As a mother of a fussy eater, I’m bordering on obsessed with what Little Miss A eats; in particular, at school. The social pressure means that she will eat food (cauliflower anyone?) that I have never actually witnessed passing her lips when it’s handed cooked by me in the comforts of her own home. Every day I pick her up and get a rundown of the day’s meal but there is one menu item that I never have to ask about: spaghetti bolognaise. I can spot those tell-tale oily orangey/red stains on Little Miss A’s pristine white collar a mile away. And I know what I’m doing the moment my foot hits the door: intense stain removal.

The first step in stain removal is to know what caused it. There are several basic categories of stains, each requiring different treatment. The trick is to completely remove the stain before running the garment through the wash; otherwise, the stain could be permanently set (worse if you put it through the dryer).

  Stain Category Instructions
1. Spaghetti Bolognaise Protein I often forego using stain remover and/or enzyme treatment in favour of a bar of soap or (clear) Fairy washing up liquid. Saturate the stain with cold water and rub soap into the stain. Let stand for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
2. Blood Protein Wash in cold water immediately. Milk can also loosen blood stains.
3. Grass Protein Soak the garment before washing, using a biological pre-soak product. Make sure you follow the instructions on the product label.
4. Urine Protein If the urine stain is still wet, cover it with salt until all the liquid is absorbed. Rinse. If the stain remains, use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
5. Oil / Cosmetics Grease Apply a liberal amount of baby power over the stain to absorb the grease. Let stand overnight then brush the power off the garment (over the sink or bath). If the stain has been lifted, proceed to wash as normal.
6. Coffee / Tea Tannin Saturate the stain with cold water and rub bar/liquid soap into the stain. Let stand for a few minutes. Rinse under cold water. Repeat as necessary.
7. Chocolate Tannin
8. Red wine Tannin If you can treat a red wine stain immediately, cover the spot with salt to absorb the liquid. Then soak in cold water.
9. Ink Miscellaneous Saturate the stain with aerosol hairspray; let stand for a few minutes. Rinse under cold water. Repeat as necessary.
10. Chewing gum Miscellaneous Rub the chewing gum with ice to harden it. Then scrap off as much as you can with a blunt knife. Treat the stain with a bar of soap or stain remover and wash. Peanut butter also works.

Good luck!

Me & Little Miss A