Here's how to remove stubborn mud stains

Dear Readers: Heloise Central gets a lot of questions about stains. One that comes in every summer is how to remove mud stains. They can be quite stubborn and are common with children's sporting events.
Our friends at the International Fabricare Institute recently published the removal method in the Clothes Care Gazette, and we wanted to share it with you:
"Most mud stains can be removed by washing the item according to the care instructions. Let the mud dry, then brush off as much as possible using a soft bristle brush, such as an old toothbrush. Wash as usual using regular laundry detergent.
"For those more difficult mud stains, try treating the stain using one of the many pretreatment products on the market.
"You can also use the following mixture of powdered detergent and ammonia as a pretreatment.
Important note: This recipe works best if you are using a powdered detergent that does not contain a bleaching agent like sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate. Both of these bleaches release hydrogen peroxide, which is accelerated by ammonia and could cause color loss on some fabrics. Measure the amount of detergent needed for the load. Take a small amount of the detergent and mix with regular household ammonia (the nonsudsing type) to form a paste, and apply to the stained area. Let stand for five to 10 minutes, then launder as usual using the hottest water allowable for the garment.
"Remember to test for colorfastness before using any stain-removal agent. To test for colorfastness, apply a small amount of the product to an unexposed area of the garment. Let stand for about five minutes, then rinse. If the color is affected, don't use the product. Also check the label on your laundry detergent, as many give step-by-step pretreatment instructions." Heloise
Dear Heloise: While recovering from abdominal surgery, I used kitchen tongs to reach into the bottom of the washer and the back of the dryer. I have short arms and might keep a pair in the laundry room from now on. Mary Harper, Houston
Dear Heloise: My husband likes to change the oil in both of our vehicles. Rather than use the old oil drip pan and let it sit around, he places an empty one-gallon (wide-mouth -- Heloise) plastic juice container underneath and collects it that way. When the bottle is full, he takes it to the local gas station, where they recycle it. We like to think of it as good for the environment and good on the purse strings by doing it yourself. Tina, via e-mail
And the lid helps make saving and transporting the used oil a little less messy! Heloise
Dear Heloise: To store rolls of gift wrap, use an empty wine box -- the dividers help hold the rolls upright in a relatively small space. I store the box in the guest-room closet. Zan Fink, La Mesa, Calif.
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to
King Features Syndicate

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