The Easy Part: How
Ingredients (Stage 1):
1 poop-stained article of clothing1
1 willing papa
Ingredients (Stage 2):
medium mixing bowl (full of water)
Borax (or your favorite stain remover)
bleach (if the stained area is white)
Process (Stage 1):
First things first: rinse it off as soon as you can after The Event. I prefer cold running water in a sink with a garbage disposal. (Cold water is best for body fluid stains; warm water is better for other stains, such as strawberry juice.) Your goal is to get any chunks and all of the slimy stuff out while keeping the affected area as small as possible (avoid spreading it around).
Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. You have soap and water in your house for a reason, and you can wash up after you're done. If you are Exceedingly Weak of Stomach, try to think of the feces as just a highly processed, disagreeable-smelling food. That's what it is, after all. And remember: the quicker you rinse, the quicker you can forget precisely what you're cleaning up.
Once it's rinsed off, I apply some dish soap directly to the stained area. Rub it into the stain, again being careful not to spread any remaining fecal matter around. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed. Your goal at this stage is to use your fingers to rub out as much of the stain as possible. About half the time, this will do the trick.
If the stains don't come out after about five minutes of vigorous rubbing, rinsing, and repeating, it's time to step up your game.
Process (Stage 2):
Fill a bowl with water. Let the garment soak for at least half an hour. If you got most of the stain out in Stage 1, soaking can often help you finish the job. After the soak, return to your dish soap and water tactic.
If soaking doesn't help, it's time for stronger chemicals. Always read and follow the directions on these. I find Borax is often helpful for getting stains out. There's also bleach, but be careful: regular chlorine bleach will discolor just about anything, including many shades of off-white. Color-safe bleach is a better bet for most garments other than white onesies. Clorox2 is an example - it has a milder, oxygen-based bleach instead of the chlorine one.
Don't go overboard on chemicals; too much can cause your colors to fade.
I've found some combination of soaking and solvents to be successful 99.9% of the time. Patience is a virtue, here, fellas.
The Harder Part: Why
I wish I had a dime for every time I've said to myself, I'm a highly skilled, well-paid technical professional. Why am I standing in front of a kitchen sink washing poop stains out of clothes again?
For many people in my position, the benefit simply don't seem to be worth the effort. Why not just dispose of the filthy clothes and be done with it? My time is worth much more than this. This is beneath me. I'm an important, dignified person, dadgum it!
So here are some answers I came up with the last time I was rinsing my son's feces out of a sleeper:
- I am cheap. I'm not sure I know of many cheaper people than me. And clothes (even baby clothes) can be very expensive. When I visit Babies "Я" Us, I see outfits that cost more than a week's groceries. Besides, it rubs me the wrong way to discard a perfectly serviceable piece of clothing.
- It shows my wife that I care about her. Sure, we could buy new clothes, but she's attached to some of these outfits. Plus, I'm not the only thrifty one in the family -- she appreciates me helping to stretch the clothing budget a little bit farther.
- It demonstrates to my sons that I love their mother and don't think her desires are less important than mine. I want my boys to grow up knowing what a loving husband and father looks like. These poop-stained Onesies are an opportunity for me to show them.
- It brings me down closer to where I ought to be. I believe that God resists those who are full of their own importance and gives grace to those who realize their imperfections and their need for a Savior.2 Bringing myself low to serve my family is a way for me to be like Jesus, who humbled Himself to serve those he deserved to rule over.
And now off to start a load of laundry...
1 Onesies, sleepers, t-shirts, jeans -- you'll probably see them all, if your children's bowels are fairly healthy.
2 See James 4:6