This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Arm & Hammer.
"Mom, why can't we have a dog?" My son begged.
I gave my standard answer. "Because between you, your two brothers and sister, I already have enough butts to clean up after."
"But mom," he beamed as if he'd solved cold fusion, "dogs totally lick their own butts!" It will speak to his faultless reasoning skills, or my exhaustion, that I actually considered it for a moment before remembering this is the same child who suggested I buy a box of cereal because "it only has 6 pounds of sugar in it."
Butt wiping aside, the mess promulgated by 4 tiny kids is astounding - it's like living in a frat house: underwear on the table, food on the floor and enough pee on the bathroom walls you'd think we'd have just installed wall-to-wall urinals and been done with it. Thankfully they're short so the pee stays below shoulder level. But by far their most high maintenance habit - after their 2,000 piece Lego minefield - is the amount of laundry they generate. So when Arm and Hammer asked if I'd try out their new stain fighting gel detergent I knew I'd have plenty to test it out on. They were particularly interested in seeing if their stain-fighting powers were up to my family's love of the great outdoors.
See, we're a sporty bunch (they get that from their father) but we're also a klutzy bunch (they get that from their mother, along with sneezing in bright sunlight and a deep love of musical theater) so there isn't an item of clothing they own that hasn't been marred by dirt, grass, blood, mud, bug juice and, yes, poo. Take for instance last Saturday, the first beautiful spring day we've had. This is the result of an afternoon outdoors:
FROM ONE CHILD.
His older brother insisted on wearing his nice white dress shirt (Why not? I'm sure I'll have time to clean it before his next State Dinner.) to deleterious results:
But my favorite stain of the day is this one:
See the streak up the back? That's from running so fast through the puddles that it got him coming and going. My child needs MUD FLAPS.
Of course the socks were coated in filth:
Even the baby got in on the action by soiling 5 burp cloths, 7 bibs and one washrag. See, sometimes she manages to barf other places than in my hair or down my cleavage! In one day:
But - and here's where my mother-of-the-year badge loses some of its nickel-plated shine - what I really cared about was how this fancy laundry detergent cleaned my clothes. You all know what a sweaty betty I am and the number 1 reason I have to get rid of my cute workout tops is because I pit them out. What that means is that I sweat so much I stain the pits that nasty yellow cruddy color to the point of embarrassment:
See, I love this shirt but it's from the Venus Williams line for the now-defunct Steve & Barry's. Which means it's pretty much a limited edition, albeit a limited edition that cost me two dollars. When these pits give out - and you can already see the yellow creeping up into the unacceptable zone (i.e. the place where you can see it when my arms aren't lifted) - I can't replace it. Same goes with this awesome-from-Target t-shirt:
All of you who lived through the '80's know what the front says, right?? It's accompanied by my sweat towel which the Gym Buddies and I used to do P90X towel pull-ups, mop up a water bottle spill on the weight floor and wipe my face. Not in that order.
So that was the challenge. Five loads of laundry later... success on all stain fronts! There wasn't a single item of clothing that didn't come out pristine - even the socks. As for my nasty pit stains, while they weren't completely removed they did seem lighter so at least Venus and I can have a few more months of good sweaty times together. I'm sure she's as stoked about that as I am. Unexpected bonus: The Arm & Hammer gel has no phosphates and is entirely biodegradable! It also smells yummy - every time I pick up the Jelly Bean I have to give her a good truffle-hunting snort.
Want to try out some detergent of your own? Well first you need to get outside and make some stains! And Arm & Hammer wants to help you out in all your healthy living pursuits by giving one reader of this blog a $200 Visa gift card! That would buy a lot of detergent. Or Venus Williams workout tees. Or whatever you want, really! All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me your number one outdoor-related laundry woe. Are your pits yellowed like mine? Are your fave running tights stained where you ate it on your last trail run? Does your tank top smell like poo too??
For 7 more chances to win a $200 Visa gift card, check out the other reviews at