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Out Darn Spot! -- Get Ready For Back To School Stains
August 15, 2010

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In This Issue Of Out Darn Spot:

1. What's New At

2. Natural Stain Remover Spotlight: Lemon Juice

3. Back To School Stain Removal Tips

4. Cleaning Tip Of The Month

5. Featured Stain Remover Review And Upcoming Contest

What's New At

This is the first issue of the Out Darn Spot! Newsletter, so thanks so much for subscribing.

I already have over 50 subscribers, so I am very excited.

The What's New section of the newsletter is designed to allow you to find out some of the most recent featured content on

The website's focus is on stain removal and cleaning tips.

This month I will give you a tour of the main areas dealing with stain removal.

Two Approaches For Dealing With Stain Removal

Stain removal can be approached in two ways, treating the type of stain, such as strawberries or nail polish, or the type of surface that has been stained, such as upholstery or clothing.

Since you can deal with stains with two approaches I have also created the site to deal with stains in both ways.

My A-Z Stain Removal Guide lets you choose between all kinds of stains, from avocado to zucchini, and learn how to remove that type of stain from washable clothing, upholstery or carpet.

I also have areas of the site devoted to certain surfaces. The only one currently created is the how to clean upholstery stains section, but I am planning on adding more about laundry stain removal and stain removal from carpet, among others, in the near future. Until then the stain removal guide serves as a reference for all of these surfaces, since it breaks down each stain into both type and then surface.

Sharing Your Own Stain Removal Tips

There is generally more than one way to remove stains.

Although I have written instructions for how to remove certain stains that doesn't mean I know everything. I don't claim to.

Instead, I'm learning more about removing stains everyday.

But I want to learn more, and share this information with everyone.

That is why I have created some additional sections on my site.

The first is a place where you can submit your own stain removal tip.

I've already gotten some wonderful tips from readers which I have published, and also I have found some great videos online which I have featured and embedded onto the site which give more tips for removing certain types of stains, from various surfaces.

I would really appreciate it if you would submit any tips you may have.

If you have a website when you submit your tip I can give you a link back. You can also submit links to previously posted content from your website if you don't mind me giving a summary to my readers.

Second, I have a stain removal help section of the site, where you can write in to get help and advice in removing a stain.

I have already answered a couple of questions (or at least tried).

The idea is that even if I can't answer the question another reader may be able to, and help get those stubborn stains out.

I would encourage you to check out this section and write any questions you may have, or comment and help answer the questions already submitted, if you have encountered the same issue before.

Well, that is enough of a tour of the website for now. I will continue on with the tour next month!

Natural Stain Remover Spotlight: Lemon Juice

A lot of times, with stain removal, the suggestion is to use a certain type of commercial stain remover, or strong chemical to get the stain out.

Sometimes that is most effective or necessary.

However, I do not believe we should always just turn straight to harsh chemicals.

That is why I am exploring natural ways to clean and remove stains.

Each month I hope to spotlight a natural stain remover that we can all learn more about, and hopefully use instead of something harsher.

Sometimes these natural stain removers may be made by a company, but other times they are free (or readily purchased in your grocery store).

This month the spotlight is on lemons and lemon juice as a stain remover.

Lemon juice has, for centuries, been used as a natural stain remover, especially for clothing.

That is because lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent, and its high acidity can attack alkaline stains.

An added bonus is that it smells really nice and fresh.

Here is a way to make homemade bleach for clothing using lemons:

Step 1: Fill a large pot with water, add lemon slices, and bring the water to a boil.

Step 2: Once the water is boiling turn off the heat and add the clothing that needs to be whitened. Let it soak in the hot water and lemon slices for approximately an hour.

Step 3: Next, launder the item as usual.

Extra hint: If you want even more whitening after washing you can dry the item in the sunlight.

Click here to learn even more about the uses of lemon juice for cleaning, stain removal and laundry.

Sneak Peek: September's natural stain remover spotlight will be on sunlight!

Back To School Stain Removal Tips

Two of my three kids start back to school next week. I can't believe the summer flew by so fast, can you?

So now that it is back to school time I know I need to be ready for some different types of stains on their clothing when they come home from school.

That includes the "dreaded five" of pencil marks, marker stains, crayon stains, chalk stains and glue stains.

Here are some quick tips for removing these stains from your kids' new school clothes to keep them looking their best.

Pencil marks: A stray pencil mark or two can easily end up on clothing, and is especially noticeable on light colored clothing.

A simple way to get rid of those stray pencil marks is to use a soft pink eraser, rubbing it gently on the clothing to remove the marks.

Then, simply brush away the pink shavings and pretreat the area with a laundry stain remover, and then wash as normal.

Marker stains: Kids can get a bit enthusiastic with their coloring and come home with a little artwork left on their shirt or pants.

Assuming that the marker is water-based, meaning it is washable, then it is easy to remove with a prewash laundry stain remover and regular washing.

However, it can be hard to tell if it is a water-based marker, or oil-based marker from the marks themselves.

Here is a helpful trick in such instances: wet two cotton balls, one with water and one with rubbing alcohol. Lightly dab each cotton ball, in turn, onto the marker marks.

Then, look at each cotton ball. Whichever cotton ball has more marker ink transferred onto it is the solvent of choice to use for removing those marker marks.

If the water soaked cotton ball is the one with more transfer follow the stain removal instructions above. If the alcohol soaked cotton ball is the one with more transfer you now know you are dealing with an oil-based marker stain.

The solvent of choice is alcohol for oil-based markers, and you should continue blotting at the stain with rubbing alcohol, being careful to use new cotton balls often to avoid re-transfer back onto the fabric, until the marker stain is removed. Then rinse and wash as normal.

You can submit your own marker removal stain tip here, or read other tips already submitted here.

Crayon stain: Similarly, kids can get crayon stains on their clothes from exuberant coloring, like with marker.

When this happens wash the clothing using hot water, your normal laundry detergent, and add one cup of baking soda to the wash. This generally gets out the crayon stains.

If not, check out this article on crayon stain removal for even more ideas.

Chalk stains: Kids can easily brush against the chalk board and bring home chalk stains on their clothes.

Your first thought may be to wet it down to try to remove the stain, but in this instance that instinct would not be correct.

With chalk it is best to brush and shake away as much of the chalk as possible before beginning to treat the stain with any type of liquid.

Then, you can generally use a prewash laundry stain remover on the rest of the stain and wash as normal to get it all out.

Sometimes colored chalk stains can be a bit trickier to remove than white or yellow chalk though, so if you have a particularly stubborn chalk stain check out this article on chalk stain removal.

Glue stain: Each of my kids has gotten into the glue at school one time or another and gotten it all over everything.

The instructions here are for removing water-based craft glue, such as Elmer's glue, which is what is commonly used in schools.

The first step is to scrape off as much of the glue as possible. Most likely by the time your child comes home from school the glue will be dry.

You can peel off as much of the glue as you can, and then soak the garment in warm water for approximately 30 minutes to loosen the rest of it to scrape away.

Then, all that is generally left to do is pretreat with a laundry stain remover and wash as normal.

You can also reference this article on glue stain removal for more information on how to remove glue from other surfaces in your home.

Cleaning Tip Of The Month explores the topic of stain removal, obviously, but it also explores the topic of cleaning more broadly, since the two topics really go hand in hand.

I recently posted this video tip about getting rid of washing machine smell.

You can get a smell in your machine from mold and mildew build up, and it can be maddening trying to get rid of that smell once it develops.

The video gives some really great tips for where the mold and mildew could be lurking and how to clean it out.

In fact, one of my readers was so inspired by the video that she cleaned her own washing machine, taking pictures of before and after, which she placed on her blog.

You can see both the video and get a link to the before and after pictures of our reader with the link to the article above.

Featured Stain Remover Review And Upcoming Contest

I'm always on the look out for people's reviews and opinions about various stain removers, to try to figure out which ones are the best since there are so many on the market.

In fact, I love hearing other people's reviews so much I have an entire area of the site devoted to stain remover reviews, where you can submit your own reviews of various types of products.

Each month I will feature one of the best reviews I receive and publish on the site in this newsletter.

This month the winner is Lindsay. She submitted the review entitled Fels Naptha Laundry Soap Is Awesome For Removing Laundry Stains.

You may have heard of Fels-Naptha, which is a dark greenish brown soap used by the famous Duggars, of 19 Kids And Counting, who use it as a main ingredient in their homemade laundry soap.

Upcoming Contest - Win A Comprehensive Laundry Guide Book

From August 15 - September 14, 2010 I am running a contest to win a copy of Cheryl Mendelson's book, Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens.

If you've never read Cheryl's main book, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, I highly recommend it.

I have read it cover to cover several times, and I have read the first chapter, entitled My Secret Life, many more times when I wanted some homekeeping inspiration.

All you have to do to enter the contest is submit a laundry stain remover review, or submit any other stain remover review, explaining how the product worked (or didn't work) for you.

Of the reviews submitted during that time period one person will be chosen at random to receive the book as the prize.

Please make sure, after you have entered your review, to preview your page and fill in the contact information at the bottom because otherwise I will not have your email address, and could not then contact you to get shipping instructions for your prize.

You can enter as many times as you would like, with separate reviews.

I can't wait to hear your opinions!

Thanks For Joining Me For Out Darn Spot! Newsletter Your First Stop When Stains Happen~

If you have any questions about this newsletter, or you thought of something you wanted to tell me, you can contact me here.

I hope you have enjoyed this first issue of the Out Darn Spot! Newsletter!

I'll talk to you again next month.



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