The Mother of All Branding Day Stain Removers

The mere sight of my son’s Wranglers would’ve killed a normal mom. To most mothers, the mixture of boy, mud, and calf wrestling would’ve rendered his jeans laundry mission impossible.

Mud wants company and has a hard time being left alone. It likes a clean car, but loves a pair of boys’ good clean Wranglers better.

Our boy really wanted to get in on more calf wrestling, so my husband and I agreed to let him go by himself to a couple of brandings close to home. Hefty rain showers prior to the weekend created soggy conditions which made getting to the locations difficult, let alone doing any branding in.

By Sunday, my son’s Wranglers looked more like brown Carhart jeans. They were completely covered in a shell of caked on mud, thanks to a roper who roped and dragged boys through the mud like water skiers for fun after the branding was all done. I’m assuming there weren’t any mothers around.

When I saw what our fourteen year old had done to his pants, my first thought was, “I am not looking forward to laundry day.” Getting the mud out of his jeans looked harder than the labor and delivery I went through to have him.

I let his jeans dry completely on the clothes line and decided to blast the chunks off with an air hose, but when I tried it, the dried-on mud was like concrete. It didn’t move, so I had to painstakingly scrape and chisel the layers off. As I scraped, I came to terms with the fact that the jeans probably wouldn’t look the same again, which was aggravating since they were one of three new pairs I’d recently bought to replace the ones he’d outgrown.

I couldn’t bring myself to give up on the jeans entirely though. Out on the porch, I filled a galvanized tub with water to soak the jeans in a combination of different powders and liquids that have proven themselves as good stain removers on tough laundry missions in the past. In the proper combination, my laundry cleaning super powers could’ve possibly created an explosion, but luckily nothing blew up when I mixed them in the water.

Once I had the mud scraped off, I didn’t bother to do any scrubbing. Scraping was enough work for one day. I worked the jeans into the mixture to stir everything up good and let them sit for two days. Before I transferred them to the washing machine, I agitated and soaked the jeans again, then I ran the whole cycle. Fortunately, nothing exploded there either.

Once the cycle was done, I went to see if the jeans had disintegrated from my laundry concoction.  If by chance there was anything left, I was curious to see how much of the mud stains remained. When I pulled an intact pair of jeans out of the washing machine, I was reminded just how beautiful the color denim blue is.

If you must know what my secret laundry super powers were, they included a can of coke, a cup of vinegar, a capful of Murphy’s Oil Soap (removes blood stains really well), a handful each of Borax and baking soda, and laundry detergent. Bomb suit optional.

originally published May 30-June 5, 2010

One response to “The Mother of All Branding Day Stain Removers”

  1. JoAnn Stearns Avatar
    JoAnn Stearns

    I had to laugh one day when the girlfriends were all complaining about the stuff they would find in their kids pockets that had gone through the wash – crayons and candy seemed to be the worst. Thinking of my ranch raised kids, I just smiled and said that those things didn’t bother me near as much as all the live ammunition that I find in my boys pockets. Someday they’ll probably find me dead on the laundry room floor – shot by the dryer as I folded clothes.

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