best for eliminating odors: For nasty smells caused by bacteria, like that load of towels I left in the washer for a week, dump a cap full or two of Sol-U-Mel (melaleuca.com) in the water. Again this comes concentrated so a little goes a long way. The secret in the formula is the Tea Tree oil that kills bacteria and neutralizes odors. If you don’t like the smell of the Tea Tree Oil in this solution you may want to include a cup of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda instead. I buy a big box from the laundry aisle and actually use both for really smelly loads.
Best for softening: Melasoft fabric softener (melaleuca.com) leaves clothes fluffy and smelling fresh. However I only use it in my washer occasionally. Most of the time I combine one part of this concentrated formula in a spray bottle with two parts water and spray it on a towel. I throw the towel in the dryer to reduce static and lightly freshen the clothes. It’s a lot less expensive than buying dryer sheets or putting fabric softener in every load. Including a cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle will actually help soften clothes as well as freshen them. I only use fabric softener for knits that start to feel stiff and scratchy.
Best for spot treating whites: If you have a white garment with a lingering stain, try the Clorox Bleach Pen. I used to use it for getting baby poop stains out of the back of white Onesies. Gross, I know, but just another part of being a mom.
So, now you have your grocery list, it’s time to start checking items off of your laundry list. Using the right products will make this tedious task just a little less tedious and you’ll soon notice not only do your clothes and linens look better, they last longer, and smell fresher. Now that’s almost heavenly.