I think I whine about this too often, so you may be all too aware, but I am allergic to scented products. They give me awful headaches, sometimes migraines, and basically, I think anything scented is the devil. The fact there is so much of it in the world annoys me to no end. Also, “natural” or organic or non-chemical, what have you, makes no difference. It’s actually natural scents the allergy is TO, not only chemical reproductions of them. The worst is an actual lavender or lilac bush. Instant knock out headache. (Note to all manufacturers ever: KEEP THE LAVENDER SCENT OUT OF YOUR “NATURAL” CLEANING SHIT OR I CAN’T USE IT. THANK YOU.)
This is one of the reasons I’m absolutely head-over-heels in love with Charlie’s laundry soap. (This probably sounds sponsored, but it isn’t.) I packed white powder in a baggie to bring through airport security on vacation and crossed my fingers I wouldn’t end up in TSA jail because I couldn’t imagine using laundry detergent on my clothes. Partly because of the scent, but also because of Paul’s eczema, which is aggravated if he happens to wear something washed in detergent instead of soap. I had single-use packets of liquid Tide from who knows where that would have been easier to bring, but no one wants to be itchy on vacation, right?
The kids did a real number on their clothes on this trip, though. At one point, we had Margaret practically swaddled in cloth napkins all around her torso and she managed to drop an entire slice of pepperoni pizza onto her skirt. I can’t even. By the end of the trip, I’d decided the hell with natural products, when we got home I’d simply have to purchase a bottle of color-safe bleach and see what happens. I certainly have tried everything else.
On the journey home I read Manda’s Tide confession (thinking to myself how Tide is the scent and eczema devil), then clicked through to the New York Times article she linked and…hmm. It seemed to say Tide really was the best at removing stains. I thought detergent was detergent, but the article implied no one has ever really been able to replicate Tide’s proprietary formula (or, even if they have, consumers are still convinced Tide is the best).
That night, I washed the first load of vacation laundry in Charlie’s and when the clothes came out, the stains were in all of the exact same places they’d been on the way in. As they always are. I thought I stunk at stain removal, but was it my soap? I eyed the Tide packets, then quickly ripped one open and threw it in the washer before I could change my mind. I figured I’d do one load with Tide, then rewash it once or twice with Charlie’s to remove the stink.
The Tide didn’t work, either. I didn’t expect it to remove all evidence of pepperoni pizza or anything, but I expected some change. Maybe at least the little stains? But no. I’m going to have to buy that bleach.
As far as other things go, I’ve tried, over the last year, OxiClean with every load (I liked it, and felt it kept things nicer, but it doesn’t remove the kinds of stains my kids make)(I’ve also made a paste of it and rubbed directly on stains, but that didn’t help), Shout (what my mom – and I – have always used and, honestly, it works better than anything else I’ve tried, but it hasn’t gotten kid stains all the way out), and the OxiClean Max Force Gel Stick Emily recommended (it has not worked at all for me. Nada.)(I did coat the clothes with it last night, though, because it can’t hurt to try again, right?)
Do you have anything else you swear by? I’m at a loss. Maybe the bleach will work? I’m not asking for a miracle here – that skirt, which Margaret also covered in watermelon stains, may be a loss – but I don’t even have anything that works on everyday stains.