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Nancy Bock   2010 [320x200]

Remember when you were in school and Show ‘n Tell was a favorite classroom activity? Well, that's just what we'd like to do with this section of Cleaning Matters. We'd love to hear more from our readers! Here's an acceptable place to air your dirty laundry . . . to tell others how you coaxed spots and stains from your favorite outfits. Do you have a funny story about what was left in the pockets? What lessons have your kids learned the hard way about doing their own laundry? You decide what's next! Send Nancy an email at and write "Tell Nancy a story" in the subject line.


Q: I've been concentrating on getting my young children to brush their teeth regularly. Unfortunately, they can't seem to accomplish this without getting toothpaste on their clothes. How do I remove the stains?

A: Pretreat the stain with a prewash stain remover and then launder, following the garment manufacturer's recommendations. Although toothpaste stains are easy to remove in the laundry, unlike some stains, sponging with cold water won't remove them. Once the toothpaste hits the clothes, the stain remains until the item is laundered. If you can convince your kids to wear one while brushing, a large bib or water-proof smock will help eliminate the problem.

Q: Every year, we host a Super Bowl party with chips and dip as a "must" on our menu. But in all the excitement, greasy potato chip stains are everywhere! How do I remove them, particularly from my upholstery?

A: On upholstery, use a clean white cloth and upholstery cleaner, following the manufacturer's directions. Test the product on an inconspicuous area before using. For grease stains on napkins, tablecloths and washable clothing, pretreat with a prewash stain remover and then launder in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric.

– Nancy Bock is Senior Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI)

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Cleaning Matters® is compiled by the American Cleaning Institute and is not copyrighted. Such information is offered solely to aid the reader. The American Cleaning Institute and its member companies do not make any guarantees or warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to the information contained in Cleaning Matters and assume no responsibility for the use of this information.