Wet Bucket

Looks gross, but works wonders!
Hi There!  I wanted to tell you about something I’ve been doing for a couple months now that is making our lives a little easier. 

First, allow me to outline our problem.  I was frustrated that Nora’s clothes and bibs were getting irreparably stained on a regular basis.  Part of it is that she’s a toddler and it happens.  But part of it was our fault.  Stained items didn’t always get pretreated immediately at our house (That’s never happened to you, has it?  I didn’t think so…).  Since the same person doesn’t always do laundry, sometimes it never got pretreated at all. Or the person who switched clothes from washer to dryer didn’t know to check this or that item to see if the stain came out before tossing it in the dryer and setting the stain for all eternity.
So I started a “wet bucket”.  After each load of Nora’s laundry is done, I fill a bucket about halfway with water.  A friend told me about Fels-Naptha as a pretreater and swears that nothing of her daughter’s (20 months) has been ruined when she’s used it.  At just $.97 a bar at Wal-Mart, I was sold!  I use a cheap cheese grater and grate a little off into the bucket and swish it around.  Then, whenever we pull off a strawberry-stained bib, or that white diaper cover that she had a blowout on, I rinse it out and toss it in the bucket.  The water keeps the stain from setting in like it does when clothes get forgotten at the bottom of the hamper and the Fels-Naptha works to pretreat the stain.  Sometimes when I pull things out to put in the washer, the stain is already gone!  When it’s time for laundry, I just add the wet bucket clothes to the wash then clean and refill the bucket and I’m ready to go again.
This is especially great for us because we don’t do laundry every day.  Usually Nora’s laundry gets done about once a week.  Before, that was a long time for a stain to stand untreated or treated and then subsequently dried. 
*UPDATE: I realize now that this sounds like we let the messy stuff stand in the wet bucket for a week.  Not the case.  Throw the wet bucket stuff in with the next load.  If you let it stand more than a day or two it's bad news bears!*
There are a few things that I’ve found DON’T work well in the wet bucket--namely, plastic-lined bibs.  We love plastic-lined bibs at our house because they soak up dribble, but don’t soak through.  However, when left in the wet bucket for a day or two, mildew tends to grow between the layers.  Gross.  I can’t tell you how many of these bibs I’ve thrown out both before and after the wet bucket.  The best solution for these bibs is to pretreat (you can wet the bib and/or Fels-Naptha and rub it straight on) and either wash immediately or hang them up. 
That’s my simple solution!

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