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ye olde stain recipe

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The Damsel has 7 sprogs; thus it goes without saying she’s been around the laundry block.

This simple, cheap pre-soak WORKS, especially on food stains. It came into the grateful hands of the Damsel via The Tightwad Gazette, which was a fantastic newsletter published back in the 90’s.

Mix one cup powdered dishwashing detergent (like Cascade) and one cup oxygen bleach (like Clorox II–NOT regular bleach) in 5 gallons of the hottest water your tap can produce. Put in several articles, swish them up and down (the Damsel uses a 5 gallon bucket, but whatever works) and leave overnight. The next day, launder as usual. (Don’t do this with things hot water might hurt, but most regular clothes are fine.)

The Damsel does not know why dishwashing detergent has a secret second life as a laundry booster. Sometimes it’s best not to ask awkward questions.

This helps take out stains but also brightens whites if you’ve got any dingy ones. The Damsel understands how depressing this can be. Save your depression for other things the Damsel can’t help you with, such as cellulite or terrorism.

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  • I discovered the magic of Dawn dishsoap on the laundry last summer and can't believe I lived without it. I'll have to try the mixture on my whites. Thanks!

  • ooh…brightens whites you say? How nice. I've used dawn with cloth diapers and to get out vaseline stains.

  • I think the reason it works (especially, like you stated, for food stains) is that dish detergent is meant to cut grease! So…voila! Food stains are outta there…

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  • Is it regular dish soap or dishwasher soap? My mom uses dishwasher soap and bleach which works great! The reason the dishwasher soap works so well is that it has phosphorous in it.

    • the_damsel

      It's dishwasher soap. And hmmm. I haven't tried it since they took the phosphorous out of everything. **scared

  • I will have to try this. Thank you so much

  • I love the Tightwad Gazette! I didn't know about it when the newsletters were being published, but I have the book compilation, and it's great.

    • the_damsel

      Me too! I love it!

  • I'm going to have to try that mixture for getting stains out of clothes. I even have a 5 gallon bucket with a special plunger that I got for Christmas 2010. My Mom called it a Mountain Man Maytag. So interesting! Anyway. I recently heard you can add an asprin tablet to your wash load to whiten whites. Have you tried this? I'm about to this next week.

    • the_damsel

      Hahaha! Love it! Mountain Man Maytag lol.I haven't heard of the aspirin trick. Let me know!

  • wow, thanks for all the tips!

  • You're amazing. You can even make a post about laundry amusing. I am officially in awe.

  • rosemary

    thank you for all the new info,

  • Josweetlife

    I am slightly confused. Do you just put a cup full in your laundry? How do you use it? Please respond to [email protected] BTW, I am in LOVE with your blog. I just got called as the Enrichment Coordinator in my ward. I was told to use as little of the budget as possible. (yeah.) Your blog has given me soooo many ideas. Thank you!!

    • Anonymous

      Hi! I’m so glad you like the blog. Yay! I love to think that I might be useful to a enrichment coordinator. Are you in Utah?
      This is actually a pre-soak. Look at the blog post and you’ll see instructions for soaking the articles in the solution for several hours or overnight, and then take the wet things out of the solution and run them through the wash as usual. Sorry it wasn’t more clear.
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Josweetlife

    O.K., I promise. Last question. Can i reuse this solution or do I have to remake it every time? (My son just brought home his gym clothes after half of the school year.) [email protected]:disqus .com

    • Anonymous

      You could reuse it. Most of the time, what I do is do a bucket full of clothes at a time. Then I dump the whole thing, solution and all, into the wash and run it through with detergent. I’d say it depends on how dirty the clothes are when you put them into the solution. If it looks ok after the soak, I don’t see why you couldn’t reuse it.