We're having a hard time keeping pants presentable, even with reinforced knees. At least those grass and mud stains represent fresh air and exercise!
Here's the classic Tightwad Gazette recipe for an overnight soak that can be stored between uses:
- 1 cup powdered Cascade dish detergent
- 1 cup Chlorox II
- 5 gallons of super-hot water
Our boys pants don't have time to get stained, they get holes in the knees much too quickly.
Do you find it is getting harder to find used pants for Andrew? Since boys are so tough on their clothes - and people tend to buy less clothing for boys than for girls -it seems to me that there is a huge shortage at thrift stores in boy's clothing (and pants in particular) past size 6 or so. You were lucky to find Hanna Anderssen in his size, although it looks like this are now shot!
Black, brown, and navy blue colored pants only. From a mom of three outdoor loving boys.
My (almost) foolproof method for stain removal involves a gallon of REALLY hot tap water and a full scoop of oxyclean... soak for a few hours or overnight and then wash as normal. It hasn't failed me yet... it even removed old blood!
I wish I could tell you girls are easier on their clothes. When I went to get my daughter a pair of jeans out for school today, I realized that every pair but one was either ripped out in the knee or in the process of ripping out.
I don't think much can be done, except dedicate some pants to play clothes, others to good clothes. Just like my grandmother did.
I agree with the separation of play and school pants. Otherwise, it is a losing battle. My son used to wear holes in his pajama pants!
The best thing I've found is Shout Advanced Gel. It only takes a little, I scrub it in with a toothbrush. Works every time.
this is what I did:
kept 1 nice pair dress slacks and good jeans tucked away IN MY CLOSET.
Then only owned enough dress code pants -- 2,3? --- to make it through a week of school with 1 mid-week washing. And pray for replacements as needed, and God NEVER failed us.
once fused aged denim to the inside knee of pants, but it didn't make them last longer, and he hated the stiff feel.
also, old sweats are great for playing at home in the yard. They seem not to rip as much.
NOW...prepare yourself for the artistic daughter who wipes glue, marker, paint, oil on her skirt and pant thighs at school!
All evidence of happy and busy kids, so it makes us smile even as we try to stay one step ahead : )
I have been reading your blog for some time and have never commented...but as the mother of five boys, I just had to laugh!
I do try to keep one nice pair of jeans for them...we get them out for special occasions, I wash them, and rehide them!
I've heard that oxyclean works really well.
I'm not a big fan of the Cascade/bleach combo as it seems to be a rather toxic brew and exposing me/the kids/the environment to that doesn't seem worth it just to remove stains.
I've found that washing, line drying and then just washing, line drying again, and never putting stained clothes in the dryer will usually fade the stains eventually.
I'm one of the "keep a good pair" hidden and other than that, I use zout stain remover and wait for stuff to fade in the wash. Now that my oldest is into size 5 I find the second-hand finds much less plentiful, so I'm stashing good buys ahead.
I have two boys, but it's my sweet girl that I have a hard time with when it comes to pants! The boys pants have lasted from big brother to little brother, but my daughter's pants hardly last a season before getting holes in the knees.
Forgot to add - as far as care, we've had great luck with Oxiclean. Great at removing stains but not harsh on the clothes. Plus my mother is meticulous in her ironing and creasing of the boys pants (she insists, so I let her!).
Hi - no great ideas, just wanted to say my 6 year tore hole in 2 different pairs of pants last week. They were already too short - we were just hanging on for spring. Is it bad to wear them too short and holely?? Will he look neglected?? Here's hoping for 70's and up next week!
We have stain removing sticks that are like glue sticks here in Australia - it is a white paste. I have taught my 5yo daughter how to pre treat the stains on her clothes, and since it's not a spray, there's no inhalation to worry about. Works for me.
Mom of boys checking in here too. My guys wear jeans only on weekdays, and their dress pants for church stay put away in the closet!
They prefer jeans and they seem to hold up a bit better than twill or cotton pants.
I don't encounter stains on pants so much as gaping holes in the knees. Our oldest daughter has holes in the knees of every pair of jeans she owns!
As for the stains....maybe camouflage pants would be a great idea?
I can't find boys jeans past size 6 at thrift stores.
I am a big fan of the double enforced tough boy jeans at Sears. It is the only brand my son has not destroyed.
While we are generally green with regards to cleaning you will have to pry my Tide from my dead hands. I have found nothing that works as well.
My boys call me the Queen of Stain Removal because if it is dirty they seem to find it! I swear by my Fels Naptha bar and Borax. I wet the stained areas, rub with the Fels Naptha and then sprinkle on Borax and rub. Then I toss in the wash on cold and check them before I put in the dryer. Normally one time does it. For blood stains I use hydrogen peroxide and all oil based stains I use GOOP mechanics hand cleaner that you can get at Dollar Tree or auto supply stores. They are now 14 & 12 and they STILL get muddy from the creek and playing sports with kids on our street. Dirty clothes=happy active kids!
I feel your pain. Though my daughter ends up with just as many stained and torn pants as her brother.
This is my quandry - I have all this cute girly stuff for my daughter - but when can she wear it? It's a pain to get dressed in the morning, change to go play outside in the morning, come back in - need to change out of clothes b/c they get filthy and wet - and the cycle continues. Get "dressed up" to go to town so the kids don't look like orphans, get home and they want to play outside - do I send them in to change - that kind of loses the momentum and they might just decide to stay indoors... It's a hassle! My daughter doesn't like wearing dull colored or dark colored clothes - so sometimes they just get wrecked.
BUT most of their clothes come from the thrift store and gsales so I don't feel so bad when something is stained or whatever.
I have no tips, which is why I love mega discount day at the thrift store. We just end up buying more and more pants and making more and more cutoffs.
Buy dark colors:)
We have good pants and play pants. I also make my own detergent and I found it works WAY better than commercial detergents lol!
I've often wondered were so many of you seem to find used boys pants at this age - I've never found my 5 year old son pants at the thrift store and this is exactly why. Like many others said I keep out one or two pairs of khakis for dressing up and everything else he just wears. We don't change clothes during the day for going outside - too much laundry all ready and like you said I view all the grass stains and holes as time well spent outside; a kid sitting inside watching tv would have perfect pants but I wouldn't take the trade off :)
We only do shorts - no holes, very forgiving on length for a growing boy, and less fabric to get dirty. Of course I'm always wiping legs and it only works in certain climates of course. :)
We have the opposite - daughter stains and puts holes in everything. Hey what a blessing active kids!
No stain removal tips just lots of scrapped knees. :)
For us - thrift stores for play clothes. If I can find good pants there, I'll get them too. But the majority of our play clothes are bought for next to nothing, so when they wear out, it's not so painful.
I agree--my kids are clothed almost exclusively with hand-me-downs and thrift store finds. But I still don't want to throw them out before their time!
It's very hard to find boys pants--as mothers reminded me--and I'd like to get as much use out of the ones I've already acquired.
Can't wait for shorts weather!
My secret for making boys pants look better is to put my boy in the midst of other like-kneed boy pants on other smelly little sweaty boys. All of a sudden my smelly, sweaty, holey-kneed boy doesn't look so bad after all.
I agree with every single comment here, that boys wear out their pants and clothes much sooner once they get to be about 5 or 6 years old. But as a mom whose oldest son is graduating from high school this year, enjoy every moment of it. Believe it or not, those torn jeans, and sweaty, dirty little hands and face will be very precious memories to you someday, so just go with the flow and do the best you can managing his clothes in the meantime. I love the quality of clothing that comes from places like Lands End or LL Bean, but they are just generally too expensive for us. And really, what's the point anyway? They generally grow so much in one season, and are so hard on their clothes as you are now finding out, that I try and spend as little as possible. I get the best quality that I can from Wal-Mart or Target, or wherever, and then don't feel too badly when the school year is over and the jeans are shot. Just about the only pants I can ever find for my boys at a garage sale or thrift store are dress pants, because they don't get worn as much by most little boys, and are generally worn to places where they can't crawl around much on their knees!
Just enjoy your little guy, and be sure to take lots of pictures of moments like these!
Sears will replace your pants if you buy them there and wear them out before your child is done wearing them. I know that next year when my son starts playing on the playground, I am going to want to start getting his pants there.
That is my husband's grandma's secret formula for getting out stains. When my son was a baby, that is how I got out the soy formula stains which was horribly staining!
I don't know what is worse. A worn out pair of nearly new pants or an outgrown pair of nearly new pants.
Saving for good doesn't work for me. I have huge age/size gaps so I don't save boys hand me downs.
I put off buying jeans for my 12 yo so long that I finally had to go to Old Navy and he had jumped from a 12 to a 16!!!
So, as a mom to 4 boys, I have no solution except to lower your standards but only when it comes to the knees on your boys pants.lol
A warning about the tightwad overnight soak, it will cause some colors to run badly!
I once soaked a big bunch of hand-me-down baby clothes. Anything with red on it bled onto everything else. Basically it ruined everything. I tie-dyed what I could and the rest got trashed.
Like Joan, I am having a hard time finding boy's clothing at thrift stores. There are racks of cute girl stuff in great shape, but no such luck for the toddler and up boys sizes. The only exception is button down dressier styles.
someone said Fels-Naptha bar...YES, that's what I used for knee stains. WORKS and cheap, too. Need to resurrect it for my daughter now.
I would like to second the Sears comment. We have done this several times. If the jeans are name brand (Levi's) you must have the receipt. But if they are a Sears brand you can just bring them in for an exchange. It has to be the same size/style.And within one year. Also good for socks that get holes before they are outgrown. If you can take advantage of a good sale in the first place and then replace them once, it is a really good deal.
Dish soap for stains. My mom can get out any stain you throw at her with dish soap and an old toothbrush, and so can I lol.
I only buy thrift-store jeans for my son, and I keep my husband's old jeans to replace the knees (a la Amy Dacycyzn). Takes me about 15 minutes per pair, and keeps them going forever.
They look decent when they're patched, particularly if you have a good stash of jeans to pick a color to patch them with.
Dawn dish soap on stains. Keeping some pants back just for "good." Buying good pants to start with! Skip cheap Khakis they wear out too soon. Heavy denim jeans for play. Sweat pants only for in house.Tough, heavy jeans for outside. Good luck finding anything used that's worth it! If it's cold where you live a set of Carhart Overalls or Coveralls are well worth the money. The overalls are best--they can be adjusted and worn longer. They are close to indestructable. Also, I found Old Navy school uniforms to be worth it when we had to do that. The polos and khakis hold up much better than the cheap ones.
Not super frugal, but Oxiclean. I buy it at BJ's in bulk - so I do get a better price than if I bought it at the grocery store. :)
We live in South Florida so my boys don't wear pants that often - maybe once shorts season starts for you, you'll just have dirty knees and not dirty pants to deal with. :-)
I like a nice loooooong Biz soak for just about any stain. It has taken baby vomit from the 50s out of some sweet little dresses so my baby girls could wear their granny's baby clothes :)
My chief strategy is to have "home clothes" and "decent clothes." We also have church clothes but those don't fall in the everyday category. Each of my boys has at least 2 pairs of decent jeans for wearing out and about. At home they wear older, too short, holey, whatever pants. They each have at least 2 pairs of these- sometimes as many as 6 or 8, depending on how fast they've been growing.
My strategy for buying used pants for my boys is to buy slim jeans in the sizes they are currently wearing or will be wearing in the next 5 years. Ok, maybe next 2 years. Mine are both skinny-butts so we only bother with the slims.
My mom always used toothpaste on grass stains, and a laundry brush. It always worked.
I am constantly patching holes in the knees. With a little creativity they can still look alright for everywhere but church.
I usually take the pants with gaping knee holes, cut them off at the knee and turn them into shorts. It doesn't take very long with a sewing machine. And they last another year that way.
Short pants and long socks will take a boy a long way in our climate. :)
The Sears KidVantage Wear Out Warranty is probably the best program out there. If ANY item you buy tears or wears out before your child outgrows them, Sears will replace them for free! I posted a review of the program last week, and everything adds up to a great deal.
Here's the review: http://tinyurl.com/d3uogo
Review can be found at www.babygoodbuys.com
My son made it to eight years old before joining the "hole in the knee" club. We had a few before, but this year it seemd like almost every pair he wore got a hole. I put at least 2 pair in the closet for nice wearing and all of the nice khakis too. And I buy every pair that the thrift store has in his size - they can always be cut into shorts for the summer.
I can never find second hand boys pants in 12 that don't look like they have any life left - but once in a while Target donates brand new pants to GW and we snap those up!
Sears Kidurable/KidAdvantage guarantee is excellent - they replace the holey kneed pants in the same size if it happens in the same season - just keep your receipt and don't let your daughter cut the tags out of her clothes even if they are itchy!
Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Zout! Wow - it works, and you don't need much.
Any time we blow the knees in pants that are not returnable - we make shorts!!! I just hem them up - a bit tricky with bell bottoms, but easy with boys pants - unless they have too many of those cargo pockets! Our kids both get a bit thinner in summer - all that running around and shooting up taller ever night while they sleep - so if the pants are wee bit snug in March they will likely fit fine as shorts by the end of April!
I like Tracy's suggestion! As my boys' clothes are nearly all second-hand (including those with holes and stains), except for Christmas and b-day gifts from grandparents, I try to make sure their hair is neatly trimmed and I splurge on good-quality shoes in the $20-$30 range at places like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx.
Can you use that soak on colored pants? Or does it bleach? We have lots of knee stain and holes. Look into buying the Sears brand Jean for Boys. My sister in law buys their jeans because you can keep the reciept and if they get a hole in them or fall apart in anyway, you can take them back and get a new pair. We are going to try this real soon. I guess the Jeans are a little more expensive BUT if they last through boys (and I have 4 of them!), I am definitely going to try!
Oh I so relate. The best thing I have found to do is make those holey pants into summer shorts!
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