As a walking stain magnet, I’ve become a champion stain remover over the years. Summer—with its picnics, drippy ice cream cones, gardening, and berry picking—seems to leave me with even more laundry stains than any of the other seasons of the year. Luckily, it's easy to remove stains with inexpensive, nontoxic cabinet staples you already have on hand—like vinegar.
In general, deal with laundry stains as soon as possible. Scoop off goo, gently blot up liquids with an absorbent cloth, and rinse off excess liquids with cold water for best results. Avoid rubbing, which grinds the substance into fabric, and don't use hot water (unless it's specifically recommended), a hot clothes dryer, or an iron on any stain before it's gone, as the heat may set it more and make it even harder to remove.
For specific stains, there are a few tips that make soiled laundry easier to clean. When using these tactics, be sure to test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous area first if you have any doubt your fabric will be colorfast. (Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)