Do you remember the television commercials for the laundry detergent that claimed to remove the embarrassing “ring around the collar?” The husband and wife would be at some social gathering, perhaps dining on Lobster Thermador at the Rotary Club or some such thing, when one of the Gladys Kravitz-esque attendees would notice a stain on Mr. Commercial’s shirt collar and point it out loudly enough for everyone this side of Brooklyn to hear, “He’s got ring around the collar!” The singsong nasal chorus would repeat this as Mrs. Commercial turned several shades of crimson and Mr. Commercial went on merrily munching on his shellfish, oblivious to the goings-on. I, for one, always wondered why Mrs. Commercial was so embarrassed when clearly the problem would take care of itself if Mr. Commercial would just take the time to wash his neck.
I got to thinking about that commercial recently as I was trying to remove another stubborn stain, this one caused by my baby’s ample and artful methods of regurgitation rather than my husband’s poor upper vertebral hygiene. Babies’ garments are different from adults’ you see, and babies’ skin is far more sensitive, so there is no miracle stain remover that is both safe for baby and tough on the messes that they tend to make when they decide that they want to take one more look at that last bit of formula. There are, however, several ways to remove stubborn stains like these from baby clothes and accessories using common household items that contain no harmful chemicals.
For the traditional spit-up stain that parents of a young baby will see plenty of, the best method that I have found uses club soda and baking soda. What you’ll want to do is sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stained area and then pour on a bit of club soda. Remember the papier mache volcanoes that the nerdier kids constructed for the eighth grade science fair? This is the same effect. The club soda and baking soda will bubble and foam a bit. Let that happen for a few seconds and then take an old toothbrush and gently scrub the area. The dried on bits of yuck should loosen and chip away in no time at all. Now wash the garment as usual. Voila! The stain should be gone. This same concoction will remove corrosion from the positive and negative posts of an automobile battery, by the way, so if you have that problem one day, tell your husband that you’ll take care of it for him while he goes into the bathroom and washes his neck.