Sometimes (in fact, a lot of times) stains just do not come out with the typical method of spraying with a stain remover and throwing in the wash. They often require soaking.
Which is potentially time consuming.
And who has time to worry about soaking stains? Not this Mama.
I need the fastest possible method of soaking a stain. And here it is:
Needed Items for The Soak
A large container or bucket
A place to store your bucket while it soaks
Rubber gloves if you have sensitive hands
Things to consider before you get started
I use a 5-gallon bucket most often for stain removal. Because I save everything to soak at once (which creates its own problems) I most often need a large container. If I am soaking something small, I use a hospital pan (the pink container in the picture) or something similar.
You’ll also need a place to store your container for several hours (or overnight). If I’m using my 5-gallon bucket, I fill it up and let the items soak in our master tub. If I’m just soaking a small item in a pan, than I keep it on the bathroom counter in our master bathroom. When soaking, I keep the master bathroom shut and often locked. I am admittedly a little paranoid about children’s heads in buckets of water and drowning.
If you have sensitive skin at all, make sure to wear rubber gloves when mixing your Oxi Clean Water. I often do not use gloves, and I always wish I did. It can make your skin itchy, red and generally feel unpleasant. If you choose not to wear gloves, wash your hands with soap immediately after you are finished to rinse off all of the residue. Oxi Clean is a chemical, afterall.
Method for The Soak
You are ready to get started once you have gathered your supplies, determined your container and where you’re going to leave your items to soak.
1) Scoop your desired amount of Oxi Clean into your clean container.
I use about a scoop of Oxi Clean per gallon of water, especially if the item is heavily soiled. So I use almost a whole scoop if I’m using a hospital container and 2 full scoops if I am going to fill my 5-gallon bucket about 3/4 of the way full of water. This is not rocket science and I do not measure the exact amount of water I am putting in the container.
2) Fill your container with warm or hot water.
3) While the water is filling the container, use your hand to help dissolve the Oxi Clean.
4) Put your stained clothes in and completely saturate them with the Oxi Clean Water.
Every inch of the garment needs to be wet. It’s okay if the item is not completely dunked under the water and is floating towards the top. Put in as many garments as will fit in the container you are using.
5) Allow the item to soak for awhile.
How long is awhile? It depends on the stain. Some stains come out super quickly, as in within an hour or so. In my experience, it is best to let stains soak for several hours. Stains such as newborn baby poop or those that are tomato-based may even need to be soaked overnight.
**If you are worried about the color-fastness of your item, make sure you check on it frequently. Every 15-30 minutes you can peek and make sure the color has not faded. I have only had Oxi Clean stain/discolor 2 items in my entire Soaking Career, however the potential always exists!
6) Agitate the clothes and the water every couple of hours.
Every hour or two (or whenever you think about it), run your hand through the container and re-arrange the garments and agitate the water. You want to ensure that all of the items stay adequately wet with the Oxi Clean Water.
7) When the stain has sufficiently faded, wash the item as you regularly would.
If it isn’t too heavy I take the whole bucket and pour it into the washing machine, Oxi Clean Water and all. This is where a top-loader would be easier than a front-loader! I add enough clothes to make a full load and wash as I usually would. Before I place it in the dryer, I make sure the stain has faded to my standards. If it is, I dry as usual in the dryer. If I am unsure, I hang the item to drip-dry and examine it when it’s completely dry.
What do you do if the stain doesn’t come out?
If I am unsure what caused the stain, I try washing it using the Blue Dawn Method to remove grease. It may be a grease stain and I didn’t realize that in the first place. Oxi Clean doesn’t do a whole lot with grease, but it works wonders on other types of stains.
Also, I decide if I need to go through the whole process again. Sometimes soaking for 2-3 days will help remove a stain as opposed to just 2-3 hours. I’ve even soaked for a couple of days and then let the garment dry in the sun (without rinsing it first). Between the sun and the Oxi Clean Water, the stain bleaches out. Drying in the sun while coated in Oxi Clean Water can definitely fade color – just beware.
If it doesn’t come out after trying these things…well, it just doesn’t come out. You can’t remove all stains, regardless of how hard you try or how much effort you put in it. The item can then turn into a wear-around-the house article at that point.
How closely do I need to watch my container of soaking items?
Honestly, I’ve left clothes soaking for days. Only because I couldn’t get around to emptying the container or I just plain forgot they were there. However, I don’t recommend this! If you forget to agitate the clothes after a couple of hours or accidently leave them overnight without meaning to, all will probably be fine. But just to be on the safe side, write yourself a note or set your cell phone to alarm and remind you they are there!
What other questions do you have about soaking a stained item? Ask away in the comments. I love stain questions…