Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Best Stain Remover for Slobs

I have a pseudo-confession to make: I'm no domestic goddess. That's only a pseudo-confession because everyone who knows me is already very much aware of this fact. If I wasn't so lazy I might take and upload a few pictures of the mess that is my condo right now for proof. But since I have no motivation to get off of my chair, find my camera and then snap photos of my "work space" (read: kitchen table) you're just going to have to believe me.

Here's how I roll: unless someone comes to visit or there's a major catastrophe that requires an immediate clean-up, this place pretty much does not get dusted, vacuumed, or sprayed/scrubbed down in any way, shape or form.

My lack of knowledge and interest in all things housekeeping is probably why I didn't learn about Fels-Naptha miracle soap until a few months ago. I was at my Aunt Sue's house and was worrying aloud that I might have ruined one of my favorite tops because of yet another spill (did I mention I'm really clumsy?). She busted some Fels-Naptha out of her linen closet and told me to use it on my shirt before throwing it in the wash -- she guaranteed the stain would come out.

Lo and behold, it worked. And it has since annihilated some other really nasty stains. Who would've ever guessed that this cheap, unassuming bar of yellow soap is way more effective than all of the high-tech intensely marketed whiz-bang sprays and sticks lining grocery market and convenience store shelves?

Since my aunt gave me her bar, I'm not really sure where you can buy it and test it out for yourself if you're curious. I did some quick research online and it seems like it's pretty hard to find in physical stores nowadays -- but Ace Hardware may carry it.

What I do know is that I'm totally sold on this stuff. On a related note, I was really worried that it would cause some sort of allergic reaction because my skin is ultra-sensitive and will revolt if the wind so much as blows on me the wrong way. But I haven't had any problems with FN so far -- though granted, I just rub it into a lather on the stained clothing item, it's not like I'm doing anything to add it into the mix of my normal detergent. (And for the record, I am aware that FN is not to be used as a normal soap for the face or body.)

Now that I'm near the end of this post, the realization hit me that everyone and their brother probably already knows about Fels-Naptha, and therefore you're most likely all laughing at the fact that I just caught on to this decades-old household staple. But what can I say? I'm excited that I don't have to keep tossing all of my stained clothes into the trash any longer. (I truly am that messy -- it's a problem.)

13 comments:

Lani said...

You're definitely NOT the only one who hasn't heard of it. I don't think I'd call myself a "domestic goddess," but I do clean the house whether guest come or not (not to mention that I was raised by my very old fashion grandma), and I have never heard of it either. Could it be a generation thing?

I'm going to start searching online for it - with my two boys I could use a stronger stain remover. Thanks for the tip!

elaines630 said...

I hadn't heard of it before! I'll keep my eye out for it!

Lockman said...

Never knew the name of this stuff, however I do know my mom always had this strange yellowish/orangish/brownish bar of soap located at the basement laundry sink. So I am assuming this could be sort of a generation type product because she used it forever and I imagine she was getting all the dirt stains out of my clothes with this long before the likes of Shout and Spray & Wash were ever a figment of anyones imagination. Solid Find Erika!!! Now I will have to see if mom actually still uses this stuff. Maybe she knows places to purchase it.

Tarah said...

I discovered this at our local grocery store a couple years ago. It works better than anything I've ever tried, is super cheap, and the best thing is....it seems to last forever! I still am using my original bar that I bought. And I have 4 kids with lots of stains!

Lady-in-Gray said...

You can buy it online at The Vermont Country Store.

Jenni said...

Hmmm, I've never heard of it before either, but would love to have something that actually gets stains out. Found some on eBay for $6 with shipping...is it worth that?

e said...

Jenni - If you're not happy with whatever you currently use, then yes, I'd say it's worth that...

- e

Lockman said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fels-Naptha

I remember always washing my hands after contacting poison ivy...I do remember mom always saying to use this after coming out of the forest.
on a funnier note ya gotta love this:
It should be noted that using Fels-Naptha as a punishment for foul language is considered highly dangerous.

All I have to say is thanks mom for using Irish Spring.. :-O

Pretty crazy looking at all of the different ranges in price of this product. This soap is like a rare collectible or something.

Just Plain Jessie said...

Fels-Naptha must be a family secret. Grandma turned me on to it ages ago. She used to throw the whole bar in the washing machine and use it for detergent. (I guess in the days of wringer washers.)

Anonymous said...

http://www.soapsgonebuy.com/Fels_Naptha_Soap_p/d1001.htm

Melissa said...

I usually read your Long Live Locke blog, but with the long break I decided to read your original blog too since I really like your writing. I must confess, I am extremely excited (much too excited) about this product and just ordered seven bars online. I trust your opinion since you seem to have good taste in most other things, and I read the Time Traveler's Wife because you kept mentioning it at LLL and absolutely adored it. Anyway, I'm very excited to try it on some clothes that have small stains that will not come out, but I just can't throw them away.

Aunt Sue said...

Hi All!!

This is THE Aunt Sue--the giver of the bar of Fels-Naptha Soap. I actually find it at my grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle. I also have seen it at most other stores near their laundry detergents. So, before anyone spends too much $$ ordering online or paying for shipping, check a few of your local grocery stores in the detergent aisle. I have to say, though, this product is most definitely a generation thing. My mom, age 85, (E's grandma), really gets the credit for turning me on to it. She ALWAYS had it (as someone earlier mentioned) near her laundry area as long as I can remember growing up. Happy Laundering!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I find this discovery very interesting. I just did sit down to get online to search for a truly effective stain remover. This actually was the very first item I looked into, because I thought the Google search ad looked like it might hold something for me. I won't call myself a slob - just yet - but I do dribble on myself now and then. This last time, it was a dribbling coffee cup that spoiled my nice, white Bengal's t-shirt. In fact, both of my white Bengal's tees are spotted - the other has a very small but 'set' oil stain on the sleeve. This just won't do, I gotta have my Bengals attire looking spiffy - because I live amid a whole bunch of Colts fans. I'm going to the store right now to look for a bar. Funny that someone mentioned the small, odd-colored bar that is often seen near a lot of laundry stations in people's homes. I have seen such a bar over my entire lifetime - now 48 - in soap trays near utility sinks, but never knew what was behind it. I will try to report back on my success or lack thereof. Thank you for this tip. The Happy Bengal's Fan.