As a dementia caregiver and new grandma, I have lots of pee and poop smells clothes and bedding! Here are my best tips and ideas for taking care of icky smells in your laundry.
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Whether you are taking care of an elderly relative, have a houseful of stomach bug sickies or are taking care of a baby, any of these will produce the stains and smells that come with “those” kinds or accidents.
Getting rid of the smells and stains can be tricky, so read on so you don’t have to keep throwing things away or live with super stinky smells!
How To Get Urine Smells Out of Clothes and Bedding
Let’s start with urine. It stains and it smells…and both are hard to remove.
Most important!!! You might just be inclined to go to the old stand by – hot water. DON’T! Why?
Well, urine contains proteins and heat sets stains and smells made by proteins. If you soak in hot water it will set the stains. Think of the warning your mother gave you when teaching you about doing laundry, don’t put something stained in the dryer if it didn't come out in the wash cycle.
The stain will become permanent with the heat of the dryer.
One way to attack urine stains is to use baking soda. Before washing, soak the piece of clothing or bedding in a sink or tub full of cool water and baking soda. Then rinse away any residue in cold water. Then you can wash as usual. Once the urine is completely gone, hot water to wash is fine.
You can also use an enzyme laundry treatment. Either detergent with enzymes or a pretreat solution with enzymes will work. The enzymes break down the proteins.
If baking soda doesn’t work well enough alone, try a solution of baking soda, white vinegar and water. Either soak it or put it in a spray bottle and spray the stained area. Leave it for at least an hour then rinse in cool water and wash as usual. Just vinegar and water solution works as well, 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
Even amounts of borax and washing soda work well too. Soak, rinse in cool water and wash as usual.
No matter which you use, be sure to give the item the sniff test before drying. Re-treat if necessary. Drying on the line outside in the sunlight is also a good way to let the very last bit of vapors go.
Additional resource :: 6 No Fail Ways To Get Rid of Pee Smells In Bathroom
How To Get Feces Smells Out of Clothes and Bedding
The first thing you MUST do before washing is to be sure that all of the poop is rinsed off of the clothing or bedding.
As with urine, rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove it. Once the item is poop free, you can deal with the stain and smell. Here are a few ways.
Dishwashing liquid, vinegar and water: take one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn, one tablespoon of white vinegar and two cups of lukewarm water. Soak the item for at least 15 minutes and then use a clean, white cloth and blot it until the liquid is absorbed.
You can use the white washcloths that you get for cleaning up your loved one in the 6 Must Have Products For Elderly Caregivers Dealing With Poop! White washcloths are the best!
Repeat as necessary, wash as usual. If you are treating something that can’t be put in a washing machine, like a sofa cushion, blot on the solution, let it sit, then blot it out.
Like urine, feces is full of protein, so an enzyme stain remover will also be a good solution to the stain and smell. Check the directions on the bottle of the stain remover to use, but an easy soak is either about 2 tablespoons of enzyme treatment to a gallon of water or about a ½ cup in a tub filled with a few inches of cold water. The latter is good if you have a number of items to treat at once.
Once the stains are treated and the items are rinsed thoroughly, wash as usual. It may be advisable to use bleach in the wash cycle, or if the item can’t be bleached, try white vinegar or Oxi-Clean with your detergent.
DO NOT USE BLEACH AND VINEGAR TOGETHER!
As a reminder, once the stains are removed, hot water can be used to wash.
As with urine stains, line drying in the sun is a great way to disinfect and de-smell clothes or bedding that has been soiled.
Another tip is to avoid “free and clear” detergents. Those often contain brightening agents that leave a residue that while may not cause smell issues, can cause problems with leaking since the residue will repel the stain causing agent.
Last tip for either problem: Regularly run a cleaning cycle on the washing machine and use a washing machine cleaner such as Affresh.