Housewife MacGyver: Resourceful Stain Removal with Gwenny Penny

I am so excited today to have Gwen here today! Gwen is the creative mind behind Gwenny Penny, and she also has a few other tricks up her sleeve as an engineer turned math teacher turned full-time mom. You'll get to hear from her engineering side later, but today she's here to talk about stain removal, Mac-style :) And don't forget to pop on over and leave your baby gender prediction for a chance to win a pair of earrings!

Hey, everybody! I’m Gwen, and I blog over at Gwenny Penny. I blog about sewing and crafting, but I also know a few things about resourceful stain removal. Today I’m here to share some of this knowledge with you in the form of ten common stain removal tips. I am loving the Housewife MacGyver series over here on Lorene’s blog this year, aren’t you?  Let’s get to it!

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Grease: Grease stains like to cleverly disguise themselves as shadows. You’re out at a nice dinner and look down to see that it wasn’t a shadow at all but that enormous dark spot is in fact a grease stain sitting there for everyone to see (not that I would know :). How to get rid of it? Sprinkle cornstarch or cornmeal on the stain, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Brush it off and rub shampoo into the stain. Wash as usual.

Ballpoint pen ink: This one is a big one with my oldest daughter. Every marker, crayon, and paint she owns is of the washable variety, but give that girl an ink pen and there will be marks on her shirt, her pants, the couch. Here’s what to do: completely saturate the area with hairspray (Does anyone use hairspray anymore? I keep mine in the laundry closet.). Rub the area with a soft cloth. Rinse with water. Wash as usual.

Pencil lead: Another big one with my oldest. The best solution is to try to erase the mark with a clean pencil eraser. Rub detergent into the stain, rinse, and wash as usual.

Mucus: Gross? Yup, but if you’ve got little kids at home, it’s a fact of life. Especially on the sheets during cold season. Scrape away whatever crustiness you can. Gag a little. Sponge the area with 1/4 cup of salt dissolved in a quart of lukewarm water. Wash as usual.

Blood: It’s probably going to happen at some point if it hasn’t already... a scraped knee, a paper cut. Immediately run cold water over the stain. Rub the stain with a bar of soap. Rinse with cold water, and wash as usual.

Ring around the collar: I never seem to have an issue with this on my shirts, but my husband’s work shirts are another story. The solution? Rub shampoo into the collar using an old toothbrush or nail brush. Shampoo is formulated to dissolve hair oils!

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Grass stains: Spring and summer are on their way, which means the season of grass stain removal is upon us. Apply white vinegar to the stain, and let it soak overnight. Wash as usual. If that doesn’t work, mix 1 part vinegar, 1 part rubbing alcohol, and 1 part water. Rub this mixture into the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash as usual.

Candle wax: Candle wax appears easy to remove, until you get it off and see that bottom layer embedded in the tablecloth. To remove the rest, scrape off as much wax as possible with a butter knife. Place the stained fabric between two pieces of brown paper bag or two paper towels. Press this paper bag/towel sandwich with a warm iron until the wax melts and absorbs into the paper bags/towels. Wash your fabric as usual.

Chewing gum: Whether on the seat of your pants, ground into the rug, or in your hair, it’s no fun to find chewing gum anywhere but in your mouth. Take an ice cube and harden the gum, then scrape off as much gum as possible with a butter knife. Rub in some detergent until more gum loosens up, then scrape it again. Wash in warm soapy water, and rinse well.

Pine pitch: Pine pitch on your hands (or your car, or your clothes) is no fun at all. Soap does not take care of it. Then you start doing that thing where you clench your fist and open it over and over to see just how sticky it is (OK, maybe that’s just me). The solution to removing pine pitch is butter! Just cut off a little slice of butter and use it like soap. Wash it off with water, then follow that up with actual soap to get the butter off.

I should note that I am by no means a stain removal guru… I'm just playing one on Lorene's blog today. Everything you read here came from a family member or a friend or a book as I found a stain and had to figure out how to remove it. I’m just passing on the things I’ve learned over the years. And always test an inconspicuous area first if you are worried about the effects of the cleaning method on a garment, carpet, etc. Hopefully I have given you some new information on getting rid of common stains using things you have around the house. The Big Mac would be so proud of your resourcefulness… just look at him smile!

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Please feel free to stop by Gwenny Penny any time to say hello. I’d love to have you. This was fun! Thanks so much for having me here today, Lorene!


Thanks, Gwen! I am so glad you found that picture of the good Mac because I searched for ages and couldn't find it. And it's my fave. :)

Here's to hoping that we never have to actually get out some of these gross stains... but we'll be well-prepared when we do! :)

This post is part of the Housewife MacGyver series on just Lu. Read more about Housewife MacGyver and see all the posts in the series here.


Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Thanks again for having me over, Lorene!

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Great post, Gwen! The cornstarch trick also works for removing petroleum jelly from hair- just ask me how I know. :)
Great series Lorene!

Chris said...

These are some great tips. If you don't have hairspray, rubbing alcohol also works on ink.

Andi @ Jane of all crafts said...

WHat can't you do Gwen!! :-) Love these tips! Thanks Lu...awesome series!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Excellent tips and reminders. I am going to print this list out and put it in my laundry room - right next to the hairspray!

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