Removing Pet Stains from Laundry #MaytagMoms

As you know, we’re #MaytagMoms and have been “test driving” the Maytag Bravos XL HE Washer and Dryer this summer. Today I had the chance to take part in an online webinar all about laundry stains and got some great info specifically for pet households.

The webinar was lead by Tre Wright, Lead Engineer for Whirlpool…and it didn’t take long in the webinar before I learned the Tre is the proud dad of four beagles, so this guy knows pet stains! Working at the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, Tre and his team have secured over five patents and have more than 30 patent applications pending.

He talked first about stains then opened up the floor to questions:

  • How should you remove urine stains? “Urine stains are protein-based stains so make sure you get a detergent or a pretreat it with an enzyme. As you break up those proteins, you make those molecules smaller and as you wash them they’ll be removed.”
  • How will you identify an enzyme detergent? “Most of the time they’re labeled enzyme. An ingredient statement will include enzyme as part of the ingredient statement.”
  • How can you remove mud? “Mud is a particulate stain so you want to work hard on the mud to get the excess off. You do the pre-treat. Rinsing becomes very important.”
  • How do you use pre-treaters? “Use the pre-treater and work it in; don’t be alarmed if the stain starts to spread. Then rinse that out then put it in the washer.”
  • How should you wash (dog walking) sneakers? “In washing sneakers, I’d pre-treat and take a brush and get as much solids off as possible. I’d then wash in a gentle cycle. In our Whirlpool machines, we have a delicate cycle that cradle the garments so they use less mechanical action. Most of the hard work is using a brush and pre-treating before you put it in the washer.”
  • How can you remove blood stains? “Cold water is good for removing the stain, even before you start the pre-treat. After that, pre-treat. Some of these stains require secondary treatment, using a color safe bleach if the stain isn’t removed completely.”
  • When should you pretreat a stain? “Pre-treat stain as soon as possible; the longer it sets, the harder it is to remove.”
  • If you aren’t doing laundry for a while, is it a problem to pre-treat several days before laundering? “Most pre-treaters don’t have a negative effect on a garment. Right now in the work we have done, there is no set time for how long between pre-treat and laundry.”
  • What if the stain isn’t removed? “As you are doing stain removal, never put the stained object in the dryer. Line dry, investigate, make sure the stain is gone. If it needs to be treated again, do that before going forward.”
  • What about perspiration stains (a question we know our fellow sweaty dog walkers have this hot summer!) “Soak for about a half hour to free up the materials in the stain then wash it and, if need be, use a color safe bleach. Some of underarm stains are driven more by perspiration and deodorant. If you think it’s from deodorant, use an iron removal product you’ll find at the hardware store. Always test ahead of time.”
  • Will pet hair damage the washer and dryer? “Washing machines at Whirlpool are designed to remove solids. After each cycle in the dryer, clean your lint trap. Once a year or so, do a thorough cleaning of the lint system. In the washing machine, pet hair gets flushed out in the drain.”
  • How should you remove ink? (OK, the dogs may not create ink stains but pet writers do!) “I take hairspray and use it. Always when removing ink, take it and put it on an absorbent surface. Work from the back side so you’re pushing the stain out of the garment versus through the garment. I keep blotting until I don’t see any excess on the absorbent material then pre-treat then wash in the warmest water possible.”
  • What’s the best way to clean socks? “If you have dirty socks, stretch them once you treat with a pre-treatment to get them as clean as possible.”
  • What are some natural pre-treating options? any natural stain removers? “My grandmother always had fresh lemons. There were certain stains like berry or food stains, and she’d use fresh lemons to pre-treat those stains. I’ve also seen people pre-treat with vinegar. There are a lot of a natural products out there but we haven’t gone through efficacy. The old club soda trick is to pre-treat as soon as possible.”
  • What’s the best way to remove coffee stains? “Coffee’s a very unique stain in that we drink it in a variety of ways. Some people add sugar and cream and each creates a different stain. If it’s just coffee and sugar, I’d pre-treat and wash. If it has cream, that’s a protein so I’d use an enzyme pre-treat.”

What an interesting morning…I learned so much. (Now if I can just learn how to stop getting the stains in the first place!)

Disclosure: I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Laundry Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.