Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


have Murphy's Oil, will travel


I like to learn. I wasn't really into learning back in college, when that trait would have been extremely helpful, but these days I enjoy using my noggin. Being at home all day with three small children makes it challenging to come up with useful nuggets, but I have to say I have carved out a bit of niche for myself.

As you may have ascertained, with little kids come big stains. We don't discriminate against blots in this household. We welcome small, medium and large. Color is not a problem; we've hosted yellow, brown, red, purple, and green -- all the colors of the rainbow thanks to Crayola markers. Texture doesn't muck things up; I've seen crusty, smooth and everything in between.

And let's not forget my personal favorite, which has to be bodily fluids. Topping the list are blood, vomit and feces, but don't kid yourself, the body seems to be an endless factory of fluids pumping out liquids with the ability to stain. My house is like a Benneton ad for soiled spots.

So I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, as it were. I gave myself the challenge of ridding stains from the Cardiogirl household. The internet is my main research tool. Okay, let's be honest, the internet is my only research tool. But hands down it is the information sensei and its powers can be used for infinite good.

My main stain-related issues seem to revolve around blood and feces. Now, I know to the uninitiated, it would sound like we live in squalor amidst poop-flinging feral monkeys. But rest assured the only monkeys in this house are my children who insist on jumping on the beds. I keep telling them I called the doctor and the doctor said, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" (Just a little musical segue there. We frequently sing that little ditty as they jump on any piece of furniture in the house. If you've never heard the song, consider yourself blessed as it is one that will cling tightly to your brain like saran wrap that has seared itself onto a hot pan.)

Okay, back to the stain fighting. The feces is due to a technicality known as advanced potty training. Child number one has graduated from Potty Training (PT) 101, 201 and is in the end stages of PT 301. In PT 301, the child masters the art of wiping clean all evidence of a bowel movement. This is where our six year old is. She is close to graduating and for that I am ever grateful.

It's a different story with our 3 year old. She has passed PT 101 with flying colors (staying dry with underwear throughout waking hours). We're working on PT 201 (staying dry overnight with underwear). She is failing PT 301 horribly. So basically, it's as if she's using her underwear as toilet paper, which brings me to my ever-present hand-to-hand combat with the stain known as human feces.

This is where I decided to use my friend, the internet, to help me out. What I have discovered is that most brands of dishwashing liquid (like Dawn or Palmolive) combined with soaking the offending garment in cold water for a couple of days will dissolve the stain.

A particularly ardent stain will require extra scrubbing with the dishwashing liquid, but for the most part the stain will come out. Stain zero, Cardiogirl one.

As mentioned earlier, the next top offender in our household is blood. My oldest daughter seems to have especially dry nasal cavities which result in numerous bloody noses. No more do I quake in the presence of that A positive elixir. I have tangled with blood in a dark alley and kicked it squarely in the ass, thank you very much. And this is how I did it.

Any brand of shampoo will remove blood stains. I have used Suave and I have used Costco's store brand, Kirkland, with great success. Depending on the intensity of the stain, you may have to rinse and repeat, as directed on the bottle. But the stain will come out. If it is a particularly austere blot and it insists on leaving a faint remnant of its former glory, you simply douse the remainder with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Stain be damned! Stain zero, Cardiogirl two.

Most other stains will come out with Murphy's Oil sprayed directly on the stain before washing. Ground in dirt can be removed with dishwashing liquid. Oil stains can be lifted with cornstarch first (to soak the oil or grease) then scrub with dishwashing liquid and launder until the stain is gone.

Like Poland and France in World War II, the stain and the dryer are strident allies. They are declared friends in the war against cleanliness. If you see any remnant of a stain while the garment is wet do not, I repeat do not, throw said garment into the dryer. You will seal your fate.

As a last resort, soaking in cold water for days on end, up to a week, will loosen some stains like chocolate and vomit. Most folks know ball point pen will come out with hairspray. Some stains will respond to dousing with hairspray (any brand, pump or aerosol) then rubbing with a dry bar of soap, like Dove or Dial and vigorous scrubbing.

It's a jungle out there in laundry rooms across the globe. You're going to need a lasso, a machete and various cleaning accessories to win the war against grime. But hopefully my crudely drawn map will provide some guidance.

p.s. Got some towels or washcloths that smell from mildew? (No, me neither, wink wink.) A cup of ammonia added to the rinse cycle will get rid of that smell.


Another overdue thanks: I'm sending an extra 1000 strides on the elliptical trainer to poopiebitch who added me as a favorite a while ago. Thanks Poopie!


2007-01-14 at 9:28 a.m.

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