I must confess, when it comes to laundry, I have been spoiled. I grew up in my families dry cleaning business, therfore I had every commercial spotter and cleaner I could imagine at my disposal. When we no longer had the business, I had to take what I had learned and use it to create my own pre-spotter for home use. Here is what I have come up with. Just like commercial spotters, it is not a 100% guarantee that it will work for every stain, but I promise it will work for most!
First off, you must use a glass spray bottle. The essential oils in this recipe will melt any plastic container over time. I prefer the amber glass look but you can use clear glass as well if that is your preference. You can use the glass container over and over so it is well worth the few dollars it takes to purchase it.
The ingedients you will need are:
- 1 4 oz. amber glass spray bottle
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup Castile soap ( I use the Lavender scent)
- 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
- 5-10 drops lemon or orange essential oils
Add in the order listed to the spray bottle and shake gently prior to each use. I have found that one bottle of pre-spotter typically lasts about 6 months in our house. Now, granted, our days of school sports are over, and we tend to be typically “spill free”, but you could probably get at least 4 months out of one bottle for average laundry needs.
I have used this pre-spotter on a variety of stains from chocolate, to mustard, to ink and everything in between. It is very effective on most stains except some oil or grease based stains that have gone unnoticed until they are being folded after having been in the dryer. I have tried these stubborn spots with some success while other times I struggle to get the oily stain to even budge.
Be patient, but know that some oil stains will not come out no matter how hard you try. The best case scenario is to allow stained garments to hang dry to make sure stains are gone before putting into the dryer. The heat from the dryer will set a stain, and make it almost impossible to get out.
The pre-spotter works best if you spray it on the stain and let it set for approximately 10 minutes or so, prior to washing. On some occasions, I also have gently tapped an old toothbrush on the spot to help release it from the fabric. This technique is more gentle on the fabric fibers than scrubbing back and forth and the tapping motion lifts the stain out as opposed to grinding it into the material. Then, wash as directed, remembering to check the area before putting the garment in the dryer. If the stain isn’t removed to your satisfaction, simply start the process over again.
Sure, it may be more convenient to stop by the store and pick up a well known brand of pre-spotter that has had proven results over time and in a pinch that’s fine. But have you ever looked at the ingredient list? My laundry pre-spotter only has 4 ingredients and I have been loving the results so far.
I have been trying to live a simpler lifestyle with more natural, sustainable ingredients in my life, which in part led me to trying to develop my own laundry supplies. I hope you find this pre-spotter recipe something you can add to your arsenal of treatments for everyday laundry struggles.