The title is my mommy tribute to MacBeth.
**insert dramatic bowing here**
After a red crayon hid itself in my laundry and held it hostage last weekend, I thought we might need to change the color scheme in Emma's room to include red in order to tie in the red splotches all over her PBK (!) comforter and sheets.
But it turns out, there is a God. (And duh, I knew that. Don't think I didn't pray over the comforter, asking Him to remove all the stains. It's okay to pray for the little things too.)
I sure hope this doesn't happen to you, but in case it does, here's my advice: when you Google "how to get crayon out of laundry" and people rave about how they washed it all out in one fell swoop and everything came out and it was a miracle... don't believe them. They probably work for a detergent company and they're lying.
Instead, four washes later with various methods, I still have faint stains, but nothing I'm losing sleep over. In fact, I was so pleased when I went to take "after" pictures that I could barely find the stains!
So here's what worked for me - after four washes using different methods, I'm wondering if wash #4 is the secret:
Well, first I cleaned the dryer which was a mess. Soft Scrub washed down with water did the trick and it was a breeze. I made sure to wash/dry a load of towels first just to pick up any leftover crayon or soft scrub residue. Now on to the hard part... the laundry.
1. Pretreated all stains with Zout and worked in with a toothbrush, followed by washing with regular detergent and 1 cup OxiClean Stain Fighter (liquid) in HOT water. I soaked it in the hot water for an hour in the washer before moving on with the cycle. Result: barely faded stains.
2. Scrubbed each stain with... WD-40 or "Goof Off". I would get bored with one and switch. Then I washed in HOT water with regular detergent and a cup of OxiClean. Result: no difference, but STINKY laundry. Not the way to go unless you want to pass out. (Probably not good while pregnant!) So I rewashed it like a normal load to try to get the smell out, with no luck.
3. Mixed 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup of OxiClean Stain Fighter, 1 cup of Zout, 1 cup of laundry detergent, with a little goo gone on the spots and washed in HOT water. Result: a little more faded, but clearly visible. And the WD-40 smell was much better although still slightly there.
4. I like to call this method the close your eyes and point method. I was so discouraged by now that nothing would work, that I pulled out all the stops. And by "stops" I mean every cleaning product within reach. This is what my work area looked like by the time I was done:
I pretreated every spot with different things. Someday when I'm feeling ambitious (and clearly have nothing else to do AT ALL) I think I'll melt a crayon on some old t-shirts, label each spot with a Sharpie and figure out which of these products really is the most effective. I think the two that ended up taking out the spots the best were Scrubbing Bubbles (shower cleaner of all things!) and GOJO. I was about to give up all hope when I spied GOJO Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner (for heavy-duty cleaning, like after you've worked on cars. Well not ME, but you know...) on the shelf. I tried it as a joke, but it was working! I think next time I'd stay away from the pumice variety as it probably is not good for fabric, but I could see it working.
After using everything within reach (yes, even toothpaste), I washed in HOT water with regular detergent and another cup of OxiClean. And I threw in some baking soda for good measure. Once the washer was filled with hot water, I let it soak for an hour and then continued the cycle with an extra rinse. The result: I can barely see the spots! By now I was really only focused on the comforter, so the sheets still have pink spots on them, but it gives them character, right? RIGHT?!
Anyway, the result is that I can barely see the stains. Here's proof:
After: this is the same corner that's in the left side of the picture above. I should've tried situating them the same for the picture, but I'd seen enough of the comforter by the time I took these pictures!!! You can still see some faint red areas in the picture below, especially if you look along the edges, but they kind of blend in with the flowers on the fabric, so it's good enough for me. Oh, and that spot right below the leaves of that flower in the picture above? Totally gone!
There were sooo many red spots that it was long and tedious, but the work was well worth it in the end.
I'd say there's a moral to the story... but it would be something unrealistic like, "The moral of the story is, if you don't want to deal with crayon stains in your laundry, don't have kids!" because we all know this will happen again and again before my kids have outgrown crayons. And I'll take red crayon in my laundry any day before I'd give up my girls.
But I might throw out all the crayons. Just don't tell the girls.