Fight Food Stains Not Your Kid’s Childhood!

If your children are anything like mine, you’ll totally understand when I say that stains and colour mishaps are a way of life. Hardly a day goes by when you don’t think “Look at his clothes and all those stains!! How am I ever going to get them out?” However, this is exactly when one needs to remember to fight food stains and not their childhood.

If I have learnt anything from having twin boys is that the clothes on their back are rarely in the same condition at the end of the day as they were in the morning. And because we’re great friends with Murphy’s Law, (if something ends up on the T-shirt, of course it’s not washable) the stains become part of the fabric – no matter how many times they spin around in the washing machine! Love me, love my stains! But I’ll give the duo this much – they’re not boring! What started off as the usual milk and vomit stains in the wee years, has now become paint and mud stains. Of course chocolate stains are a close second!

Don’t get me wrong though. I wouldn’t change anything for a second. I’d take these two 9 years old, colourful (and usually coloured) monkeys any day over well-behaved, monochromatic beings. And just because stained clothing is irritating, that doesn’t give me the right to deprive my kids of the most fun childhood they can have! Kids get dirty. In fact, they seem like tracking beacons that attract anything that can and will leave a mark. Big deal. And remembering the story behind every stain – that’s a priceless memory! But perhaps I can help make the ride a little easier and share with you the easy ways on how to get rid of the more common, pesky stains that always find their way into your home! You can of course take your clothes to a laundry or dry cleaners (or throw them out the window), but if you have more than one child, that’s quite an expensive option. Self-laundering is certainly cheaper and more fulfilling, because you know exactly what you are using to clean your child’s clothes – no fancy chemicals or cleaners here! So, chill, smile and look forward to your next laundry battle.

Read on if you have a bone to pick with these stain felons and stain removers just don’t seem to work:-


  • Remove fresh stains by soaking in cold water before washing – never use hot water because it cooks the protein making the stain harder to remove.
  • If the stain is dried or old, scrape off any crusted matter, then soak in cold water using a liquid detergent with colour-safe bleach. Pre-soak for 30 minutes and launder in warm water with detergent. Repeat if necessary.


  • Remove excess chocolate from the fabric using a dull knife or spoon.
  • Using cold water, rinse the back of the stained area and rub in some liquid laundry detergent and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • Soak the clothing for 15 minutes in cold water, and gently rub the stain every 5 minutes to loosen it. Rinse thoroughly and repeat as required. 

Soy Sauce

Blot stain dry. Using a cotton swab, dab the stain with white vinegar. Rinse and wash as usual.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is gooey goodness on bread, but less appealing on clothes. Scrape off excess peanut butter from the fabric and then scrub gently with dishwashing liquid. Rinse with hot water.

Berry Juice

Blueberries may taste great in a breakfast muffin, but those bright purplish stains are murder on light fabrics (ditto for grape juice and cranberry juice).

  • If you don’t want your child going through life looking like a fruit salad, treat berry stains with equal parts dishwashing liquid and white vinegar.
  • Rub the mixture on, and leave it in place for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water and wash as usual. Repeat as required.


  • Use a spoon or the back of a butter knife to remove excess ketchup from the fabric.
  • Run cold water through the back of the stain to force it out through the fabric (running through the front may force it more deeply into the fabric).
  • Rub a liquid detergent or lemon juice into the stain.
  • Soak in warm water for 30 minutes and wash normally.

Oil & Butter

Sprinkle flour, talcum powder, corn starch or artificial sweetener on both sides of the stain and let sit for 30 minutes. Shake off the powder; the stain should be faded or gone. Rub in some dishwashing soap and rinse under hot water; repeat as needed.

Baby Food

Young children have very effective throwing arms, especially when they’re flipping food everywhere. It’s really amazing how far pureed carrots can travel! Now that you’ve washed it out of your hair, you can begin removing it from the clothes.

  • Scrape off as much of the stain as possible.
  • Soak for a few hours and wash in cold water, but don’t put it in the dryer. The heat may set any stain residue permanently. Let the fabric air dry. Repeat the process as needed

Fruits, veggies, jams, juices and berries

A little more challenging, but they too can be conquered. To pre-treat, create a vinegar solution which is one part vinegar and two parts water and apply it to the stain with an eyedropper. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then apply a combination solvent and wash in your regular cycle.

Berries: Stretch the fabric over a large bowl and pour boiling hot water through the fabric; Or rinse the stain with white vinegar, then soak it before washing.

Hope this list sets you at ease and motivates your kids to make a mess out of meal times. The fun-mess I mean! Watch out for another list of sure-shot ways to fight off creative stains. Yes the paints, colours and oil kind of stains. Till then would love to hear back from you on some easy motherhood hacks.

Comments (2)

Gildas Posted on Jul 21, 2018

Yours is a clever way of thniikng about it.


Fight Stains, Not Your Kid’s Childhood | PRIYANKA ELHENCE - FREELANCE WRITER Posted on Feb 27, 2016

[…] Posted on February 27, 2016 by priyankaelhence Fight Food Stains Not Your Kid’s Childhood! […]


Priyanka Elhence

Indian-born and fortunate enough to be globally-bred, I\'ve been happily calling Singapore home for the past 13 years. It\'s the perfect East-meets-West melting pot! A hotelier at heart, I did rec

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