Mama Life Hacks {#13}: Boiling Water to Remove Stains

Last week, when I posted about my little laundry epiphany (color-coded baskets…duh), a reader (hi, Kristin!) unleashed this bomb of a #mamalifehacks tip on me, and I don’t think my life will ever be the same.

But my couches will!

Huh?

Lemme ‘splain.

Or at least sum up. #namethatmovie

A couple of mornings ago, Simon sauntered into the kitchen from the living room with a handful of blueberries. At first, it didn’t quite register, but then I was all: “BLUEBERRIES? HOW did you get blueberries in the living room?”

And he was all: “Oh, Nola has them.”

Just like that. Super casual-like.

And *I* was all calm and collected and reasonable.

Wait, no I wasn’t.

What I really said sounded something like SIMON!!! AREYOUTRYINGTOTELLMETHATYOUSAWYOURTWOYEAROLDSISTERWITHBLUEBUERRIESINTHELIVINGROOMANDYOUDIDN’TTELLME????!!!!!

And then, I raced around the couch to discover that, sure enough, Nola had an entire leaking carton of blueberries on my couch. The couch in the main thoroughfare of our house  that I’ve been keeping covered at all times for just such a catastrophic event but which my 9-year-old had, only moments before the blueberrypocalypse of 2015, denuded of its constant cover when he dragged it onto the ground and cocooned himself in it because, “I’m cold.” (Side note: it’s a good thing we don’t live in Michigan or Canada or, I don’t know, Kansas. The child clearly wouldn’t survive the winter).

ANYhoo, as I surveyed the damage (which, admittedly, wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but still warranted a fair bit of panic because blueberries), I mentally berated myself: “See? You knew this would happen. This is why you don’t buy light-colored linen couches, no matter how good of a deal they are.”

But then.

THEN…

I remembered Kristin’s #mamalifehacks bomb.

Are you ready? (No, Abbie, I’m not. Please drift off into yet another random tangent, why don’t you?)

AHEM.

Kristin imparted the wisdom of all wisdom that…

Boiling water will take any fruit stain (yes, even blueberries) out of anything.

And I thought, Oh Yeah? We’ll see.

I don’t have a tea kettle, so I grabbed a glass bowl, sloshed a little water inside, and then microwaved that sucker for 1 whole minute.

I could barely hold the bowl without burning my fingers when I pulled it out, so I figured it could definitely pass for boiling.

And then do you know what I did? I poured the scalding water directly onto my blueberry besmirched couch. (Side note: besmirched is a fun word)

I would show you a before and after, but I didn’t have the forethought for any such thing. I was too busy trying to perform my cleaning CPR.

But you know what?

It TOTALLY, COMPLETELY and UTTERLY…worked.

I dumped another bowl onto the (pretty much invisible) stain, just to be sure, then sopped up the water with a towel and let it air-dry. I came back an hour later when it was completely dry, just to make sure, and couldn’t find even a trace of blueberries.

SCORE!

Speaking of scores, I found this adorable romper for Della at Children’s Place for $3.

boiling water 4

But, of course, the first time she wore it, she wanted to eat strawberries (because the things that stain the most must always be eaten when the clothing is the newest, apparently), and it was time to  leave for the gym, which meant no time to offer her a non-staining snack like…sorry…my brain apparently lacks the ability to conjure even the concept of a non-staining snack for a 4-year-old who still rubs her hands aaaaallll the way down her front after every third bite of anything she eats. (Who needs napkins when clothes have already been invented? Save the planet, y’all. Wear a shirt).

So, OF COURSE, as we were getting out of the car to go in the gym, I noticed that she had a strawberry stain on her front. I was honestly impressed that there was only one, and it was relatively small, but still. It was a strawberry stain. And I didn’t have any boiling water handy. AND I think the 4-year-old encased in the stained garment might have objected just a little had I dumped said boiling water down her front.

Which meant that that stain was going to be left to dry and burrow its way deeeep into the fibers of her brand new romper.

I was kind of excited about this, honestly, because I wanted to test out Kristin’s trick on a rubbed in stain, and I was all prepared to take before pictures this time.

Here we have the romper besmirched (see? fun!) with hours old strawberry stains.

boiling water 1

And here we have it, three small bowls of boiling (microwaved) water later.

boiling water

I didn’t scrub. I didn’t use soap. I didn’t do anything but douse it in really hot water and try not to burn myself.

And it’s perfect!

boiling water 3

And we’re just a little excited about it.

boiling water 5

Okay, maybe more than a little.

I’m so jazzed about this development that I’m kind of looking forward to the next time one of the twins drops an orange slice on her shirt, catches it halfway down, and proceeds to draaaaaag it the length of her torso all the way back to her lips (an occurrence that usually makes me want to put my head through the wall).

So, did you already know about this magic? If so, whyyyy didn’t you tell me? I’m so glad Kristin had my back.

Any other #mamalifehacks to share? I’m all ears (and a few slightly burned fingers).

P.S. Have you entered our oily giveaway yet? You’ve got til midnight!

P.P.S. Have you entered our pouch giveaway yet? You’ve got–you guessed it–until midnight for that one too!

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18 thoughts on “Mama Life Hacks {#13}: Boiling Water to Remove Stains

  1. I had no idea this trick worked but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! My 16 month old loves to spill stuff..she is a master at it. She has spilled my coffee on the rug and couch more times than I can count. I also have a puppy and am pregnant, so there will be a newborn soon…so yeah we have a lot of stains here. I desperately need a new couch and am dying for a gray one but am hesitant because i know within a day it would have stains..but now because of you I think I’m going to go for it!! I can’t believe something so simple is so effective!

  2. I am so excited about this! Removing stains always makes me feel like a superhero. Thanks to you and Kristin for sharing it with us!

  3. Never heard of this but so excited about it! I can only imagine your horror turned glee when it worked on your beautiful sofa :) ) Happy day dance!

    My #mamalifehacks has to do with laundry. I keep all my kids “play/everyday clothes” plus undies, pj’s in the laundry room. Before we remodeled, I had a small 4 drawer dresser that barely fit in the laundry room but I made it work. Each kid had a drawer. When we added a new laundry room, I had the builder build 8 big drawers (2 for each kid) to keep kids clothes in. The kids change at night in the laundry room, put dirties in hamper all in one place. The clothes never leave the laundry room (except when they are on bodies
    ;) . Often I fold straight from dryer into drawers. No baskets & hauling up/down stairs. I do keep church clothes, etc…in their closets. When they get older, I plan to move their clothes to their rooms, but right now, it works great! We also added a washer/dryer to our master closet so our clothes stay in our closet. LOVE it! I know this isn’t possible for many people, but I’d encourage any momma with small kids to see if there is at least room for a small dresser/nightstand (with drawers) to keep frequently worn clothes in the laundry room. It has been such a help in the efficiency of the on going laundry situation ’round here! Has really cut down on my trips up & down the stairs :) )

  4. Very interesting and good trick to keep in your back pocket. So interesting that you guys generally don’t have kettles in your kitchens! I couldn’t live without mine, in fact when my sister and when my friend moved to the states one of the first things I bought them was a kettle and some teaspoons (also really hard to come by as you guys have coffee spoons which are bigger, odd because our coffee spoons are smaller!) how do you get by, what do you use to eat yoghurts with? :)

  5. This is really awesome and I’m really glad to know about it and can’t wait to try it out BUT I have this burning question… How does she PEE? In the romper, I mean. She’s 4, right? I mean… I pretty much never keep coveralls or anything similar for about ages 3-5 because its so hard to get it off to pee… So I’m just wondering.

  6. SO cool! So you just poured it on, cushion and all? No tearing the couch apart? And the bigger question: what makes kids DO things like that!?! OK, I don’t expect an answer to that one. Glad to hear the boiling water trick though.

  7. Yay! So glad it worked and saved your couch! It’s my favorite trick. Peroxide does work well to get stubborn stains out… especially blood. (I have boys ;) It generally takes a lot of peroxide though..depending on how big the stain is. We buy it at Costco–it’s super cheap and is always on hand if we need it.

  8. Another trick for any kind of insect sting is a penny. Hold a penny in the sting (ant, mosquito, bee, wasp ect. ). My son got stung on thumb by wasp this summer. Swim teacher told us to put a penny on it. It turned a little red but never swelled and just a little later never even knew he had been stung. She said it keeps the poison from going deep.

  9. I might have to try that, but I have another trick that works, too. Peroxide. Yep. It works on fruit stains. Earlier this summer, my son got a lovely blueberry stain on a white shirt. I poured a little peroxide on the spot and nothing happened…or so I thought. Then I came back 10 minutes later to throw the shirt in the wash. (Or throw it in the trash. I didn’t have high hopes.) The stain was gone!

  10. My mama life hack: suck on a bee sting! Seriously, takes the “burning” right out. I used this hack many times on my four kids (hello living in the country with clover instead of grass) but got to experience the relief first hand when I stepped on a bee. Never figure out how I managed to get my foot to my mouth while I was nine months pregnant but it stopped hurting instantly. You can stop with the ice and baking soda paste now. You’re welcome.

  11. If it’s a piece of clothing, or even if it’s your sofa and you can slip the cover off: put the stained area into an embroidery hoop first. This holds the stain perfectly taught while pouring boiling water over the fabric!

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