Becoming a dad means you get used to certain changes from your pre-kid life. Rarely do you get to sleep in. You still get into new music, but it’s different–you know all of Daniel Tiger’s songs but none of Lil Yachty’s. And your precious clothes are always at risk of stains.
Recently, I was half-assedly picking up after my kids (they’re 3 and not, like, tidy) and absentmindedly stuck a red crayon in the pocket of my khakis. You can guess that I then machine washed and dried those khakis, which was disastrous for everything in the wash, including one of my favorite shirts, a gauzy polka dot camp number I wear all the time. It came out of the dryer mottled with waxy red spots.
But all was not lost. I did some research and found some solutions people have had success with before. The important elements of getting crayon out: hot water and dish soap (this may not be the best method for more delicate fabrics, but it was fine for cotton). I was surprised how well it worked.
- First, run the washer on hot. You want it as hot as you can get it. If possible, add boiling water–I added a couple of pitchers from an electric kettle.
- Pre-treat the stains to the extent you can–rub a little laundry detergent or dish soap on there or spray-on pre-treatment if you have it.
- For a normal load, add a half cup of white vinegar and a third cup of dish soap to the water (don’t need to be exact, we’re not making a souffle here). Add whatever detergent you’d normally add as well.
- Soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Let the washer run.
- For stuff that’s gotten really stained, you’ll likely have to do this twice.
That’s it. I was pretty close to throwing a bunch of these clothes out but after a couple rounds in the hot wash they’re all fine (except my daughter’s pink terry cloth skirt–RIP).