Dear Home-Ec 101,
My two-year-old daughter has a white skirt that she absolutely loves to wear. The last time I washed it, I noticed lots of large yellow spots all over the skirt. Since she’s two, there is no telling what those spots may be. I have tried using OxiClean, Dawn dish soap, and bleach, and the spots haven’t budged at all. I want to rescue her favorite skirt. What can I do?
First of all, I’m going to let you in on two little, disappointing secrets:
- Some stains are permanent.
- Some stains can be made permanent if treated incorrectly the first time.
With toddlers, both tannin (fruit juice) and protein stains are usually a possibility and both can be difficult if not treated promptly.
Both tannin and protein stains should be rinsed under cool water. Tannin stains should then be washed in the hottest water tolerated by the garment, while protein (milk) stains should be soaked in warm water with plenty of detergent.
In your specific case, it looks as though you haven’t tried using the acid route. Grab some lemon juice or vinegar and rub directly on the spots and place the garment in the sun for a few hours. Wash and inspect the skirt and repeat, if necessary. This method works especially well for tannin stains which can be caused by fruit juices. Since apple juice is so light, you may not have noticed the stain until after it had been washed and dried.
Another round of soaking oxygen bleach MAY finish removing any residual stains, but I can’t promise.
Unfortunately, it does sound like this stain has been set and these suggestions may not be completely effective.
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