Laundry Problems, Mistakes and Mysteries

October 28, 2015  
Filed under Blogs



Laundry challenges, it seems, come in every size, shape and intensity. Rather than thinking there is no solution for that stain, shrunken item or other laundry disaster, consider the ways your fellow readers have found to recover and renew situations gone terribly wrong.

MELTED-ON CRAYON STAINS. With so many restaurants giving the kids crayons to keep them occupied while waiting for the meal to arrive, we have had to learn how to remove crayons from clothes that have inadvertently made their way through both the washer and dryer. Melted-on crayon can be removed by first applying WD-40 to the area, working it into the stain with your fingers. Once the WD-40 has begun to break down the petroleum base of the crayon, apply concentrated detergent to remove both the stain and the WD-40. Put back into the washer and launder as usual. It works like a charm. — Andrea

UNSHRINKING WOOL. Don’t be too quick to toss out that favorite sweater that just got shrunk in the hot wash. Chances are you good you can un-shrink it! Mix a solution of one-gallon lukewarm water and two tablespoons baby shampoo. Soak the shrunken garment for about ten minutes. Now the important part: Don`t rinse! Simply blot out all the excess water with a dry towel and very gently lay it flat on a fresh towel. Reshape slowly and carefully stretch it back to its original size. Dry out of direct sunlight or heat. This tip comes from the Wool Bureau who verifies this technique will work provided the fibers have not become permanently damaged. –Mary

LAUNDRY ACCOUNT. I put a piggy bank on the shelf above my washer. Whenever I find money in the washer or dryer, I put it in there. I figure by the time I need to buy a new washer or dryer, I have a nice down payment in the bank. Nobody has ever missed the money they left in their pants. –Eliana

HIDE THEN SEEK. Those tags on the back of your neck can really bug you. If you cut them off and throw them away, you could launder the garment wrong. That’s why I cut the tag then sew into a pocket or the inside seam. Now I play hide-and-seek but I don’t shrink any more clothes. –Bella

TARGETED TREATMENT. My four kids have lots of T-shirts, which are mostly white, but with pictures or colored trim. They can’t be bleached when the kids have a spill, which is about every day. I have discovered that I can apply a gel cleaner with bleach (as usually used on counter tops) directly to the stain and the stain will come out, but the gel formula keeps any other part of the shirt from being bleached. I have been doing this for about a month, with great success, and no damage to the material. –Suzanne

PITCH OUT. It’s woodcutting time at our house and the pitch is coming in with the wood. We rub automotive hand cleaner onto the pitch then launder as usual. Those work clothes look as good as new! –Bud

OLD YELLOWED LINENS. I found a box of my mother-in-law’s old table linens that were very yellowed from age. I soaked the linens in Iron Out for about 20 minutes and then added laundry detergent, washing as usual. Everything came out sparkling clean, almost as if new. I plan on trying it on her wedding gown, too. –Morgan

Thanks guys, for sharing all of these great tips, trick and laundry solutions.

Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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