The Most Surprising, Wardrobe-Sparing Laundry Hacks

You eyed that dress for weeks before you caved and swiped your card. Now its pastel polka dots are covered in spaghetti sauce. Your morning started out with your brain tuned to boss mode – until you dropped that mocha latté in your lap. You thought it was the perfect Saturday afternoon – until you stepped in a mud puddle and soiled your new white Converse. Look, wardrobe tragedies happen.

So, whether you discovered grass stains on your skinny jeans, got caught in the line of spilled rose´, or leaned in for a kiss and smeared foundation on his white collar, take a deep breath. You don’t have to throw out your favorite shirt or his. I come bearing a laundry list of remedies, so long as you have a few household items handy.

No More Whining Over Spilled Wine

For red wine and rose´disasters, act fast and sprinkle the area with salt. Add some cold water and scrub lightly. If that doesn’t work, grab some white wine and pour it over. The cool thing is: the two types of wine neutralize each other.

Still not doing the trick? For a last resort, pour on the club soba and repeat the scrubbing process.

Foodie Fowls

Fruity Disasters
Photo by Brooke Lark

A bowl of fresh berries? How beautiful and summery – until their juices land on your tablecloth. So, whether you’re snacking on a handful of ripe raspberries or tossing some juicy blues into your blender, don’t freak out if you experience an accident. Simply mix a cup of cold water with a squirt of dish soap, then apply to the stained area. Press lightly with a damp sponge for a few minutes, then alternate with the application of white vinegar and the soap mixture. This remedy works well for stubborn beet and tomato stains, too.

Coffee & Chocolate Fumbles

Ooh la la. Almost everyone appreciates a satisfying espresso and a luscious dish of tiramisu. What we don’t love are the sloppy accidents that can happen while we’re indulging on them. Here’s how to fix it.

Egg yolk! Yes – how bizarre, right? It serves as a wonder to your coffee stain frustrations. And it often works well on chocolate, too. Just beat the egg yolk slightly, apply it over the area and gently rub for a few minutes. Then rinse it with room temperature water. Bye, bye brown stain.

The No-Breakup Makeup Disaster Cures

Photo by Jamie Street
Foundation Smears

Nothing is better for this than Dawn dish soap, a splash of rubbing alcohol and some warm water. While the dish soap is harsh and not at all ideal for hand-washing, it will get that foundation stain out. So, grab a spray bottle, mix up a squirt of soap, a cup of water and a tablespoon or so of rubbing alcohol. Treat and scrub every 10 minutes until the evidence has vanished.

Lipstick Marks

Got a streak of lipstick on your brand new pink camisole? No problem. You don’t have to part ways with it prematurely – so long as you have some white bread handy. Weird, right?

Here’s what to do: Pull the crust from the bread, roll it into a tidy ball and begin blotting the stain. In the majority of cases, it’s going to come right out.

Mascara Streaks

Fortunately, most mascara products will disappear with ease in a standard laundry cycle. But, if you’re rushing out the door and realize you have a god-awful black streak across your sleeve, your best bet is to run to the sink and immediately flush it with cold water. The colder the temperature, the faster the mascara will lift. Then add in a small dot of some dish soap. Blot with applied pressure, but don’t scrub or else you may end up with a more catastrophic mess.

Post-Gym Glory Stains

Dingy, yellowed or greyed-out armpit stains got you keeping those elbows down? Mix up the juice from one half of a lemon, add a splash of warm water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Scrub it onto the stained area and let it sit for an hour. Voila! No more armpit embarrassment.

Not-so-Bloody Funday

Whether you nicked your finger, stepped on a splinter or started your period while unarmed, you can get the blood stain out. Here’s how.

If the blood is fresh, grab some standard 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution and pour it over. Wait a couple of minutes, then rinse well with cold water. If the blood has set for more than 10 minutes, grab some cornstarch. Make a paste with lukewarm water and the cornstarch, then begin to massage it into the area. Place the fabric near a window where there is plenty of sunlight, and let it dry for a couple of hours. Then follow with the hydrogen peroxide solution. Launder as usual.

Dirt & Grass

Photo by Haley Phelps

Look, I know warm weather picnics are sexy. The soil is fresh, the lawns are fertile and the sun is strong. You shouldn’t have to avoid a good stretch across the grass just because it loves to leave its mark across your clothes and shoes.

So, whether you stained your new white shoes, or your child crashed into the wet grass while playing kickball, the fix is simpler than you may imagine.

For unrelenting dirt stains, you’re going to need some hydrogen peroxide. And you’re going to need some scrubbing action (but not abrasiveness), so find an old toothbrush or body brush as well. Grab either a bowl or a spray bottle and mix two parts warm water and one part hydrogen peroxide. You may have to perform several rounds of application and scrubbing, but even the most stubborn stains release after enough aggressive treatment with this method. If it still isn’t working, try a few rounds with some dish soap (again, Dawn is the mightiest) mixed in.

For grass stains, try the exact same method as above, but replacing the hydrogen peroxide with white vinegar.

Stinky Fabric Fixes

You left those soiled dish rags sitting on the sink. You started a load of towels and got distracted with a phone call, an email or an eyebrow emergency. Now those fabrics smell like musty hell. But, guess what? You don’t have to toss them out.

Grab a box of baking soda and a bottle or two of essential oils (citronella, lavender and tea tree are the most magical at eradicating stenches; Young Living makes a famous blend called Purification that is shockingly effective at this). For every standard load, add in half a cup of baking soda and six to eight drops of oil, along with your laundry detergent.

Lastly, for over-the-moon smelling laundry (while sparing yourself and your family of the toxins), try Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender Dryer Sheets. Scented with essential oils, they are as safe for your skin as they make your fabrics smell divine.

Lacey Johnson

Madam Wonder: Editor-in-Chief & Founder

Lacey Johnson is an award-winning editor, essayist and journalist who earned her degree from Belmont University. She has worked with a wide range of celebrities and entrepreneurs - including Betsey Johnson, Deepak Chopra, Lewis Howes and Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson. Her work can be read in a variety of print magazines and digital media sources including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, Mirabella, PopSugar and others. She has also been a featured guest on a variety of Altare Publishing's wellness-related podcasts.With a deep intrigue for human beings, and passion for smacking her readers in the face with the truth, she writes and reports boldly and introspectively about topics such as love and relationships, popular culture, grief, travel, spirituality, wellness, women’s issues and the nuances of successful living.

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