All stains are not created equally and should not be treated the same way. Depending on whether the stain was caused by grass, gum, or a crayon or Play-Doh Consumer Reports says you need to employ a different method to remove it.
When a stain happens you need to act fast.
"If the stain is still fresh, water alone may actually remove it. But if you're a little too late and the stain has set, a few household items and a good detergent to pre-treat stains can help," said Sara Morrow Harcourt, Consumer Reports Home Editor.
For crayon, fresh or melted, remove as much of the crayon pieces as possible. Then work a dish detergent into the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes and rub the fabric under warm water. Then wash the clothes on the hottest water temperature that specific fabric allows.
Use regular laundry detergent and an oxygenated bleach like OxiClean. Let the clothing air dry and if the stain remains, repeat.
On the other hand, for Play-Doh, do not use hot water. Instead, let the Doh dry, then use a stiff brush to loosen it from the fabric. Wash the garment by hand with detergent and cold water.
For grass stains, work in detergent with a toothbrush. Let the clothing sit for five minutes. Then toss it in the washing machine at the warmest temperature the fabric can stand. Also use that method on chocolate.
"Chocolate is surprisingly difficult to remove. Only four of the liquid detergents in our ratings aced our pre-treating and chocolate-removing tests," she said.
Consumer Reports recommends OxiClean Max Force, a laundry pre-treater that earned top scores.
Consumer Reports says you can wash your stained clothing along with other clothes. Just remember to always check clothing before tossing it in the dryer because the heat sets stains.