Options for recycling stained baby/toddler clothing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering what options I may have for outgrown clothing that has stains in them that won't come out, no matter how much I've tried to get them out.

I do my best to take care of clothes when I get them, so they can be passed on or reused. Some clothes have been hand me downs from friends/relatives whose children have outgrown them. Some of them I've gotten have had stains, and I've just used them for around the house playwear.

I save outgrown things some as I'm hoping to have more children soon, and some are "gender neutral". I can't save all the clothes though. What I can't keep, I have either donated to others in need, and taken a few items to a local resale shop. There are things though that are stained that I can't resell, and most places that take donations don't want stained items either (I don't blame them, and normally I don't donate anything like that, unless it had something really small and pretty unnoticable).

I'm looking for alternative ideas for these items. I haven't done a lot of research, but are there organizations who would actually take this type of clothing as donations? I know some people will cut up some clothing items and use them for cleaning, etc. I'm not really crafty sewing wise, so it's not stuff I would use to make something else out of myself. I don't want the clutter, but I wonder if there is a better alternative than just tossing these clothes? Thanks for any suggestions!
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#2 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 06:45 AM
 
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I would either tie dye them or put them on freecycle for somebody else to redo them in whatever fashion need be to make them look ok. For instance, you can take a t-shirt that is stained on the belly and cut it at armpit level and sew a skirt to it and you have a comfy dress. Good luck.
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I'm wondering what options I may have for clothing that DD has outgrown, but has stains in them that won't come out, no matter how much I've tried to get them out.

I do my best to take care of all of DD's clothes when I get them, so they can be passed on or reused. Some clothes she has gotten have been hand me downs from friends/relatives whose children have outgrown them. Some of them I've gotten have had stains, and I've just used them for around the house playwear.

When DD outgrows things, I save some as I'm hoping to have more children soon, and some are "gender neutral". I can't save all the clothes she has gone through though (she gets a ton of new stuff from relatives and as well as hand me downs). What I can't keep, I have either donated to others in need, and taken a few items to a local resale shop. There are things though that are stained that I can't resell, and most places that take donations don't want stained items either (I don't blame them, and normally I don't donate anything like that, unless it had something really small and pretty unnoticable).

I'm looking for alternative ideas for these items. I haven't done a lot of research, but are there organizations who would actually take this type of clothing as donations? I know some people will cut up some clothing items and use them for cleaning, etc. I'm not really crafty sewing wise, so it's not stuff I would use to make something else out of myself. I don't want the clutter, but I wonder if there is a better alternative than just tossing these clothes? Thanks for any suggestions!

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#3 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 09:29 AM
 
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We use almost exclusively hand-me-downs and plenty of them are stained. Who cares? Unless it's a huge dark stain all over the middle of a shirt or a big dark stain on the butt, does it really matter if my child's shirt has a small spot on it? Usually new clothing ends up with a spot after the first time it's worn anyway! I'd list them on Freecycle. IME people who get clothes off Freecycle aren't expecting them to be in brand new condition.

If you can't find anyone with a child who will accept stained clothing (!) call around to donation places. I know the consignment shop where I bring a lot of our clothes has someone who bales the clothing they can't accept and it gets shipped overseas.
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#4 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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I've never used swiffer in my life. What's wrong with having cleaning rags that you can then just toss?
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#5 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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My best friend's grandfather, who used to work in the textile industry, gave her a very long answer to her question about what is done with the clothing that is dropped into those clothing drop boxes you see in parking lots all over the place. The upshot is that almost every piece of fabric that goes in those boxes is reused or recycled in some way. If I have stuff that I can't hand down or Freecycle, I drop it in those boxes.

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#6 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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I second the pp who mentioned freecycle. It's a great way to avoid those clothes going into a landfill somewhere. We also use the really stained/ripped clothing for rags/cleaning.
I had also seen, I think on PBS/this old house, they were doing a house in Austin, TX, and some of the insulation they were using was made out of old,ripped denim jeans! I wish I had seen the whole episode.
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#7 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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rags. or cut out non stained squares to make a quilt from :
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#8 of 38 Old 06-06-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I give mine away on Freecycle. When I have a bunch of clothing with stains, I list them all together and am very clear about saying that they are stained and only good for play clothes, etc. People always take them. I actually got a really nice email back from one lady who said that she was able to get most of the stains out. I don't know what laundry magic she worked on them, but I'm glad I didn't just throw them away!
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#9 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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I give mine away on Freecycle. When I have a bunch of clothing with stains, I list them all together and am very clear about saying that they are stained and only good for play clothes, etc. People always take them. I actually got a really nice email back from one lady who said that she was able to get most of the stains out. I don't know what laundry magic she worked on them, but I'm glad I didn't just throw them away!
I have a secret (but non-NFL) stain treatment recipe if anyone is interested. It's saved SO many articles of clothing for me, I can't even tell you : Both my girls hated bibs

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#10 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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I agree about freecycle, or the craigslist free section if you prefer.

Or, if you can find a charity that gives clothing directly to people rather than reselling it, they may be more willing to accept it.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#11 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by melissel View Post
I have a secret (but non-NFL) stain treatment recipe if anyone is interested. It's saved SO many articles of clothing for me, I can't even tell you : Both my girls hated bibs
do tell! i seem to have no luck with stains. :

sarah
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#12 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 01:53 AM
 
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I want the secret stain remover.

And I had no idea about those clothes being used/recycled, etc even with stains in those boxes in parking lots.

Wow, I could kick myself for throwing away all those clothes with holes.
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#13 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 10:40 AM
 
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I want the stain remover, too!

Looking at DS's outgrown clothes I can tell at exactly what size I had to start supplimenting with formula. Breastmilk doesn't stain nearly as much. Everything I packed away was stain-free. Now, a few months later that stains have all reappeared. :
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#14 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 01:24 PM
 
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I have a secret (but non-NFL) stain treatment recipe if anyone is interested.
Do tell! :
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#15 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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I forgot to reply to the OP!

Some of DS's cute but stained clothes have gone to people I know who quilt. They don't want the really stretchy things like onesies, but the rest they cut up and use for quilt making. There's a group here that makes lap quilts for residents of the hospital and nursing homes.
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#16 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Freespiritedjem View Post
most places that take donations don't want stained items either
Places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill don't usually sell the stained items in their US thrift shops, BUT they do send them to other countries and/or recycle them as rags. I'd go ahead and donate.

I've also heard of people shredding them up to use to stuff homemade stuffed animals.

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#17 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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At the library last night I saw an idea for making a rug out of old t-shirts using a piece of burlap as the backing. I think I may do this with the scads of stained infant t-shirts and onesies we have. Shaggy and cute!

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#18 of 38 Old 06-07-2007, 11:13 PM
 
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it's not cheap but a little $10 box lasts me for years and has gotten out some pretty tough clothing stains and diaper stains, even some that came out of being in storage for years.
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#19 of 38 Old 06-08-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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it's not cheap but a little $10 box lasts me for years and has gotten out some pretty tough clothing stains and diaper stains, even some that came out of being in storage for years.
I think i may try that myself & save some of our clothes from donation, cleaning supplies THanks
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#20 of 38 Old 06-08-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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where do you buy Shaklee Nature Bright?
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#21 of 38 Old 06-08-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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With a package of a medium or dark colored RIT fabric dye, you can make stained, light colored clothing into unstained clothing ... especially if you do tie-dye.
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#22 of 38 Old 06-09-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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Ack!! Sorry, completely forgot I posted that until someone PMed me! It's really not NFL at, but I use it maybe 3-4 times a year, when I've gathered up enough clothes to fill a bucket. (Or, like today, when I've gotten raspberry sauce on my very favorite, brand new shirt ) It's actually from the Tightwad Gazette, so it's not quite a secret, but most people haven't heard it It works on most "natural" stains--mud, food, poop, spit up, body oil (my DH is one greasy guy) etc. It has NOT worked, for me at least, on mildew, rust, or set-in coffee. And it doesn't work for every single stain, of course, but I've saved many kids' items this way.

1 C of Cascade powder dishwasher detergent (the plain, regular kind)
1 C of Clorox 2 liquid color-safe bleach
5 gallons of the hottest possible water you can get from your water heater--when I posted this on the F&F forum, someone once said she used this treatment, and to boost it she'd add a portion of boiling water from the stove.

Mix this all together, then mix in the clothes and let them soak overnight, or longer. I stir them periodically too, because they tend to float up to the top, and I push them back down and in so no stains get stuck up top. I also make sure I use a container I can close--I tried this once in a open container and the heat dissipated too quickly.

You can also do half batches, or quarter batches, or whatever, as long as you can keep it hot enough. I've done half batches, but I imagine anything smaller might cool pretty quickly, and the heat is what does part of the work.

You must use the actual brand-name products--off brands don't work, I've tried. I've soaked cranberry and bright pink items together with white stuff many times and never had a transfer problem (I think the color-safe bleach helps prevent it), but I did soak some place mats that had black in them, the whole batch went gray. I wasn't able to re-whiten a few of the items either, so use caution when you're mixing colors. It's only been a problem once for me, but still, you never know just when it WILL turn out to be a problem!

You can also do the same process with a few scoops of oxygen bleach (I used 4 scoops to 5 gallons of hot water), and it does pretty well, but doesn't eliminate as many stains, and it fades colors terribly--it actually lightened my DD's pink ballet tights up several color degrees! Oxygen bleach is definitely more environmentally friendly though.

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#23 of 38 Old 06-11-2007, 03:05 AM
 
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A less intensive version of the above is to wash the stained items in the machine, adding a scoop of Cascade with the detergent. I've used this tip to get formula stains out of thrift store baby clothes. Apparently, the reason it works is that dishwasher detergent contains phosphates, which were removed from US laundry detergents in the 70's due to environmental concerns. There's currently a strong push to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents, too, so this method's days might be numbered.

One further note: If you haven't used Oxi-Clean Spray (in the blue plastic bottle), it might be worth a try. In my experience, it often does the trick for stubborn stains on light-colored clothing. However, DO NOT spray an item of clothing and leave it in the sun to "bleach." I tried that, and it left nasty yellow patches. Now we have a few pairs of training pants with large "faux pee-stains" in the crotch.
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#24 of 38 Old 06-11-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MaryCeleste View Post
A less intensive version of the above is to wash the stained items in the machine, adding a scoop of Cascade with the detergent. I've used this tip to get formula stains out of thrift store baby clothes. Apparently, the reason it works is that dishwasher detergent contains phosphates, which were removed from US laundry detergents in the 70's due to environmental concerns. There's currently a strong push to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents, too, so this method's days might be numbered.

One further note: If you haven't used Oxi-Clean Spray (in the blue plastic bottle), it might be worth a try. In my experience, it often does the trick for stubborn stains on light-colored clothing. However, DO NOT spray an item of clothing and leave it in the sun to "bleach." I tried that, and it left nasty yellow patches. Now we have a few pairs of training pants with large "faux pee-stains" in the crotch.
I don't know if the OC spray is EF, but it does work.

I thought their were plenty of detergents that have phospates in them? Why would they allow it in dishwashing detergent, but not in your clothing detergent?
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#25 of 38 Old 06-11-2007, 11:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hubris View Post
Places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill don't usually sell the stained items in their US thrift shops, BUT they do send them to other countries and/or recycle them as rags. I'd go ahead and donate.

I've also heard of people shredding them up to use to stuff homemade stuffed animals.
There's a momma here who shreds everything to use for box fillers for her ebay shipments.
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#26 of 38 Old 06-11-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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DH stopped using solid deodorants and now uses spray on but he is still getting these stiff white arm pit stains. He has been successful in laundering the white color out but the stiffness remains.

He has tried using vinegar as suggested elsewhere on one of these boards but that doesn't work.

BTW, does anyone know what to call this? Whenever we talk about it I refer to it as a "stain" and for some strange reason, unknown to me, DH becomes snippy and reminds me that once the white is gone it isn't a stain any longer. I'm at a complete loss as to what to call it.

Thanks,
~Cath
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#27 of 38 Old 06-12-2007, 11:04 AM
 
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DH stopped using solid deodorants and now uses spray on but he is still getting these stiff white arm pit stains. He has been successful in laundering the white color out but the stiffness remains.

He has tried using vinegar as suggested elsewhere on one of these boards but that doesn't work.

BTW, does anyone know what to call this? Whenever we talk about it I refer to it as a "stain" and for some strange reason, unknown to me, DH becomes snippy and reminds me that once the white is gone it isn't a stain any longer. I'm at a complete loss as to what to call it.

Thanks,
~Cath
Maybe you are using too much soap? Too much soap makes clothes stiff. To test for this, wash some washcloths, and then dry them. Put a washcloth in a small basin of water, and check for soap.
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#28 of 38 Old 06-12-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CathMac View Post
DH stopped using solid deodorants and now uses spray on but he is still getting these stiff white arm pit stains. He has been successful in laundering the white color out but the stiffness remains.

He has tried using vinegar as suggested elsewhere on one of these boards but that doesn't work.

BTW, does anyone know what to call this? Whenever we talk about it I refer to it as a "stain" and for some strange reason, unknown to me, DH becomes snippy and reminds me that once the white is gone it isn't a stain any longer. I'm at a complete loss as to what to call it.

Thanks,
~Cath
I know exactly what you're talking about. My dh has it too. I don't know if it will work. It might, I should try. The stuff is great. I wrote those off a long time ago. He still wears them, but I stopped trying. I might try one more time. Oh and is armpit crust the word?......maybe he will like the word stain better now. lol
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#29 of 38 Old 06-12-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryCeleste View Post
A less intensive version of the above is to wash the stained items in the machine, adding a scoop of Cascade with the detergent. I've used this tip to get formula stains out of thrift store baby clothes. Apparently, the reason it works is that dishwasher detergent contains phosphates, which were removed from US laundry detergents in the 70's due to environmental concerns. There's currently a strong push to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents, too, so this method's days might be numbered.

One further note: If you haven't used Oxi-Clean Spray (in the blue plastic bottle), it might be worth a try. In my experience, it often does the trick for stubborn stains on light-colored clothing. However, DO NOT spray an item of clothing and leave it in the sun to "bleach." I tried that, and it left nasty yellow patches. Now we have a few pairs of training pants with large "faux pee-stains" in the crotch.
Oh crud, you're right : I had no idea that was the key. That totally stinks. OK, I guess I'm going to have to get better at pretreating then, or I wonder if the same solution in a tiny amount as a pretreat would work as well? Maybe I'll test that out with a rag shirt. I'm so bummed about this! Seriously, last night I did a batch because every single one of my summer shirts had stains. I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt to a graduation ceremony in 80-degree weather

Thanks for the heads up--I'll work at finding something more EF for sure...

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#30 of 38 Old 06-13-2007, 11:36 AM
 
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Maybe you are using too much soap? Too much soap makes clothes stiff.
Tessamami,
I don't think the amount of soap is the issue since the problem is concentrated in one area and since my clothes aren't affected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellid View Post
Oh and is armpit crust the word?......maybe he will like the word stain better now. lol
Kellid,
Actually, I think "armpit crust" or "crust" will do fine. I'm guessing he's a little self-conscious and/or just plain aggravated about this so the inaccurate term is a distraction or deflection of some sort. He finally threw a bunch of shirts away expecting me to be happy since he has a humongous T-shirt collection that was a source of friction for awhile. I now think he was hanging onto some of his favorites in the hopes that he could salvage them. I feel badly that he couldn't but maybe this treatment will help down the road.

I'm not the most Eco-Friendly person in the world but knowing why it works I would only use the treatment when absolutely necessary. I like the OPs suggestion of accumulating a bunch of items and doing them together.

~Cath
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